Night of Eternal Darkness

10/1/20 | N.B.

Mäleficentt "<i>Night of Eternal Darkness"</i> cover photo

It is a rare occurrence to hear a unique black metal gem like Mäleficentt evolve and mature over so short a period of time, masterfully and distinctly marrying its influences while staying true to the sound that initially made it great. And yet, this is what the flagship project of California label Night of the Palemoon has done in abundance on its sophomore full-length Night of Eternal Darkness.

The solo black metal act has subtly enhanced its melodicism and riffing style for this release, incorporating more succinct and more thematic musical ideas than on previous efforts - and to good effect. Tempo variations abound on Night of Eternal Darkness, somewhat in contrast to older material like the Maleficent (NP-I) demo which tended to feature more hypnotic and prolonged passages. Musical ideas are more direct and precise here, and it’s almost as if one can hear Mäleficentt evolving and maturing in real time. The recording’s mix is relatively dry (but not too dry) compared to previous releases, a fairly classic indicator that an artist has developed full confidence in their sound.

Mäleficentt logo

One element of Mäleficentt that remains unchanged is the uniquely evocative and diverse vocal style that permeates its releases, as well as a number of others on the NOTPM roster - a mix of overdriven, high pitched black metal shrieks occasionally giving way to atmospheric post punk-reminiscent vocals. Likewise, the drumming remains solid but intersperses more heavily varied beat styles and complex fills to spice things up.

Promo photo for "<i>Night of Eternal Darkness"</i>

The instrumental intro “March of the Circle of Shadows” serves as a prelude the ferocity of the rest of the album, and is perhaps a slight nod to the instrumental opener on another NOTPM classic, “Yohualli” by Yohualli. “Before The Sun Dies” and “The Light’s Last Gasp” are a blazing whirlwind of frantic, melancholic riffs and blast beats interspersed with masterfully placed drum change-ups that push the energy level over the top.

The down-tempo “Veiled in Gloom” offers a brief but driving reprieve, followed up by possibly Mäleficentt’s most stripped-down anthem to date, “The Cavern of False Hope,” which is also fairly mid paced. “Severed By Your Own” picks up furious speed again but maintains the raw, glorious simplicity of the previous cut while pummeling the listener straight-to-the-point style, before this track’s bridge provides what is surely the riff of the album. That is, until the epic closer “Bones of Compatriots” kicks off, ascending into a final flurry of soaring melodies that herald the album’s close.

Promo photo for "<i>Night of Eternal Darkness"</i>

Veteran fans of Night of the Palemoon will welcome Mäleficentt's new offering as a fully fledged and elevated vision of their well-established sound, while new listeners or fans of black metal generally will be unable to deny its overall quality and uniqueness. This release cements NOTPM’s place as the true torch bearer for the grand Californian black metal tradition begun by the likes of Rhinocervs and Black Twilight Circle. Likewise, followers of the ever-growing ranks of fantastic indigenous black metal artists of the Americas will now surely recognize the label’s place as the preeminent such force for the western United States.

Listen to "The Light's Last Gasp" below.

Follow Night of the Palemoon on Bandcamp and Instagram to keep abreast of details for this release, and for other label updates. Hail the Night!