Billing themselves as “Symphonic Industrial Shock Metal”, Finnish group Nighon’s second album, The Somme, named after the infamous battle, is something of a unique entity. While Sabaton were putting their war themed lyrics to an uplifting power metal score, Nighon took the same concept and brought it down into much darker reality.
There are still hints of a power metal background throughout The Somme. Catchy female fronted choruses like that of Lest We Forget draw comparisons to groups such as Epica and Battle Beast, and it’s these moments that contrast well with the guttural harsh vocals of Nico Häggblom.
Song structure remains consistent throughout most of the album, Alva Sandström’s clean vocals are usually saved for the chorus, while the growls build over sometimes repetitive, heavy riffs. The harsh vocals tend to dominate, and there’s even hints of a djent style tone coming from the downtuned guitars. The Somme does feature some significantly heavier tracks, such as Blow Them To Hell, but they tend to suffer for that reason. It’s the catchy cleans with just the right level of power metal cheese that contrasts the heavy side to create something more memorable than the forgettable death metal tracks.
The synth element of the album is something that does seem lost however, a problem that may be more with the mix than the band themselves. Guitar parts tend to overpower the symphonic tracks, which sound like they should be taking a lead over the guitars rhythm sections.
Produced by Mathias ‘Vreth’ Lillmans of Fintroll, there’s some obvious ‘troll influences, particularly to the darker Ur Jordans Djup album which seems to be almost a prototype for the sound of I Fear For Tomorrow, which Vreth himself features on, and stands out doing so with his hellaciously powerful growls.
Despite some flaws and forgettable tracks, The Somme is still an enjoyable listen, and shows a lot of potential for the future of the band. Lest We Forget, and the lead single, The Greatest of Tragedies are the standouts, and it’s no coincidence that these are two of the tracks that steer into the Epica influenced power metal style. If Häggblom’s voice represents the gritty, bloody side of war, then Sandström’s is the heroism and hope that comes with it, and that’s what people are going to remember at the end of the day.
A solid military themed offering with moments of brilliance