December 4, 2003

Test Spin: Nightfist

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If a heavy metal band existed that my mother would listen to, it would be Nightfist. Aside from the ominous voice-overs that start and end their album, The Epic EP sounds like somebody placed John Tesh and Metallica in an audio blender and mixed it all up — a decidedly un-kosher practice. The music on this CD might very well be the most soothing hard metal ever known to mankind. One could study or fall asleep to this stuff.

Admittedly, the composition of the songs on this album is not bad, certainly not for a band that’s biggest gig to date has been at a Portland, Oregon YMCA. That being said, it’s nothing new either; it’s an unremarkably derivative album. But part of you wants to like them.

Their press kit proudly proclaims that the band is comprised of teenagers barely out of high school, their music influenced by the likes of Metallica, Yes, and the Grateful Dead, and it shows, badly. With ten-minute teenage opuses of the likes of “Acidrainfuckhell” that harp back on the same tired riffs repeatedly and no teen-angst lyrics to be distracted by, the album leaves a lot to be desired, even if some girlfriend of a band member labeled them as “the greatest instrumental heavy metal band in America” (they conveniently fail to cite such lauds). We’re talking Yanni-esque rote scale playing here. To top it off, the songs are padded with a prologue and epilogue, complete with voiceovers.

I simply can’t imagine anybody listening to more than five seconds of this EP without laughing uncontrollably. It’s just asking to be scoffed at and forgotten about, but I sat there, mesmerized throughout the EP, shaking my head and chuckling to myself. There is something endearing in all of its sophomoric trying. This might be just what we need at this point in the semester — something that takes itself far too seriously so that we can remember not to fall into the same trap ourselves. As they so proudly decree, Nightfist is “not ironic” and they are “for real.”

Archived article by Matthew Nagowski