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Nocturna - Daughters Of The Night review


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Band: Nocturna
Album: Daughters Of The Night
Style: Gothic metal, Symphonic metal
Release date: January 2022

01. Spectral Ruins
02. New Evil
03. Daughters Of The Night
04. The Sorrow Path
05. Sea Of Fire
06. Blood Of Heaven
07. In This Tragedy
08. Darkest Days
09. Nocturnal Whispers
10. The Trickster

Here’s an album for everyone that misses Tarja-era Nightwish.

When I reviewed Ad Infinitum’s album Chapter II: Legacy last year, I mentioned how promising I found that band as a potentially great new voice in symphonic metal based on their debut, and how I was a bit underwhelmed by that album as a result. As much as it likely doesn’t come across in my reviews, I do have some degree of taste for symphonic metal (although admittedly most of that comes down to Nightwish), and I would like to find another band in that style that excites me. Well, swiftly after that review comes the debut of another band that could be what I’m looking for.

Italy’s Nocturna are a 5-piece with two vocalists, Grace Darkling and Rehn Stillnight. Not to rely too much on Nightwish comparisons in this review, but Stillnight is very much in the Tarja operatic singer mould, while Darkling has a more mid-ranged voice, closer to someone like Giada Etro from compatriots Frozen Crown. It’s an effective combo; the duo have been placed very much at the forefront of the promotion of this album (including the record’s cover art), but they back that up with strong voices and performances across the record.

Nocturna are a symphonic metal band, albeit one where the ‘symphony’ mostly takes the form of rudimentary keyboard arrangements. As far as the specifics of the style each song has, sometimes it’s very much in the realm of power metal, such as “New Evil”, the title track and “Blood Of Heaven”, while in other cases it’s a more mid-tempo rocker (“The Sorrow Path”, “Sea Of Fire”), with an extravagant, grandiose venture nestled in as well in the form of “In This Tragedy”. These styles, the keyboard ‘symphony’, operatic vocals… this all sounds a lot like early Nightwish, and as I’ve already alluded to, Daughters Of The Night does too. Some songs make it very obvious; “Darkest Days” immediately draws parallels to “Ever Dream” with the verse (a very similar pullback from the band, very similar drum beat, very similar opening line that mentions ‘dream’), and carries that on right to the key modulation at the end of the song. The closer “The Trickster” also bears a notable resemblance to another Century Child song, “End Of All Hope”. It’s less blatant on other songs, but it’s hard to listen to tracks such as “Blood Of Heaven” and “In This Tragedy” and not get Wishmaster vibes.

The thing is, though, that Nightwish haven’t sounded like early Nightwish in a while, and there’s not really been a glut of copycat bands that really effectively imitate that sound in order to dilute its appeal, so if Nocturna can write some bangers, then there’s no reason for unoriginality to get in the way of enjoying Daughters Of The Night, and they have: 3 of them, to be exact. “Blood Of Heaven” is a power metal juggernaut with double bass onslaughts, nice guitar hooks and a huge chorus, while “The Trickster” delightfully channels Oceanborn/Century Child bombast with stirring operatic singing and dramatic keyboards. “In This Tragedy” is the longest song on the album, and is a heartfelt softer track on which vocals, guitars, keyboards and drums come together really synergistically.

Eagle-eyed readers might notice that all 3 of these songs are in the second half of the album, and that is probably my biggest criticism of the record; it is very back-heavy quality-wise. That’s not to denigrate the other tracks on the album, all of which I enjoy to some degree. The one-two of “New Evil” and “Daughters Of The Night” is a very decent way to get the album off and running. However, both these songs, and the others I’ve not highlighted in the previous paragraph, don’t quite have that X-factor to stand out as more than just good replicas of an established style (although “New Evil” does have a very catchy chorus). When the shadow of one band in particular lingers so strongly over your debut album, it does slightly detract when the majority of the album doesn’t quite reach greatness.

Having said that, Daughters Of The Night is still an album that I’ve enjoyed far more than I initially expected to. Furthermore, the quality of those three songs I’ve mentioned give me enthusiasm to see how this band develops, particularly as they start to find more of a distinctive voice.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 4
Production: 8

Written on 10.03.2022 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 4   Visited by: 104 users
11.03.2022 - 15:13
This is another project from Federico Mondelli of Frozen Crown. Even though he is anonymous here you can clearly see it's him in the "Daughters Of The Night" video. The other guitarist is Fabiola Bellomo, also from Frozen Crown. Very easy to distinguish by the red hair and body language. So if one likes Frozen Crown and Mondelli's style of playing one will most likely enjoy Nocturna too.
11.03.2022 - 17:57
I sure miss ... not specifically Tarja, but I miss when Nightwish were actually doing something good and different. I think all of their singers were great, but it makes me sad to see the music getting less inspired for each album since Dark Passion Play (which I still love).

This is pretty good, I guess, definitely got potential, anyway.
12.03.2022 - 02:47
I'm a hopeless nostalgic when it comes to Nightwish, so I gave this album a listen... and immediately bought it.
It will indeed not win prices for originality but, hey, I truly enjoyed it.

Now if only Tuomas would find his mojo back...
Cthulhu for President! Why settle for the lesser evil?
13.03.2022 - 08:28
Rating: 7
Hehe, nice to read, how ppl recognize musicians from body-language well done. I listened to the album a few times after sumbling on a video, and have to say its quite enjoyable, no more , no less. and probably will get lost in the dark night of thousands of other albums ....

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