Initially breeding uncertainty about its presence, Black Magic Night the debut album from Spanish metallers Nigromante emerges as a rather captivating confrontation. It has flaws and at times struggles to make the fullest persuasion but equally it earns an appetite from the emotions which means it will be no stranger to regular attention. Unapologetically standing in the midst of N.W.O.B.H.M. and eighties US metal, band and album create a proposition which holds no surprises for fans of that era but plenty for them to get their teeth and neck muscles into.
Hailing from Madrid, Nigromante began in 2003 and over the years has become a sizeable proposition in Spanish metal if not yet breaking into a wider arena. Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Angel Muñoz and drummer Jorge Serrano and taking influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Witchfinder General, Anvil, Motorhead, Venom, and Barón Rojo into their invention, Nigromante has bred a strong live reputation since forming and shared stages with bands such as Grim Reaper, Paradox, Midnight Priest, and Virus. Now after a trio of demos between 2004 and 2006, the band finally unleash a full-length encounter courtesy of Shadow Kingdom Records and though it is not exactly going to blow you away or set a new marker for old school heavy metal, it taunts and lingers long enough after the event to stand out and tempt a regular rampage with its accomplished rabidity.
It is fair to say that Black Magic Night does not start off with a bang, the first couple of tracks getting the job done and setting the scene without raising any sparks in the imagination or emotions, though as it progresses the album addresses that with contagious enterprise. Nevertheless both the opener Heavy Metal Age and the following title track trigger and grab enough interest to allow the release to expand its presence. The first of the pair slaps the ears with heavy duty rhythms and charged riffs from the start, and though arguably forges a formula engagement satisfies as sinews ripple and sonic craft whips around the ears. The vocals of Muñoz also take a little time to adapt too, his grizzled tones strong but wandering with notes at times but again like the album they seem to blossom as the record progresses. The second track stomps in with nostrils flaring and riffs lashing the air whilst the rhythms of Serrano firmly steer the song. Like its predecessor it satisfies without leaving a lasting impression but it is impossible to deny its presence as again it does the job needed to ensure the listener stays on course with the album.
Things move up a level with In Nomine Pater, the initial melodic coaxing instantly soaked in strong potency whilst the familiar but infectious groove teasing behind the coarse vocals soon has the imagination and feet playing with its lure. That familiarity covers the whole song eventually but to a positive effect with comparisons to Anvil a definite overriding but not displeasing thought. The track twists and tempts with the guitar and bass almost wanton in their appetite to thrill and seduce the imagination. Muñoz is a skilful musician and though he like Serrano never gets or takes the song into intricate areas it is easy to see the craft and potential at work.
Saturnalia of Blood with its predatory riffs and preying basslines provides an appetising moment similar in appeal to the opening pair before making way for the moments the album excels, starting with False Idol. The track is a masterful prowl of ears and imagination; guitar and bass stalking from the start whilst the drums punctuate their goading with forceful probing. It is a mighty start which explodes into greater heights as ridiculously addictive grooves and rapacious energy swarms all over the senses. Again there is something recognisable to the song, if indefinable, but with not for the first time a great breath of thrash urging on the intent and a magnetic cast of melodies and hooks lining up to incite the passions, the song is a scintillating provocation. It is immediately matched by the following pair of Syndicate of Crime and Soy Un Macarra, the first equipped with a Cape Crusader like toxicity and antagonistic predation plus a more than punkish snarl whilst its successor takes those same elements in a different guise and to greater infectious intensity to create a punk/metal track which would not feel completely out of place in a playlist from Fuckshovel or the Ruts. The songs steer the album to much greater heights whilst showing that the band has the capability to fuse plenty of elements into their classic metal assault.
Satan Death Squad is another to walk the release’s highest plateau, the song a more standard old school metal slab of muscle but one with riffs and sonic intrigue which continues the hold on the imagination and emotions forged by the previous encounters. Definitely the quartet of songs takes the album from being an ok release into a beast which demands continued attention. Closing on Summoning Spell an underwhelming short instrumental, Black Magic Night from a shaky start turns into an album you just want a little bit more of again and again. It is not a classic or likely to threaten your favourite aural tipples but its pleases and entertains at times as if it reads your every want from a metal release and that is always well-worth checking out.
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