Well, this wastes no time in making an immediate impact on the listener with its blasting melodies and sharp vocals. It’s dynamic and bright, with lots of colourful leads and atmospheric flourishes.
This is quite a varied mix within its sub-genre as it contains elements of Atmospheric, Melodic and Progressive Black Metal all rolled into a very well produced album.
Maahlas manage to show very early on that they can play in a very aggressive manner as well is also being able to demonstrate subtlety and nuance. This largely manifests itself through the inclusion of lighter and more sensitive moments that are littered around the album’s blistering Black Metal. This is further enhanced by more Progressive and Atmospheric Black Metal elements.
Nightmare Years boasts a heady combination of the above and results in an album that sounds very accomplished. The musicianship is tight and the riffs are inventive and interesting. There are lots of great additional enhancements and ideas dotted throughout these 11 tracks and it’s an easy album to digest and enjoy without it becoming too staid or formulaic. It’s not an easy line to walk but the band do it naturally and with ease.
Each song is well-written and delicately masters the trade-off between aggressive tendencies and more restrained, considered influences. Clearly the band have a natural talent for this and their passion and personality shines through.
The vocals are very well delivered, with the singer alternating Blackened shrieks with deeper growls and everything in between. It’s a strong performance and crowns the music like a dark jewel. Unexpected clean vocals also appear on the fourth track and add yet another string to their bow.
Nightmare Years is a stunning victory of a début album. I look forward to getting to know this album even better over the coming months and years; it’s already made a big impression on me and I think this one is very firmly a keeper.