Night in Gales – The Last Sunsets (Apostasy)

Friday, 2nd March 2018
Rating: 9/10

The off-and-on close German cousins of Gothenburg, Night in Gales often held firm alongside their much more visible melodic death metal contemporaries. If it weren’t for a directional shift to thrash at the turn of the century, Night in Gales may have reached the same heights as Dark Tranquillity, In Flames and Soilwork. But alas, things got a little sideways for the Germans come Necrodynamic, which led to a hiatus right when melodic death metal was starting to boil. Their utterly brilliant 2011 Five Scars comeback wasn’t followed up properly since vocalist-du-jour Björn Gooßes jumped ship in 2012, but eight years after the fact, Night in Gales have returned with their best work to date, The Last Sunsets.

Original vocalist Christian Müller has replaced Gooßes, offering his own take on acidic, highly vitriolic vocals. And while guest slots from Christian Mertens (Dark Millennium), Marc Grewe (ex-Morgoth) and Martin Matzak (Torchure) add heaps of diabolical vocal presence, it is Müller who emerges as the album’s unsung hero, capably re-asserting himself after being out of Night in Gales for 20 years (!). Sure enough, the upwardly mobile thrash-on-death action of the opening title track, fever melodies of “Dark Millennium” and harmony-happy “The Mortal Soul” are quintessential melodic death metal cuts, like, literally right to the core, drawing the bridge from the mid-’90s to the present.

The brotherly guitar duo of Frank and Jens Basten are veritable melody stackers across the album’s 12 cuts, two of which include short instrumentals. Their fluid, often highly engaging and memorable riffing brings down the house on “Architects of Tyranny,” album standout “The Spears Within” and “Circle of Degeneration,” a cut At the Gates would be wise to nick.

It all comes together in a compact, no-foolin’, near-40-minute effort, which is about as razor-sharp as any melodic death metal album of late. Night in Gales, today, more than anyone via The Last Sunsets, embody melodic death metal. A glorious return to form.

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