While the press release for their latest album, Darkness Is My Home, may tout Greek doom/occult rockers Night Resident as a Hellenic answer to Sweden’s Ghost, I don’t find the comparison particularly fair – or even fitting. Besides a predilection for occult rock, there isn’t that much to support the argument. In fact, the similarity only really becomes noticeable when examining Ghost’s cover versions, such as “If You Have Ghost” or “Crucified,” where the ’70s flavour the music is steeped in is that much more prominent than in the pop-rock, mass appeal that colours Tobias Forge’s own compositions. Viewed in that light, a comparison between Night Resident and In Solitude or Lucifer is far more apt, where the hard-rock-of-yesteryear aspect outweighs the insidious occult appeal.
This in no way implies that Night Resident does not deserve to be compared with one of the most popular acts in the metal/rock scene today: Darkness Is My Home is only their second album, but it’s a beauty. Yes, the ’70s stylings are well represented, but they’re tempered with contemporary polish – stunning, crisp tone, clean vocals with only a tad of tasteful studio trickery overlaid and a driving rhythm section that is equal parts groove and atmosphere. Ghost may be well on their way to becoming the next theatre-driven fan phenomenon like Kiss, but Night Resident can be more accurately likened to other stadium-fillers like Iron Maiden who depend less on visual spectacle (admittedly, it isn’t entirely discarded as a consideration) than on solid musicianship.
The first single, “Stardust,” typifies the album’s tone of uptempo, ’70s-infused doom very effectively.
The rock ‘n roll musicianship isn’t all that’s driving Night resident, though: there’s a fair slab of doom and gloom – as if the album title wasn’t a dead giveaway, alongside track titles like “Hope is Hard to Keep” – fueling the process, too. And it shows in the music: one of the greatest drawbacks in radio-friendly hits is their vanilla insipidity, but Night Resident manages to compose songs that convey a deep well of emotion and personal experience rather than just a love of high fashion and higher living driving by social media responses. And they’re still good songs to listen to on a superficial level, as well as to relate to more profoundly when desired. Even given the overriding sense of occultism, Darkness is my Home starts feeling more like a love letter with each listen: both in the lyrical content, but even more so in the music itself. Past greats that have gone on to influence heavy and doom metal as well as dark and progressive rock, from Candlemass to Blue Öyster Cult, make their presences felt in this homage to guitar rock.
Probably the strongest plus point in Night Resident’s favour, though, is their grasp of the concept of the hook. Whether it’s a standout riff (album opener “A Time of Wonder” as case in point), an evocative lyric (‘you promised stars, but took the sun away’ on “Black Witch” really hits home) or just the ensemble effect of a cleverly crafted arrangement (“Little Emperors of Nothing” or the titular track for instance), Darkness Is My Home is chock-full of catchy, memorable moments that make the album a pleasure from start to finish. Sure, the choice of singles (“Stardust” and “Into Her Eyes” to start with) are great selling points, but they’re just facets of a far greater gem. Night Resident understand the musical need, even in the streaming age, to craft an album rather than just a song to make their mark.
“Into Her Eyes” is, if not a love song, at least an infatuation hymn.
Darkness Is My Home Track Listing:
1. A Time of Wonder
2. Into Her Eyes
3. Darkness is my Home
5. Black Witch
6. I’ll Be Free
7. Little Emperors of Nothing
8. In the Mountains of Sorrow
9. Hope is Hard to Keep
Run Time: 44:03
Release Date: May 21, 2021
Record Label: Independent Release