Welcome back to another offering of the most unholy sacraments. As is usually the case on this column, tonight dark beer and dark music go hand in hand. Perfect for the time of year where the sun is already well set by the time I venture home from work. The Metal: Nightfell’s Darkness Evermore. The Booze: Speakeasy Brewing Company’s Payback Porter.
The Metal: Nightfell’s Darkness Evermore
Nightfell are a band that could feel free to coast along on the strength of their lineup; the duo consists of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Todd Burdette of legendary crust punk acts Tragedy and His Hero is Gone and drummer Tim Call who is a part of countless underground black, death, and doom metal bands. Yet even for these pedigrees, Nightfell is something more than the sum of its parts. Darkness Evermore, the group’s sophomore release, is an offering of labyrinthine death metal that is surprisingly texturally rich. Rather than going for the grimy, cavernous black/death sound, the blackened death of Nightfell is fleshed out with a strong sense of melody and thoughtful ambient sections. Tracks like “Rebirth” and album closer “Collapse” give not only the neck snapping riffs one hopes for in any good death metal, but genuinely catchy melodic hooks that are often missing in darker music. This is supported by the clean passages, often accentuated with additional cello work. Nightfell have carved out a sound in modern death metal that is their own.
San Fransisco based Speakeasy Brewing’s website is goodbeer.com and that should give you a hint as to what they offer: good beer. Admittedly, their Payback Porter is the only brew of theirs I’ve tried, but given the quality here I am sure that the rest of their offerings are up to standard. Payback is a surprisingly hop-forward porter, with the malty roastiness that is characteristic of the style coming in the finish rather than being upfront. This is not an unwelcome change, rather it keeps Payback from being just one among the crowd. There is so much going on with this beer that you don’t even notice the 7.5% alcohol until it’s too late. Seeing as how this is also on the more affordable end of the craft beer section, at least where I pick it up from, it’s easy to see why this is a beer I gravitate towards.
So another week comes to a close, but I hope this pairing starts your weekend off right. It’s hard to go wrong with a pairing of beer and music that both put their own spin on how darkness should be done, and do it well. Until next time.
Cheers, and be good to each other,