The thinker at the gates of Hell. — Portland, Oregon-based doom metal duo Nightfell had more in the tank after their long-awaited third full-length ‘A Sanity Deranged‘ reprised a notably heavy death/doom metal sound and creeping melodic bent in 2019, pure relief for the fan beyond a half-decade or so respite. It’d been one of the more notable blackened death/doom metal records of said year and one I’d reviewed favorably alongside a bit of fumbled-through band history and such. Naturally the slim distance between then and now means their fourth full-length, ‘Never Comes the Storm‘, will inevitably be read and writ in likeness and/or response to its direct predecessor and this is arguably fair in both cases, in tandem even, but none should mistake this record for a quasi-sequel. The rhythmic legacy of mid-to-late nineties Bolt Thrower is yet in their muscle memory alongside funeral death/doom’s mournful resonances, the dark shade of tragedian melodicism inherent to the duo’s work sustains with undeniably brilliancy, and all of the toppling atmospheric dread they are known for hammers down just as hard. The argument for iteration upon core concept in refinement weighs as heavy as the riffs do in this case yet I’d deign to make the argument that the soul is changed, decaying with the passage of time as we find a next stage of dissolution emergent within these somber meditations.