Nightbitch – Chainmaker [9 out of 10]

By Andrew Bansal

Based out of New Haven CT, Nightbitch has been around since 2009, playing what I would describe as sleazy, psychedelic occult-themed metal. Even though the band has shared the stage with the likes of Pentagram, Black Pyramid and Midnight and released an EP titled “Sex And Magic” in 2010, I honestly wasn’t familiar with the band at all, and was introduced to their music only a few months back. The band’s name caught my attention straightaway, and the music on “Sex And Magic” had an air of familiarity but at the same time it was different from the norm, and stood out on its own amongst the plethora of occult-themed bands going around at present. 

In my opinion, Nightbitch have garnered an identity of their own perhaps because of the sleaze element, something which not a lot of bands go for these days, not successfully anyway. Nightbitch’s musical style, artwork, lyrics, and song titles very cohesively bring forth this element. Besides, when I read about the fact that they released “Sex And Magic” on a very limited edition 180-gram black vinyl, and on cassette, both sets selling out within a month of being released, I thought to myself, now there’s a band doing things the old-school way, and being successful at it. Being a sucker for the analog formats myself, I was quite excited to read about it, and took an interest in following the band’s progress. Following the cult success of “Sex And Magic”, they came out with another EP earlier this year, titled “Chainmaker”.

The EP begins with the title track, which plods along at a relaxed tempo and builds up gradually. It’s a very ‘thick’ sounding tune, with a very prominent role played by Mark Eles’ bass, instantly reminiscent of the kind of sound Cliff Burton came up with in the first Metallica album, specially on the Anesthesia solo. After parting ways with vocalist Phil Swanson, Nightbitch have become a 3-piece band with drummer Chris Taylor taking up the vocals, and I feel he’s doing just as good vocally as Phil did on “Sex And Magic”. And of course, mainman Ryan Adams lays down some solid riffs to lock in perfectly with Eles, complete with a tasty little solo right at the end of the track.

Whilst “Chainmaker” is a great song on its own, “Disrober” goes one step further and takes it to the next level. This one’s more about the sheer riffage of Ryan Adams’ guitar, and also showcases Chris Taylor a lot more, with his husky vocals as well as drums. It definitely has a rougher, gloomier edge to it. A powerful track in every sense, “Disrober” is an excellent composition. The third and final track “Into The Fire” keeps this EP interesting all the way till its final note is played, and offers something different from the other two tracks. Taylor does a brilliant job here as his vocals dominate this tune but are once again well complemented by the guitar and rhythm section.

Overall, I would say I’m thoroughly enjoying this EP, but the only bad thing about it is, and I’m sure pretty much every other reviewer will agree with me on this, is the short duration. Just about by the time these three tracks build up the mood and the atmosphere inside the listener’s head, the EP comes to an end. I know it’s an EP, and EPs are supposed to be short, but still, 11 minutes is a little too short.

Another thing that would definitely enhance the listening experience is be able to hold the full-sized album cover in hand, and reading the lyrics while listening to it on 180-gram vinyl. I think that’s the best way to listen to this album. As far as I know, it’s only been released digitally for the time being, but even in mp3 format, it’s still an awesome little set of tunes. Besides a vinyl release, I think a music video on one of these tracks won’t be a bad idea at all, and could be quite interesting.

All in all, Nightbitch’s “Chainmaker” is a fantastic offering for all fans of heavy music. Highly recommended!

Rating: 9/10

Related: Audio interview with Ryan Adams

Release Date: 2012
Record Label: Self-Released

Track Listing:
1. Chainmaker
2. Disrober
3. Into The Fire

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