October 30, 2007 | | 3

Nights Like These, Sunlight at Secondhand

Have you ever come across one of those bands that seems to not only defy classification, but also take pride in the fact that they span several genres without truly embracing a single one? Memphis’ Nights Like These is just such a band and with their sophomore effort Sunlight at Secondhand the band only proves to stymie further genre pigeon holing.

Mixing melodic breaks, brutalizing blasts, hardcore influences and chaotic expressions and you have yourself one hell of a listening experience. Nights Like These jump from tempo to tempo with a straightforwardness that can only be described as astounding. Drummer Patrick Leatherwood and bassist Sebastian Rios lay the framework for the band while guitarists Derren Saucier and Matt Qualls tear at your speakers with a sonic assault that can only be matched by repeated blunt force trauma from a rusty lead pipe. Mix in the experimental and full range of vocalist Billy Bottom and you have a sound that is undeniably unique.

Heart of the Wound
The opening track starts out hitting like a ton of bricks. Heavy riffing and chaotic drums greet the listener like a machete weilding madman at the front door. Bottom’s vocals are harsh and guttural. There are a few instances on this disc that highlight influences outside of metal and hardcore, most notably the guitar work — it has some similarities to elements from bands like At The Drive-in. Nice way to get the album moving.

Black the Sun
“Black the Sun” starts out just as strongly as the first track but slows here and there for some more melodic segues reminiscent of Poison The Well. The tempo changes help break up the chugging riff attack.

Starting off a little slower with a slightly doom inspired riff, “Samsara” has a bit of a darker sound to it. It’s still heavy as all get out, though, so no worries on that end. There’s a nice bit of breakdown work at about the 1:45 mark.

Bay of Pigs
I love the opening riff to this next song. It’s got a bit of a sludge, stoner rock feel to it that sets the mood nicely. “Bay of Pigs” is also a bit slower than the previous tracks. It’s a standout song on the album.

Collective Unconscious
“Collective Unconscious” is an instrumental that starts out slowly with a bit of noise and ambient elements before picking up a bit about the two minute mark. It’s not bad, but it slows the momentum of the previous songs.

Claw Your Way Out
After that slower paced bit of musicianship, Nights Like These pick it back up with some crunchy riffing. There’s a pretty sick solo early on in “Claw Your Way Out.” This one is probably the most unique track on the album, relying on technical guitar work and shifting tempos.

Empty Lungs
After a few slower songs, the band increases the pace a bit with “Empty Lungs.” It’s similar in sound to the first couple of tracks and has an abrasive edge to it.

Veteran Thieves
The shortest track (2:08) also hits the hardest with its driving pace and elements of older Coalesce material. It’s a sludgy piece of work that’ll have your head banging quickly.

Electric Winds
Nights Like These waste no time transitioning into this next one. Its abrasive sound and caustic riffing are prototypical of the band’s style of metal. Creative guitar work also highlight the group’s willing to experiment a bit.

The final song on the album continues the theme of beefy, sludgy riffs and powerful drumming. It’s a strong finish to an excellent and varied album.

~ ~ ~

Pushing their brand of metal into varied genres, Nights Like These have created an interesting and diverse listening experience. Fans of chugging riffs, creative guitar work and genre spanning vocals will find plenty to enjoy on the latest album from this Victory Records band.

Favorite Tracks:
Heart of the Wound
Bay of Pigs
Empty Lungs
Veteran Thieves

Additional Notes: