Nightfall: The Legend of Cassiopeia

Nightfall is a metal band from Athens, Greece whose conception began in 1991 and since then has become true legends of the underground.   Now on the equally prestigious Metal Blade Records, Nightfall has unleashed their ninth magnum opus entitled Cassiopeia.  A stunning work of artistry, Cassiopeia shows a collective at the height of their creative prowess.  We recently interviewed founding member and vocalist Efthimis Karadimas to find out more about the dynamic new album, the band’s colorful past on the Grecian metal scene,  their revolving door of members since their inception, and other epic topics.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Nightfall, and how long the band has been together.
Hello Ken from the cloudy Athens. Nightfall is about two decades and two years old and have released nine full length albums, of which the last two Astron Black & the Thirty Tyrants and Cassiopeia with the legendary Metal Blade records. The line up is a team of guys from Greece, Germany, and the USA, sharing a common target, that of singing about small tragedies in life and sharing them with people who feel in similar ways. Cool isn’t it?

What is the current metal scene like in Greece and how has it changed since the 90’s?
Early 90’s was a poor period in terms of means to produce quality sound, yet it was full of original ideas; you know the kind of ideas-cum-patents subculture members of any kind come up with in order to create proper channels to conduct their artistic affairs. Then came the cheap credit that took over all western societies including the Greek one, which offered a variety of solutions to such technical problems but fucked up the originality early 90’s bands used to have. To cut the long story short, bands like Nightfall, Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh that created the Greek scene the world knows today are still alive and kicking mainly due to we created it from scratch without relying much onto technicalities. Yeah right, this is the Holy Trinity of the Greek scene many refer to 😉

Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Cassiopeia?
Cassiopeia was a beautiful queen who did the mistake to claim her and her daughter’s Andromeda beauty greater to that of nymphs Nereids, triggering Poseidon’s wrath and sending the first to roll eternally around the North Celestial Pole while seated on her throne grabbed not to fall off half the time she’s upside down (aka Cassiopeia Constellation) and the second to the mercy of sea monster Cetus. The moral behind that story is arrogance and the lethal effect it has to human beings who when happen to enjoy a sort of power at a certain point in their lives go on to compare themselves to gods, where “gods” stand for any situation or affair greater to the broken human nature.

Select two songs from Cassiopeia and what inspired the lyrical content?
The Nightwatch named after the famous painting of Dutch painter Rembrandt and refers to those who are devoted to securing and protecting our civilised societies from individuals or teams who disrespect our laws and ethics.

Akhenaton the 9th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty refers to a man who came up with the idea of a single god religion thousands of years before Christianity emerged. This way we want to show people the vastness of issues and questions related to vital things of human existence such faith is that go beyond the limits of individual’s life; the smallness of individuals in terms of the ability to give sufficient answers to great problems is apparent and we shall never forget about it.

With the recording being accomplished all over the world, how easy or difficult has it been to organize and piece everything together?
Thanks to technology this is not a real problem. It is a challenge however to bridge the cultural differences among the band members and channel everything to the right direction. I totally like it; it is unique and leads to interesting things. Cassiopeia is a product of that kind with a variety of influences and styles in it that go beyond simple musical tastes the band members share.

Now that you are signed to Metal Blade Records, might we see a Nightfall tour here in the States anytime soon? Have you ever played in the States before?
No, we haven’t done so far. It would be great to come over but this has to be planned properly for the band and the fans to enjoy it.

Who did the cover art for Cassiopeia and how much input did you have on it?
It is a guy named Vincent of Above Chaos designs, in France (www.facebook.com/AboveChaos). He is a young dude searching for opportunities to prove his work. It is our policy to assist people we believe they are good at what they are doing. I gave him a picture I took in Bilbao, Spain, and he turned it into a very nice series of icons that fit great to the album’s concept.

With so many band members coming and going since 1991, what do you think has kept Nightfall going and thriving after all of this time? And how frustrating has it been to replace band members?
Frustrating? Why? This is not a boy band where the fans tend to identify themselves with their idols on stage. This is an artistic vehicle that produces music and words through which the members and the people who feel alike excavate their deepest parts of their souls in an effort to find the demons within and drag them out to the light to burn them. Meeting and playing with new people –when it is needed- is refreshing and yet again challenging. You never get bored really! This band has brought many cool musicians up. One of them is George Kollias who is now with Nile. He played in Nightfall’s I Am Jesus and Lyssa albums and used to say he’s the biggest Nightfall fan ever…

If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, what band would it that be and why?
Metallica Kill’em All era.

When you look back on your album Lesbian Show, what do you think of it now? And did The Cramps ever hear your cover of Mean Machine and comment on it?
Lesbian Show is a nice album yet not that mystical or atmospheric as most of Nightfall works up to now. It was recorded in Lapland during a very cold December-January time I recall and the whole thing turned out kinda straight forward death metal without many melodies and stuff. The Cramps cover? Well, we never really checked about their opinion in the Mean Machine cover.

Did you ever have any problems with controversy and censorship with the title of your album I Am Jesus?
No. Should we? I mean who can really come up with any sort of serious claim about this title? We all more or less do smaller or bigger sacrifices in our lives for things we can’t really be accounted for. The concept is symbolic and it is not referring to the Christians’ beliefs or the opposite.

Rotting Christ is one of the most famous metal bands from Greece. Have you ever toured or done shows with them and what do you think of the band overall?
We haven’t shared any stage with the fellow guys as far as I remember. But as told here above Nightfall, Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh is the Holy Trinity of the Greek metal scene. We started this thing together and despite the different policies and the different ways each one approaches music industry, we do respect each other.

Do you have messages for Nightfall fans here in the States?
Thank you guys for the support. Hope to see you some day soon.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
My pleasure Ken.

Nightfall is:
Efthimis Karadimas – Vocals
Evan Hensley – Guitar
Constantine – Guitar
Stathis Ridis – Bass
Stathis Kassios – Keys
Drums – Jorg Uken – Drums

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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