A monster with dual personality disorder rising out of a swamp; that’s what adorns the cover of Nights Like These’s sophomore album Sunlight at Secondhand, a startlingly appropriate analogy seeing the Tennessee fivepiece bury their sound tenaciously beneath big dollops of sludgy production. Yet your effort will reward you if you persist. As hard as Nights Like These may try to make their down-tuned growl impenetrable, beneath their muddy mix lies a great doom metal record. Guitarists Matt Qualls and Derren Saucier work up a bruising, perfect foil to the other, while vocalist Billy Bottom’s roar is nothing to shrug off, breaking through the submerged clatter with a bestial vengeance. “Black the Sun” radiates malice through neck-snapping dissonance, “Samsara” veers off sharply into a spoken word rant about homosexual pastors, but it’s the three-way set-up of “Bay of Pigs”, colossal instrumental “Collective Unconscious” and “Claw Your Way Out” in which the group reach fist-clenching power, pummeling us one at a time without letting us rest for a second. Sunlights at Secondhand keeps its cuts as succinct as they need to be and no longer, meaning that each smattering is over just as Nights Like These’s mighty grooves take hold. Secondhand or not, their future looks bright.
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