(NCS writer TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album from Nightrage.)
Marios Iliopoulos’ pet project and melodeath beast Nightrage have been one of melodic death metal’s best more recent bands. Managing to bring in the old school sounds of greats such as In Flames and Dark Tranquility, the band have created an undeniably classic sound that destroys the modern metal landscape, rendering their genre niche far more than relevant. I’ve loved this band since their classic debut Sweet Vengeance and it really doesn’t seem like that will change, because Insidious is like a bringer of flame, leaving large swathes of ground scorched into dead flatlands of smoldering menace. As a bonus, the band’s original vocalist and legend of the mic Tomas Lindberg contributes vocals to more then one song.
The meditative clean drones of intro track “So Far Away” almost invoke a sense of inner peace until fierce opener “Delirium Of The Fallen” kicks in with high-gear thrashing and tasteful melodic leads in the classic Nightrage style. The music has taken a step back to the feel and style of their sophomore album Descent Into Chaos, with plenty of songs based on Marios’s graceful leads and capability for writing great themes. The majesty of the chorus alone demonstrates the man’s ability for guitar layering; it washes over you and you drown in it, smiling. Apollo Papathanasio of Firewind also provides the clean vocals of the bridge.
“Insidious” is the first song on which Tomas Lindberg appears, and it immediately destroys you in what can only be described as a melodic death metal napalm run, igniting pure hell fire and obliterating everything in sight. The riffs are sharp and the drums charge forward while regular vocalist Anthony Hämäläinen and Lindgren engage in absolutely fast and ferocious vocal interplay. (more after the jump . . .)
“Wrapped In Deceitful Dreams” doesn’t relent, a deliberate mid-paced thrasher with purpose, galloping with utmost conviction. Did I mention there are rip-roaring solo’s from Gus G on this album? You’ll find his first contribution on this song. Oh yeah, and the man with the most soulful voice in metal, Tom S. Englund of Evergrey, makes an appearance as well. Both of these guests have appeared on previous Nightrage albums, and this song isn’t the last we’ll hear of them on this one either.
“Hate Turns Black” is another majestic piece of rolling thunder, while “Sham Piety” sees Lindberg’s return to the mic. Melodically, the song recalls “Frozen” from Descent Into Chaos. It’s almost a ballad, with powerful twin guitar leads abounding and some really cool clean sections. Marios’ solo is absolutely fantastic in this song as well.
“Cloaked In Wolf Skin” is a fast and furious melodic thrasher with no mercy, ripping apart all that stand in its path. “This World Is Coming To An End” is an excellent In Flames-style melodeath assault with more twin-guitar interaction and tasteful soloing. Papathanasio and Lindberg also both reappear on this track.
The album’s second half begins in classic Nightrage fashion, with the fastest song on the album, “Utmost End Of Pain”, being the first of the final seven. “Poignant Memories” will remind fans of classic melodeath of In Flames’ Jester Race days, no doubt, with a very black-metal styled assault beginning the song. “Hush Of Night” feels a lot like an Insomnium song, with its emotional riffing and acoustic layering. “Poisoned Pawn” is a blistering charger, full of melodic piss and vinegar, that leads boldly into the final three songs of this album.
“Solar Eclipse” and the outro track “Emblem Of Light” are both strong symphonic instrumentals featuring John K. of Biomechanical, a pretty awesome surprise. The song in between these, “Solar Corona”, is an epic, heavy instrumental with abundant soloing, Marios, Gus G., and Tom S. Englund all wailing away. This trilogy of songs is an awesome way to close the album.
Insidious is pure-blooded melodeath, excellent and powerful, bursting with gale winds of mighty force. Get this.
Insidious is out now worldwide on Lifeforce Records. All the guest contributions are noted in this track list:
01. So Far Away (intro)
02. Delirium Of The Fallen (w/ Apollo Papathanasio)
03. Insidious (w/ Tomas Lindberg)
04. Wrapped In Deceitful Dreams (w/ Gus G. and Tom S. Englund)
05. Hate Turns Black
06. Sham Piety (w/ Tomas Lindberg)
07. Cloaked In Wolf Skin
08. This World Is Coming To An End (w/ Tomas Lindberg, Apollo Papathanasio)
09. Utmost Ends Of Pain
10. Poignant Memories
11. Hush Of Night
12. Poisoned Pawn
13. Solar Eclipse (Prelude) (w/ John K)
14. Solar Corona (w/ Gus G. and Tom S. Englund)
15. Emblem Of Light (outro) (w/ John K)
With the digital edition of the album, there’s also a 16th track — the Nightrage cover of “Photograph” by Def Leppard, with Papathanasio again providing guest vocals.
Nightrage is on tour in the U.S. and Canada now (the FRETS OF FURY tour), along with Firewind, Arsis, and White Wizzard. Here’s the schedule:
10/09/11 The State Theater – St Petersburg, FL BUY TICKETS
10/10/11 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
10/11/11 Jaxx – Springfield, VA BUY TICKETS
10/12/11 Gramercy Theater – New York, NY BUY TICKETS
10/13/11 Wally’s – Hampton, NH BUY TICKETS
10/14/11 Les Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC – CANADA
10/15/11 Maverick’s – Ottawa, ON – CANADA BUY TICKETS
10/16/11 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH BUY TICKETS
10/18/11 Mojoe’s – Joliet, IL BUY TICKETS
10/19/11 Station 4 – St Paul, MN BUY TICKETS
10/20/11 The Osborne Village Inn – Winnipeg, MB – CANADA BUY TICKETS
10/21/11 Pawn Shop – Edmonton, AB – CANADA BUY TICKETS
10/22/11 Duffers – Kelowna, BC – CANADA
10/23/11 Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC – CANADA BUY TICKETS
10/24/11 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA BUY TICKETS
10/25/11 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
10/26/11 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA BUY TICKETS
10/27/11 Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, CA BUY TICKETS
Damn, the Florida date was yesterday. Curses!
I haven’t really “been in the mood” for melodeath at all this year, but these guys are pretty fucking good. Obviously, the In Flames and Dark Tranquility comparisons are both apt and flattering, though I’m also hearing hints of Kataklysm. (But I guess Kataklysm is just a slightly modernized version of IF and DT, so…nevermind me.)
I just stumbled upon them yesterday on ze youtube. Now, I consider melodeath as “the shit” for me, the thing that really rocks off my thongs. Still, it didn’t really do much for me. Nevertheless, gonna give the band another shot.
They’ll never top “A New Disease Is Born” for me.
I agree. While it was a very modern, slick sounding album that really wasn’t at its core a MDM album, it was their best work to date. I liked the shift in direction to that modern styled melodic metal with the metalcore-esque vovals, especially after the Descent Into Chaos line-up more or less abandoned after that release. However, for whatever reason, Mario decided that with Wearing a Martyrs Crown, he’d try to recapture the classic-styled MDM sound that the band was renowned for. A shame really, because they were really onto something, not that there is anything wrong with their last two albums in there own right.
I definitely feel what you are saying about “A New Disease Is Born”. I love that album and think it’s their best besides “Descent Into Chaos” but I think “Insidious” is just classic Nightrage. Whether you want to evaluate the quality of their work within their discography or not, they are leagues above a great deal of their contemporaries.
I feel Nightrage could release something truly great if they added some dynamics to their music. This album is too much of an onslaught if that makes sense. Listen to Colony or Clayman and compare those discs to this — or even Nightrage’s previous albums — there is just too much non-stop speed and aggression. The clean sections are a welcome relief of sorts, but it just bluuuuuurrrrrsssss. Solar Corona is the stand out track for mine.
And no disrespect to Anthony Hämäläinen, who is decent enough, but the glimpses of Lindberg on this album would undoubtedly lift Nightrage up another notch or two in the MDM scene.