NIGHTRAGE - SWEET VENGEANCE - CENTURY MEDIA
Imagine cruising down the highway in a shiny new Porsche with no traffic in sight. The air is crisp, the speed exhilarating and the feeling sheer joy. Then all of a sudden and without any warning an envious pig pulls you over and hands you a ticket. That is how one feels when after blasting this raging thrash demon for quite a few magnificent minutes until the 'melodic vocals' of one Tom S. Englund screech out of the speakers.
Nightrage was formed in Greece by former Exhumation guitarist Marios Iliopoulos but this band is as Swedish as meatballs, relaxation massages or At The Gates' Slaughter Of The Soul album. In fact, Nightrage is the world's best At The Gates cover band, quite a feat given the number of 'tribute' acts doing the ATG rounds at this very moment. To add substance to the effect, Nightrage has even clinched At The Gates' own Tomas Lindberg to do the honour and perform vocals on Sweet Vengeance. Not only the band members must have been honoured by their hero's presence, but they must have also been stoked to score the coup given how Lindberg is currently involved with, what, six or seven other bands as well!
Yes, one has heard this album before. Still, it is a ripping wild beast - even if its stripes have been seen before using many different titles. The songs are aggressive and sizzle.
The solo on The Glow Of The Setting Sun is pure Arch Enemy, although the lead work here is largely courtesy of Gus G (he of Dream Evil of course) which means that the proficiency is never a question. Having said that Gus, like Evergrey's Tom, is more of a guest here. Marios is the undisputed founder, leader and writer for this act. As for the aforementioned singer, listen to the start of Circle Of Pain and it immediately becomes clear that he is trying his best to be reminiscent of the worst moments of Whitesnake. He just does not belong.
Elsewhere the band amuses itself (and some others) by mimicking At The Gates non-stop. Aside from the riffs, vocals, sound, etc. where At The Gates would scream 'serpent sun' this bunch scream 'setting sun.' The aggression of Slaughter Of The Soul was only interrupted by an acoustic interlude, as is this album. The final album of the Swedes ended with an instrumental. So does this album. And so it goes. Regardless, this is a brutal album and, as mentioned, powerful in its own right. Who knows, perhaps the band will one day remix and re-release it sans the 'melodic vocals.' - Ali "The Metallian"
NIGHTRAGE - DESCENT INTO CHAOS - CENTURY MEDIA
Whereas the debut album of Nightrage, 2003's Sweet Vengeance, was a case of lost potential and missed opportunities, Descent Into Chaos is a powerful and convincing thrash metal album. The band, featuring former At The Gates' singer Tomas Lindberg, still sounds like its Gothenburg heroes, but the dependency has certainly waned and Nightrage's character and qualities shine through more fully here. The thrashing is compact, tight, powerful and graced by a sound production befitting the genre. The vocals wail and scream, the rhythm is solid and the pace keeps the listener on his toes. Moreover, Nightrage has dispensed with the disservices of Tom of Evergrey who destroyed its debut release. Save for the song Frozen where Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity does his 'clean vocals' rubbish and the keyboards appear, the songs are breakneck and anti-commercial. One beef though is the lack of guitar solos. With guitar wonder Gus G. in the line-up the listener would expect way more guitar work. Apparently, Gus was too busy with his main bands to really concentrate on Descent Into Chaos and solos like the one on Poems and Frozen remain rare and treasured here. More solos next time please!
In the meanwhile, songs like Drug, Silent Solitude and Omen hit hard and make this album well worth the price of the plunge. - Ali "The Metallian"
NIGHTRAGE - A NEW DISEASE IS BORN - LIFEFORCE
One must tip the hat to Nightrage for branding itself 'death metal' and placing the banner right there on its new album’s cover. After being dropped by its old record label, Century Media, the band finds a new home with Lifeforce Records (the label gets one back from Century Media after losing so many bands to its bigger German rival) and is back with a revamped line-up.
The album is extremely well played, syncopated, fast and flowing. The music, while brutally fast, is smooth. Jacob Hansen’s production is certainly helpful and, as always, brings all the instruments to the front. The vocals are savage and aggressively loud. The album loses points to become a mere sixty (above average) however because of the use of clean and trendy vocals. It is a completely commercial copout when bands do this and Nightrage ('death metal') should have evaded the problem. The new singer, Jimmie Strimell, is a find though and can do a mean Tomas Lindberg and At The Gates impression.
Regardless, A New Disease Is Born is a pretty efficient killer. The band should really consider not diluting its approach next time with lame vocals. The diversity embedded in the music, melodies and harmonies will do the job and thanks very much. One last thing, aside from a Nightrage song wasn’t 'Death-like Silence' the name of the old mayhem record label and a Sodom song? - Anna Tergel