Nocturnal Rites

Phoenix

Album Type:
Release Date:
29th September 2017
Record Label:
AFM Records
Total Tracks:
11
Genre:
,
RATING: 

When I read that Nocturnal Rites was busy recording a new album I was over the moon. Ten years have passed since their last release The 8th Sin. Now, I have to admit that I was not a real fan of that last album, so I was very curious what Phoenix would bring us. The first three albums of Nocturnal Rites are old school power metal, but with their release Afterlife, they changed their style into a more modern power metal style. That style change perhaps also had something to do with recruiting new singer Jonny Lindqvist. The music was a tad heavier with low tuned guitars, charismatic singing, excellent melodies, refrains, and a good variety in fast and mid-tempo songs. With Shadowland and New World Messiah they explored that style even more, and these three albums are my personal favorites of the band.

The first song I heard of the new album was ‘Before We Waste Away’, a very melodic mid tempo track with a very commercial refrain, an excellent guitar solo, but not a real hammer. It made me think too much of their worst album The 8th Sin. Was this was the harbinger of the complete album? The next song I could listen to was ‘A Heart As Black As Coal’, which is the opener of Phoenix. The song opens with heavy, low tuned guitars, but then some modern sounding rhythm and chugs follow. The very cheesy refrain and rhythm almost makes it sound like a pop song. After this second acquaintance with the new album I felt even less excited. ‘The Poisonous Seed’ was next. This is one of my favorites and one of the best songs on the album. It is a faster track reminding me a bit of their best work. There are some Eastern tunes and I have to think of the band Kamelot several times. With new member Per Nillson we also don’t need to worry about the guitar solos, as he does a great job on the entire album.

If the rest of the songs are in the same style as this third track, there is still hope! Next up is ‘Repent My Sins’, but this still didn’t convince me. The song has a nice melody, but I miss the aggression and perhaps passion. It sounds a bit too average, even the beautiful solo can’t save the song. Then yet another rather slow track ‘What’s Killing Me’ follows. This even would be one of the weaker ones on their The 8th Sin album! ‘A Song For You’ combines slower and faster parts, contains excellent melodic vocals of Jonny, but again the rather modern sounds irritate me. ‘The Ghost Inside Me’ fortunately has some faster parts, but like ‘A Song For You’ it doesn’t reach the high quality Nocturnal Rites can reach. Especially the choir singing and the almost aCapella part of Jonny isn’t my cup of tea.

‘Nothing Can Break Me’ is too poppy, modern sounding and melodic and the worst song on the album. Is this the band that I liked so much? In my opinion the band tried to be too commercial and modern, forgetting to put real power and aggression in their songs. The Ballad ‘Flames’ has excellent vocals and is a rather o.k. song. Lucky for me and the band, the bonus song ‘Used To Be God’ and closing track ‘Welcome To The End’ save the album for getting an even lower rating. This last two songs are exactly in the style I want to hear Nocturnal Rites. Both songs are rather fast and more power metal than the melodic modern metal with sing along refrains they serve in most of the songs on this album. This reminds me more of their strongest Afterlife and Shadowland period.

All in all, Phoenix is not the album and style I expected from Nocturnal Rites. For me it is too modern sounding, too many cheesy refrains, not aggressive enough, and a lot of songs I even wouldn’t call power metal anymore. Modern melodic metal would be a better description. I know many will not agree with my rating. Only their earlier albums and my respect for the band saved them from even  a lower rating.  For me the album has too many slow and mid-tempo songs, it has some modern rhythms I just don’t like, and I miss the aggression and some really well written songs. Sorry, but not the comeback I expected!

Tracklist:

01. A Heart As Black As Coal
02. Before We Waste Away
03. The Poisonous Seed
04. Repent My Sins
05. What’s Killing Me
06. A Song For You
07. The Ghost Inside Me
08. Nothing Can Break Me
09. Flames
10. Used To Be God *
11. Welcome To The End
* Bonus track on Digipak and Vinyl

Playing Time: 46:00
Line-Up:

Jonny Lindqvist - Vocals
Nils Eriksson - Bass
Per Nilsson - Lead Guitar
Fredrik Mannberg - Guitar
Owe Lingvall - Drums

Reinier de Vries
About Reinier de Vries 188 Articles
Once a metal head, always a metalhead. My parents thought it would only be a period, but they were wrong. I quit to explain the beauty of metal music to others that are not into metal, because it is something you can't tell in words... It is like explaining to a teetotaller why a cold beer is so nice on a hot day... I started with bands like Accept, Metal Church, Iron Maiden and Metallica in the eighties and I think I will still listen to them when I'm stone deaf and old...

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