Those who knows my preferences in metal, will know by now, that usually I’m not too keen on death metal, but that might be about to change. Bands like Nightrage are the reason for that. They prove that death metal doesn’t have to be just growling and play-as-fast-as-you-fucking-can drums and guitar, but can incorporate very nice melodies into an aggressive context – melodic death metal is no longer a contradiction in terms for me.
The most consistent death/black-like about this CD is actually the lead-vocals. The (very raw) vocals, by new vocalist Jimmie Strimell, are screaming or melodic singing more than deep throat growling, and come off quite well done. I actually like his way of doing it better than former vocalist Tomas Lindberg, and it seems, that he’s also able to do the melodic parts himself, so they don’t have to rely on someone like Tom Englund (Evergrey) to do those parts anymore, even though it’s hard to live up to Englunds voice. I haven’t quite got used to this way of “singing”, and in the long run the vocals could have been a bit more varied to my taste, but the intensity is there all the way.
Their new drummer Alex Svenningson is very tight, and seem to be a gain for the band, they have no need to rely on Per Moeller Jensen anymore. Departure of guitar-hero Gus G hasn’t seemed to influence the sound or skills to play either, founding member Marios Ilipoulos does a very confident and steady job on the 6-string by himself.
Opening track “Spiral” is full throttle ahead on everything, but already on second track “Reconcile”, it’s more like walking tempo, with a lot of really cool melodic guitar work, and melody chorus. Next track “Deathlike Silence” is drums on full speed, and at the same time melodic guitars – and so it continues…diversity in pace, crunchy riffs, broad melodic guitar pieces and screaming vocals through the rest of the album.
As on their two previous albums “the Gothenburg sound” is evident, and bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity comes to mind. Sometimes they also remind me of the Danes Raunchy in the combination between screaming and very melodic vocals and the melodic guitar pieces, and from time to time Nightrage sounds like melodic thrash or, apart from the screaming vocals, even power metal!
The day's seemingly omnipresent Danish producer Jacob Hansen also turned the knobs on this album, and as always, the result is flawless: clear, well-defined and powerful sound.
The cover reminded me of Impious’ cover, something clear in the foreground (here sculls – how surprising!!!), and then some faded ornamental-like decorations as background, an okay cover above average, but nothing genius.
Recommended tracks: Reconcile, A Condemned Club, Surge Of Pity and (instrumental) A New Disease Is Born … (I’m still a sucker for the melodic sh*t!)