Nightrage
The Venomous

Yep. That Nightrage is back. I had to do a double take as well.

After bursting onto the scene as an international  super group featuring guitar maestro Gus G (Firewind, Dream Evil) and the legendary Tomas Lindberg with 2003s debut Sweet Vengeance and 2005s Descent into Hell, Nightrage were the supposed saviors of a waning melodic death metal scene. But after the departure of Gus and Lindberg, the band were never quite as lauded again even with a couple of middling albums on Lifeforce Records (2007s  A New Disease is Born and 2009s Wearing a Martyr’s Crown).

I guess they have released a few more albums on Sweden’s Depotz Records since 2011 but I can safely say, they were completely off my radar for the last decade. But founder  Marios Iliopoulos, to his credit, is still hammering away and with a new but experienced line up including vocalist Ronnie Nyman (Enemy Is Us), drummer Lawrence Dinamarca (Carnal Forge, Loch Vostok) and guitarist Magnus Söderman (Leech, ex Atrocity,) has returned with a new album, and to my surprise it’s pretty solid.

Still mired squarely in the 90s stylings of In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, Nightrage have stuck staunchly to their Gothenburg guns but with good effect. This is pure NWSDM with no Finnish/melancholic bells and whistles a la Wolfheart or Insomnium or experimental/prog measures like Disillusion This is pure, retro The Jester Race, Clayman, Skydancer, The Gallery Worship,  and that’s OK especially when done with this much attention to nostalgia.

The dancing, melodic, dual harmonies, raspy vocals, crisp production and mix of thrashy uptempo numbers and mid paced trots is all tightly delivered and impressively written, as if from a time capsule. And truth be told, there are a few really good tracks here. The likes of the raging “Catharsis”, fiercely melodic gallop of “The Blood” and “Disturbia” and standout march of “Trail of Ghosts” certainly got my foot tapping and reminiscing over some of the aforementioned classics. If you don’t listen to penultimate track “Desolation and Dismay” and get a heavy 1999 vibe, you probably weren’t listening to metal then. And the band avoid any of the stuff that tainted the genre in the mid 00 and late 00s such as clean croons (only one song, “The Affliction” uses them sparingly).

A pleasant, nostalgic surprise, but I’m not sure how relevant the band still is considering the genre’s considerable decline. Still, is really does hearken back to the glory days and is a strong effort that wont save the genre, but at least attempt CPR.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 10th, 2017

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