Label: AFM Records
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Release Date USA: October 6, 2017
After a ten year break from their last album release, The 8th Sin (2007), Nocturnal Rites is back and has released their best album to date. On October 6th Phoenix was released via AFM Records and has delivered an unexpected listening experience.
Since their 1998 release Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Nocturnal Rites has yet to deliver an album this complete throughout their musical catalog. Like many other bands, they’ve had a few changes in their line up over the years. Vocally, they didn’t really have the right frontman for their sound until the 2000 release Afterlife. Even then there was still something missing musically in their sound. They finally started sounding more complete with the 2006 release of Grand Illusion and into their 2007 release of The 8th Sin, but still not quite as complete as it could’ve been.
I’m happy to say that with the new release Phoenix, Nocturnal Rites finally sounds like the complete package to me. From the very beginning of this new album you will experience dueling guitars that are very aggressive yet melodic at the same time paired with really raspy, strong and raw vocals that go back-and-forth between an almost growling type of vocal then into a clean higher pitched melodic vocal. Add to that mix a strong, aggressive bass line that demands your attention and pounding percussion and “A Heart as Black as Coal” starts you out on a glorious journey through this album.
One thing that kept reinforcing itself throughout this album is the way that the band has mastered their sound into this really cool melodic yet hard rock/symphonic metal sound that to me has left them parting ways with their old traditional power metal identity that seemed a little bit confused as they have evolved over the years. That by no way is meant in a bad way, but a positive and great evolvement of their sound. Where as earlier albums to me felt like incomplete power metal tunes that never totally fit together, their sound today fits them so much better and has allowed them to create an album we’re all the songs feel like they fit.
The way the songs on this album are written they seem to have much more intentional feel to their structure. This will give the listener and much more enjoyable listening experience when they hear the arrangements that are placed perfectly throughout the songs. The songs also hold the much loved and wanted solos that are neither too short nor too long but perfect in timing, length and placement.
It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite song off this album but a couple of my favorite ones are easily “Repent My Sins” and “What’s Killing Me” because of the arrangements of the music and the way they’re paired with the vocals. They’ve got great song writing, unique guitar riffs, catchy choruses, performance, mixing and great mastering on these songs that made them stand out a little more. The entire album is just as good too. They did an exceptional job with the writing, laying the tracks, mixing and mastering this entire album. There’s not a single throw away song on this album.
Do yourself a favor and take this album for a spin, I think you will truly enjoy this one. Keep an eye on Nocturnal Rites 2018 tour schedule too. For those of us here in the USA the band has a confirmed performance at ProgPower 2018 in Atlanta in September. Tickets for their date go on sale November 11th through Ticketmaster.
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
10. Used To Be God *
11. Welcome To The End
* bonus track on Digipak and Vinyl editions
Nocturnal Rites Are:
Jonny Lindqvist (vocals)
Nils Eriksson (bass)
Per Nilsson (lead guitar)
Fredrik Mannberg (guitar)
Owe Lingvall (drums)