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Nocturnal Rites: Phoenix

Swedish power metal veterans Nocturnal Rites have been away from the scene for a bit, and considering that their last album The 8th Sin came out in 2007, it's safe to say that this was somewhat of a lengthy hiatus, which saw some sporadic live shows as well as personnel changes within the band. Here in 2017, the guys finally have a new AFM Records release titled Phoenix, as well as new blood in the form of lead guitarist Per Nilsson, the ever-busy virtuoso who also juggles Scar Symmetry, Kaipa, and more recently Meshuggah in his always growing list of musical projects. He joins mainstays Jonny Lindqvist (vocals), Nils Eriksson (bass), Fredrik Mannberg (guitar), and drummer Owe Lingvall (drums) in what is now a very potent Nocturnal Rites line-up.

I've often said how important it is on a new album to grab listeners right away with a killer lead off track, and the band do just that here with "A Heart as Black as Coal", a bristling, energetic slab of crushing yet melodic metal, filled with incredible vocal hooks, massive riffs, and blazing lead guitar. If this one doesn't grab you by the throat, I'm not sure what will. "Before We Waste Away" and "The Poisonous Seed" continue on with the power, might, and majesty, those hooks never failing and the guitar glory impressing every step of the way. The band dive into more melodic power metal territory on the symphonic "Repent My Sins", Nilsson shredding up a storm over some soaring vocals courtesy of Lindqvist and a wealth of keyboards. Chugging riffs complement vibrant songs like "What's Killing Me" and the irresistible "A Song For You" (can these guys write hooks to die for or what!?), while the adventurous "The Ghost Inside Me" offers up plenty of complex arrangements that take things into a progressive metal direction of sorts. That trend continuous on "Nothing Can Break Me", as tumultuous rhythms and riffs surround spectacular vocal harmonies from Lindqvist, and the equally menacing "Used to Be God" and "Welcome to the End" close out Phoenix in heavy fashion, the riffs commanding and Lindqvist once again rocketing to the stratosphere.

While for most longtime fans, 10 years between releases was surely an eternity, but in the end, Phoenix is a masterful return from this fine Swedish act. The 'phoenix' rising from the ashes? Indeed.


Track Listing
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

Added: September 30th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 255
Language: english

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