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Nightrage: Descent Into Chaos

Most people these days hear the term "supergroup" and just shrug their shoulders, as over the last decade there have been so many of these types of projects, many never living up to the hype that surrounds the mere mention of the musicians involved. Nightrage emerged on the scene in 2000, as members of such bands as Exhumation, Dream Evil, Firewind, Mystic Prophecy, At the Gates, The Crown, and Evergrey combined forces to come up with the impressive Sweet Vengeance, a strong album that hinted at better things to come provided the band was not a one-shot wonder.

Well, a few years later and we have a brand new Nightrage CD called Descent Into Chaos, a blistering concoction of molten & melodic death metal that is stunning on every level. With a slightly different line-up, the band seems fresh and ready to take on the world. Gone are Evergrey vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund, The Haunted drummer Per M. Jensen, and bassist Brice Leclercq. Now in the band on drums is Fotis Benardo (ex-Septic Flesh/Cradle of Filth) and bassist Henric Carlsson (Cipher System) who join returning members Tomas Lindberg (ex-At the Gates, The Crown) on vocals, and guitarists Marios Iliopoulos (ex-Exhumation) and Gus G. (Dream Evil, Firewind, Mystic Prophecy). Keyboards are played by Dream Evil's Fredrik Nordstrom, and guest clean vocals by Dark Tranquility's Mikael Stanne appear on one track. So, does Descent Into Chaos live up to its Gothenburg heritage?

It certainly does. These are 12 tracks bursting with ideas, energy, and emotion, always heavy and aggressive, and never sacrificing melody for flash or ferocity. There's plenty of meaty guitar riffs and blazing solos, and the orchestral keyboards add a nice touch to the intense death metal style of the band. Now, don't let the "death metal" tag scare those that are not keen on the genre-this is aggressive music, and not for the faint of heart, but the songs are so melodic, so memorable, and so well executed that I'm sure listeners who favor less extreme metal styles or even progressive rock will find much to like here. Take the galloping stomp of "Phantasm" for instance, which owes as much to power metal pioneers Iron Maiden as it does to classic In Flames. Lindberg's unmistakable vocals add a great element to these songs, and fans of At the Gates will no doubt rejoice at his powerful and intense performance here. His raging attack sends songs like the brutal "Being Nothing", "Jubilant Cry" and the surging title track to insane levels, while his manic death shouts mix perfectly with the clean & melodic vocals of Stanne on the wonderful "Frozen", perhaps one of the strongest cuts on the album and easily the most accessible.

The album's lone instrumental "Solus" showcases all the talent in the band perfectly. Driven by the powerful drum work of Benardo, the twin guitars of Iliopoulos and Gus G. weave melodic tapestries around each other, offering a nice mix of metal and fusion that is supported by some lush keyboards. The CD ends on a real high note with the bludgeoning "Reality vs. Truth", a relentless thrash number featuring brutal double-bass drum work, monstrous riffs, harmony guitars, and manic vocal shrieks. Truly powerful stuff.

If there's any complaint at all about Descent Into Chaos, it's that the album and the songs are fairly short. No song is over 5 minutes, and the CD barely breaks 40 minutes. Still, the songs are strong, the production is crisp, and the overall experience breathtaking. This is a great example of modern melodic death metal folks, check it out.


Track Listing
1)Being Nothing 3:10
2) Phantasma 3:32
3) Poems 3:00
4) Descent into Chaos 3:05
5) Frozen 4:04
6) Drug 4:06
7) Silent Solitude 3:33
8) Omen 3:44
9) Release 3:08
10) Solus [Instrumental] 3:01
11) Jubilant Cry 4:45
12) Reality Vs. Truth 3:36
Total running time: 42:52

Added: March 9th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Nightrage Website
Hits: 2007
Language: english

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