The 2003 debut from Sweden's supergroup Nightrage is a solid example of what a band should sound like when its members all hail from established acts. Featuring Tomas Lindberg on vocals (ex-At The Gates), Marios Llipoulos (ex-Exhumation) and Gus G. on guitars (Dream Evil), Per M. Jensen on drums (The Haunted), Tomas Englund on clean vocals (Evergrey), Brice Leclerco on bass, and keyboards from producer Fredrik Nordstrom, Nightrage is indeed worthy of its star billing. The songs on Sweet Vengeance are straight out of the At the Gates, Dark Tranquility, or In Flames school of melodic death metal, with plenty of pummeling and speedy guitar riffs, melodies and hooks galore, growling vocals, intense rhythms, and just the right amount of atmosphere.
The dual harmony guitars of Gus G. and Marios Llipoulos are in fine form on the blistering "Hero", as each get the opportunity to solo as well as weave some fantastic melodic passages around each other. Fans of Evergrey will love Englund's addition to this track, as his powerful melodic voice adds a calming respite to Lindberg's screaming growls. "The Glow Of The Setting Sun" is a memorable symphonic metal number, while tracks like the pounding "Gloomy Daydreams" and the razor sharp madness of "Macabre Apparition" will certainly please any fan of raging melodic death metal. Lindberg and Englund again work some magical growl versus clean vocal trade-offs on "Ethereal", a tune that also features some mind boggling solos from the two guitar masters. On "Circle of Pain", the band lets Englund take most of the lead vocals, giving the song a very Evergrey-like sound, that is until Lindberg blasts in with some venemous fury that takes the tune into overdrive. There's even a lush instrumental, "The Howls Of The Wolves", that is highlighted by some intricate Spanish guitar passages, a nice way to close out this very impressive album.
As strong as this album is, the band would regroup after some personnel changes for 2005's Descent into Chaos, which would see Englund, Leclerco, and Jensen gone from the band. The results were fairly similar, although even more brutal due to the lack of melodic clean vocals that were contributed here by Englund. So if you have any interest in Swedish melodic death metal, I highly recommend both Nightrage albums, but my suggestion is start with this one then get the newer one.
1. The Tremor
2. The Glow Of The Setting Sun
4. Elusive Emotion
5. Gloomy Daydreams
6. Macabre Apparition
7. In My Heart
9. Circle Of Pain
10. At The Ends Of The Earth
11. The Howls Of The Wolves (Instrumental)