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Nocturnal Rites: New World Messiah

Equal parts power metal and hair metal, the sixth album from Sweden's Nocturnal Rites is a killer disc that deserves to be heard by any self-respecting headbanger. High praise? Yes, indeed. But since the release of 2000's Afterlife (the first disc from this veteran quintet to feature rugged yet dynamic vocalist Jonny Lindqvist), Nocturnal Rites has been building toward something as rousing and memorable as New World Messiah. Sure, you can hear the Iron Maiden and Helloween influences, but whereas other bands simply emulate their heroes and don't take chances, Nocturnal Rites isn't afraid to slow down the tempos, turn up the choruses and play whatever they damn well please. This is finely honed heavy metal that's as refreshing as it is traditional. The title track is a shining example of the band's Blind Guardian-meets-Bonfire style. Elsewhere, you get Middle Eastern flavors ("Egyptica"), majestic hymns ("The Flame Will Never Die"), traditional double-bass thumping ("Awakening") and nothing less than a sweet whiff of power-metal air.

Track Listing:
1) New World Messiah (4:09)
2) Against the World (4:18)
3) Avalon (4:18)
4) Awakening (5:28)
5) Egyptica (5:53)
6) Break Away (4:34)
7) End of Days (4:47)
8) The Flame Will Never Die (4:21)
9) One Nation (4:29)
10) Nightmare (4:37)
Total Time: 46:59

Added: April 7th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Nocturnal Rites Web Site
Hits: 2676
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Nocturnal Rites: New World Messiah
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-03-24 06:53:49
My Score:

When you listen to Nocturnal Rites for the first time you will find that they are the perfect mix of traditional ("Old School") Metal meets the Power Metal that is often released today. They pull this off very effectively on this Century Media release entitled "New World Messiah" and the whole CD is full of killer stuff. You not only get the double-bass drumming thunder as is expected of Power Metal but the songs are also laced with a level of harmony that most usually is found in bands like Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray. It also seemed to be a lot more accessible than some others in this type of genre and I felt this could easily be used to convince you to listen to similar bands. It is the kind of band that makes me realize why I love Power Metal so much. With Nocturnal Rites and Nuclear Blast's Thunderstone you are getting a great idea of what the world of the genre can offer you as the listener. Of the tunes on the record I have particular enjoyment of fine sample of what the world of Power Metal is offering the new listener. There are a lot of great tracks here and of my very favorites was "Avalon" in particular. The song bears one of those choruses that make you sing along with it from the very first listen. "Against The World" is a steady chugging number that one can envision the fists raised high during a performance. With "Egyptica" we get the Rites take on some Middle Eastern melodies and lyrical content that brings you to another place in time. "Break Away" is a solid and quick riffed piece with a classic Helloween feel. The members of the band are very accomplished and with six members are comprised of Jonny Lindqvist (vocals), Fredrik Mannberg (guitar), Nils Norberg (guitar), Nils Erikkson (bass), Owe Lingvall (drums) and Mattias Berhardson (keyboards). I have to raise the horns to drummer Owe who is standout on the record and seems to be playing the same riffs as the guitarists. Not simply holding the time down in his beats but more of a soloist as the songs are thundering by.

The Power Metal genre has a great addition in Nocturnal Rites and if they sound like this in the concert setting there is a strong chance that they will rise in dominance over a lot of their label mates. Fans of Blind Guardian and Kamelot will most definitely get into what they are singing about and they should look into them at their first chance to do so.

Nocturnal Rites: New World Messiah
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2004-04-11 20:25:57
My Score:

Sweden and Germany are the traditional homes of Power Metal, so with their Scandinavian-style of that genre of music and their self confessed homage to Blind Guardian, you can expect to hear all the power clichés here: Great guitar work, strong keyboards, and anthemic choruses soaring over a well-defined bottom of crunchy riffs and strong double-bass lines. Each of the 20 tracks on this 47-minute album are in the 4- to 5-minute range which will maximize the commercial potential, and the overall sound on New World Messiah will appeal to most dyed-in-the-wool metal heads.

The best track is no. 5, "Egyptica", which blends metal with middle-eastern influences to create a track that is a pleasant listen and the only truly imaginative piece on the album. There are a few other highlights : Lindqvist's vocals which are not as smooth as most but have a sort of rough appeal and good range. The choruses of (sampled) low-register male vocals on "Break Away". The perfectly-coordinated riffs and double-kicks on "Awakening". But besides "Egyptica", there isn't much really new or progressive or groundbreaking here.

High-quality playing and above-average songwriting are the hallmarks this CD. The Power Metal genre probably includes some of the best musicians in metal. Nocturnal Rites stands proudly among the ranks of bands whose quality of execution and production are improving all the time, and New World Messiah raises that bar still higher. But the Power Metal genre is also in danger of stagnating and really needs an injection of something new and imaginative. And in that respect Nocturnal Rites has raised the bar – by just a few millimeters.

Duncan Glenday

Nocturnal Rites: New World Messiah
Posted by Jedd Beaudoin, SoT Staff Writer on 2004-04-11 16:28:01
My Score:

Even if this album weren't great you'd have to give Nocturnal Rites their due and say that they've slugged it out long enough, that they need respect to the max for their efforts. For years, they've been a band that you expect to really do something awesome although they still always seemed to come up just a little short of greatness. That was until 2002's outing Shadowland which finally proved that this outfit could write a series of meaningful songs, not just play with more passion than your average mortal.
Drummer Owe Lingvall beats his drums like few manage to, playing with a primal flair that serves as an excellent counterpoint to the outfit's sweet-but-sinister vocal harmonies. The guitar duo of Fredrik Mannberg and Nils Norberg gives us more than enough to chew on during "The Awakening," the title track (which also signals the beginning of the affair) and "Avalon," where, as is the case so many other times on New World Messiah, vocalist Jonny Lindkvist sounds ever-so-much the fabulous '70s British rock star (think Coverdale, Hughes).

If this one doesn't bring Nocturnal Rites (which also features bassist and country music enthusiast Nils Eriksson) to the American shores for repeated visits in the coming year, then I'm going to climb to the top of the highest building I can find and throw off an effigy of Ruben Studdard.

When the smoke clears, this will be the one that is remembered for having launched Nocturnal Rites into the larger consciousness of the world.
Jedd Beaudoin

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