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Nocturnal Rites: Grand Illusion

In progressive- and power-metal circles, Nocturnal Rites deserves much more credit and respect than it gets. Since Jonny Lindqvist, the man whose giant voice gives this Swedish outfit a larger-than-life presence, joined the band in 2000, Nocturnal Rites has consistently released music that puts many of its peers to shame. Granted, the four albums released during the Lindqvist era Afterlife, Shadowland, New World Messiah and now Grand Illusion contain Iron Maiden- and Blind Guardian-inspired material that's practically interchangeable with each other. But when the melodic combination of hard-rock finesse and progressive-metal spirit sounds this potent, who cares? You don't listen to Hammerfall or Gamma Ray for variety and the element of surprise, do you?

Monster riffs, majestic keyboards, tasteful drums and, of course, Lindqvist's leathered vocal cords propel Grand Illusion with a savvy mix of head-banging anthems ("Fools Never Die," "Our Wasted Days," "Never Ending") and rousing power metal ("Still Alive," "End of Our Rope"). Nocturnal Rites even invokes 1987-era Whitesnake on "Something Undefined," with Lindqvist doing his best David Coverdale impression, and "Cuts Like A Knife" unexpectedly and successfully experiments with death-metal vocal passages.

It boggles my mind that Nocturnal Rites has yet to leave a deeper mark on American metal fans. Here's hoping Grand Illusion proves once and for all that this band is for real.

Track Listing:
1) Fools Never Die
2) Never Trust
3) Still Alive
4) Something Undefined
5) Our Wasted Days
6) Cuts Like A Knife
7) End of Our Rope
8) Never Ending
9) One By One
10) Deliverance

Added: February 9th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Nocturnal Rites Web Site
Hits: 2903
Language: english

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