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Nocturnal Rites: Tales of Mystery and Imagination

For many of us, our first definition of the phrase "heavy metal" came in the eighties, when bands like Iron Maiden and Helloween were recording some of the most enduring stuff to ever be created.

In the years since, trends have come and gone; some of them have stayed, many more have become relics that we're all a little bit embarrassed by. And for many years, the defining sounds of the genre - the galloping triplets, majestic lyrical themes and dueling guitars - seemed lost, relegated to memory.

But those dark days are over. Thanks to young bands like Hammerfall, Rhapsody, and Primal Fear, power metal is on the crest of a comeback wave. And I couldn't be happier about it.

One of the best such albums in recent memory is Nocturnal Rites' second disc, Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Leaving behind their death metal roots several years ago, these Swedish boys have concentrated on all of the elements that make power metal so damn compelling, and have put together a stand-out collection of 12 memorable anthems to a better time.

Vocalist Anders Zackrisson deserves much of the credit for the unique vibe on this album: his tone is very unique, a bit gravelly at times, and every bit as powerful as it should be in the upper registers. He also has a gift for the well-turned melody line: his vocal hooks are the glue that hold this mix together, and the result is songs that stick in the head with only one listen.

Particularly worth a listen are the opening track "Ring of Steel", "Eye of the Demon", and the joyous, sing-along "Change the World." This kind of stuff is the reason we rebelled against conformity in the first place.

As with most great music, you're going to have a hard time finding Nocturnal Rites at Tower or Camelot. Better to go straight to the source, and order this timeless and important disc directly from Century Media.

Added: January 1st 2004
Reviewer: SoT Archives
Related Link: Web Site
Hits: 2753
Language: english

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