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Nightrage: A New Disease Is Born

The Swedish/Greek melodic death metal band Nightrage have gone through quite a few changes over the last year or so. First, they have moved from Century Media to the German label Lifeforce (a very important signing for the label no doubt), and in addition there have been some major line-up changes. Gone are guitarist Gus G. (who is now concentrating solely on Firewind) and lead singer Tomas Lindberg. New in the band this time around are vocalist Jimmie Stremmel and drummer Alex Svenningson, who join returning members Marios Iliopoulos (guitar) and Henric Clarcson (bass), and since the recording of the album tha band has added a second guitarist named Constantine.

Now, with a revitalized line-up, how does the music fare you ask? Quite well actually. Stremmel has a great set of pipes, whether he's screaming off some fierce melodic death metal growls or laying down some clean melodic passages. As always the crisp, virtuoso guitar work of Iliopoulos is spot on (check out his blazing leads on "Death-Like Silence" or the crushing riffs of "Spiral"), and I'm detecting more of a melodic slant from him this time around, which are giving these songs a tad more accessible nature. You just can't help being hooked in by the catchy melodies and heavy arrangements of "A Condemned Club" or the blistering mayhem of "Scars of the Past", two great examples of Nightrage's "classier" sound. As much as the talents of Gus G. are missed, hearing Iliopoulos contribute dizzying guitar passages on tunes "De-Frame", "Surge of Fury", and the instrumental title track bears the question "Gus who?".

Fret not extreme metal lovers, although there is an abundance of more melodic fare here, the band threw in plenty of death metal mania, like the rampaging tracks "Encircle", "Drone", and "Spiritual Impulse". In fact, A New Disease Is Born actually a very heavy album overall, just presented in a very melodic way. Marios Iliopoulos has finally arrived as a bona-fide guitar hero, and singer Jimmie Stremmel, while not as ferocious and commanding as the legend he replaces, Tomas Lindberg, he is a real find and I think fits in better with this band. Despite the line-up changes and move to a new label, Nightrage are in a great position to jump to the big leagues with this one. Highly recommended to fans of melodic death metal.

Track Listing
1. Spiral
2. Reconcile
3. Death-Like Silence
4. Condemned Club
5. Scars of the Past
6. De-Fame
7. Scathing
8. Surge of Pity
9. Encircle
10. Drone
11. Spiritual Impulse
12. New Disease Is Born [Instrumental]

Added: June 10th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Nightrage Website
Hits: 3767
Language: english

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Nightrage: A New Disease Is Born
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-06-10 12:47:14
My Score:

Nightrage is no longer the super group driven by multi-project guitarist Gus G. and former At The Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg, as both members have left the band, the former to concentrate on his own bands and the latter because of creative differences. Now, if you've never heard the band's earlier albums, then there is no reason why you wouldn't enjoy A New Disease is Born, assuming you're a fan of In Flames circa Clayman.

This album packs Gothenburg-style melodic death, driven by Marios Iliopoulos' melodic guitar signature, and the stomping rhythm work by Henric Karlsson on bass and new member Alex Svenningson on drums. New vocalist Jimmie Strimell of Death Destruction and Cipher System fame is a fitting replacemet, as he is capable of both face-ripping death growls and clean vocal harmonies, absent on earlier songs. Tracks like the brutal opener "Spiral", busy with an onslaught of rhythm battery and sledgehammer riffery, also contain acoustic breaks for clean-sung parts. Similarly, "Reconcile" merges Strimmell's three different vocal styles into a relatively compact composition. It is filled with clean choruses, low death growls, and more modern metalcore-like screaming. Topped by a catchy guitar motif, this song is a real winner.

If you enjoyed In Flames' Clayman album, carried by an instantly gripping melodic quality and simple-to-follow song structures, the accessible guitar theme of "Scathing" and the folksy power metal-style melodies of "Scars of the Past" are going to be your favourites. The latter is actually a number that boasts killer staccato riffery in its intro, but with a progression into more melodic territory it offers memorable licks and guitar phrases. "Death-like Silence" is also among the heaviest songs on the album. Octopus drumming, crushing bass arpeggios, and precise rhythm guitars culminate in a melodic finale, where even the suffocating death growls turn into an anthemic pop chorus. The last song, which is the title track, is a sweet instrumental based on beautiful acoustic guitars and definitely worth a listen.

A New Disease is Born is far from original, but within the realm of Swedish melodic death, it is an album many may enjoy. The production was handled by Jacob Hansen which means the CD sounds exactly like everything else he produced, be it Mercenary, Hatesphere, or Fear My Thoughts. Contrary to many fans' opinions, I've never been too fond of his production work, as I don't favour overtly compressed records. They sort of flatten the dynamic quality in my opinion. Still sonically, the album is certainly packed with energy that suits these songs. That said, the earlier albums are slightly more to my liking, as they carry Gus G.'s signature all over them.

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