MetalBite Review by Chris on 7/3/2002
Since their last album, “Afterlife”
, Nocturnal Rites
seem to be kicking their career into a higher gear. The addition of vocalist Jonny Lindqvist, improved lyrics, a heavier sound and flowing harmonious arrangements made this Swedish sextet one of the best power metal bands to come out of this musically inclined country. The very successful predecessor only increased my cravings for “Shadowland”
and what can I say? After two years of anticipation I have only two words: it rocks.
My high hopes were answered with first strokes of the guitars. Thundering power metal with catchy melodies, tuneful choruses, short but tasteful solos and outstanding vocals are everything any heavy metal fan can ask for. But Nocturnal Rites
doesn’t stop here, with heavy guitar sound and more overall American power (read: Nevermore
-like ass-kicking) they blast through the speakers with so much energy that hundreds of ‘Helloween clones’ can only dream of. The opening energy burst in ‘Eyes Of The Dead’
are a great example of what’s to come, with the title track simply being a killer. (Side note: My cohort just asked me ‘Have I been listening to this same track for the last two hours?’) Since most of you know my ‘problems’ with repetitive listenings, it might not serve its purpose but at least it shows how addictive this stuff is. Compact, heavy riffs accompanied by a galloping rhythm section, just perfect dose of keyboards and great vocal lines make “Shadowland”
one of the most intelligent and captivating releases in its genre. Even mid tempo tracks like ‘Invincible’
keep the listener captivated despite being slightly less entertaining than typical Nocturnal Rites
up tempo tracks.
Thanks to a great production by Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, Darkane
) at Dug-Out Studio the sound of Nocturnal Rites
has matured substantially. Dense and clear guitars and heavy overall sound creates one of the most intense and energetic albums in its genre, which is something I think is lacking in most of today’s power metal bands. The biggest shortcoming of “Shadowland”
is originality, but great musical ideas, freshness and a simple joy of playing will make that issue mute.
Those guys are due for a breakthrough and if “Shadowland”
won’t do it I don’t know what will. Everything you can ask from a power/heavy metal band is here and then some. In two word sentences: Great album. It rocks. Buy it.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
out of 10