Nightmare - "The Aftermath" (CD)
"The Aftermath" track listing:
1. The Aftermath
2. Bringers of a No Man's Land
3. Forbidden Tribe
5. Invoking Demons
6. I Am Immortal
7. Digital D.N.A
8. Ghost in the Mirror
9. The Bridge Is Burning
10. Mission for God
11. Alone in the Distance
Reviewed by CROMCarl on June 23, 2014
People seem to overlook the fact that France has an incredibly diverse and rich metal scene. It seems when “France” is mentioned with “metal” – the one word that comes to mind is Gojira, or Sortilege for old school fans. In the world of power metal, you simply cannot over look Adagio, Fairyland, Heavenly and the mighty Nightmare.
As with Germany’s Axxis, Nightmare has a parallel journey in which the band started as primarily a hard rock act, though the French band has been around nearly a decade earlier. Drawing the comparison, both bands suddenly decided to become decisively heavier, but where Axxis retained its hard rock past, Nightmare bears little resemblance to the NWoBHM influenced days of “Waiting for the Twilight.” Now on its ninth full length studio release “The Aftermath,” Nightmare keeps moving in a heavier direction ascending the power metal heap to plant the flag for France in a genre where the purity of sound – not bastardized by symphonic elements – seems to be on a titanic comeback.
The blistering attack is nearly too much to bear for an entire listen in one setting, with the only let up in the brief interlude in “The Bridge is Burning.” The guitar crunch combined with a perfect bass drum sound is all this album needs to drop a heavy load on the listener. Add in Amore’s “Ronnie James Dio through shards of glass” vocal approach and this album attacks from all fronts. Guitarists Franck Milleliri and Matt Asselberghs batter out oodles of crunch, which will satiate the hungriest of power metal followers. Check out “Necromancer” as one of the best examples of just how leaded the attack has become for the French quintet.
The overtone of “The Aftermath” may center on the abundance of riffs, but melody is never lost and continues to soar. This balance is what makes Nightmare such a special band, one that keeps excelling at the craft of metal, remembering to keep it compact and never straying from the band’s basic principal of potency, but also never losing its soul and inflection. “Invoking Demons” demonstrates this principle decisively, where a powerful chugging riff opens up into a wide and colorful bridge and chorus. Its undeniably a perfect display of the power and beauty this brand of power metal could proffer.
If you are looking for downright nasty heaviness that shows little mercy, look no further than “I Am Immortal,” which seems to slither and coils like a serpent in the first 40 seconds before striking with venom at 0:43. Add the same vigor, but add a dose of speed and you have “Mission for God.” The galloping, perfectly orchestrated beginning of “Forbidden Tribe” is provides the coolest lead in to a verse on the entire release, which explodes with blistering tight picking. The song sports the best chorus on the album.
Nightmare continues its long run of consistency and progression. While the recent trend of the band is to get heavier and heavier, it has never lost its astounding level of beautiful and colorful melody. If we are indeed on a “power metal rebound,” where the subgenre has never been more relevant and producing copious amounts of phenomenal releases, then Nightmare only adds another to the pile that is sure to make the decision for metal head buyers that much harder - provided that breed still exists.
Highs: The band gets heavier and heavier without losing its rich melody.
Lows: The use of the term "heavier" may be a little misleading to extreme metal fans.
Bottom line: Sharpened hooks and razor laden vocals.... and you can only imagine "The Aftermath" after this Nightmare pounding!
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