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Nocturnal Rites - "The 8th Sin" (CD)

Nocturnal Rites - "The 8th Sin" CD cover image

"The 8th Sin" track listing:

1. Call Out To The World
2. Never Again
3. Not The Only
4. Tell Me
5. Not Like You
6. Leave Me Alone
7. Till I Come Alive
8. Strong Enough
9. Me
10. Pain & Pleasure
11. Fool's Parade (Outro)

Reviewed by on January 8, 2010

"Nocturnal Rites has created a heavenly piece of power metal with 'The 8th Sin.'"

Many power metal acts are guilty of two sins. The first is prizing technicality over that elusive quality known as "rocking." The second is excessive nostalgia for the days of Dio and early Iron Maiden that result in a stale, dated sound.

Those two sins are refreshingly absent from Nocturnal Rites' "The 8th Sin," which melds the heavier sounds of thrash and modern production techniques and sounds to the guitar wizardry and near-operatic vocals of power metal with superb effect. Given that the band came out of guitarist Fredrik Mannberg's death metal outfit Necromonic in the early 1990s, it's not surprising that heavier sounds make their way into the music.

Take for example the opening track, "Call Out To The World," which begins with thrashy sounds that never completely give way to the lush vocals by Jonny Lindqvist. Some backing keyboards add a symphonic feel, but never at the expense of the rock groove. Then, when Nils Norberg busts out the guitar solo, it's a revelation in the ability to combine technical fireworks with melody.

"Never Again" incorporates a hint of techno into the proceedings to great effect in the opening, with some good work done to Lindqvist's vocals. Just a few production tricks turn what would've otherwise been a traditional power metal track into something with a modern edge. Sure, a few tracks like "Not The Only" and "Leave Me Alone" tread more traditional power metal ground. Still, they pack a symphonic heft that distinguishes them from the rest of the pack.

The one bad track on the album is "Me," a piano ballad that goes nowhere. It fails even as a showcase for Lindqvist's considerable vocal prowess. Still, the two tracks that follow it, the aggressive "Pain & Pleasure" and the excellent instrumental "Fool's Parade (Outro)," are more than enough to make up for that momentary lapse.

The production on this disc is nearly perfect. It has a lush sound that, when enjoyed on a high-end stereo system, will blow your mind. Unfortunately, this album is likely to be the last we'll hear from this incarnation of Nocturnal Rites. Lead guitarist Nils Norberg, who added much by way of his solos, which ranged from bluesy to hyper-technical shredding, has left the band. Still, if this was his last album with the band, it was one hell of a note to go out on.

Nocturnal Rites has created a heavenly piece of power metal with "The 8th Sin." It's heavy, melodic and almost never forgets that metal's primary purpose isn't to amaze you with its virtuosity, it's to rock your socks off.

Highs: Plenty of them, but "Call Out To The World" and "Fool's Parade (Outro)" stand out.

Lows: The piano ballad "Me."

Bottom line: A superb power metal offering that mixes in modern production touches and hints of heavier metal genres.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)