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Nightmare - "Insurrection" (CD)

Nightmare - "Insurrection" CD cover image

"Insurrection" track listing:

1. Eternal Winter (5:09)
2. The Gospel Of Judas (4:14)
3. Insurrection (4:56)
4. Legions Of The Rising Sun (5:01)
5. Three Miles Island (8:44)
6. Mirrors Of Damnation (5:25)
7. Decameron (4:51)
8. Target For Revenge (6:20)
9. Cosa Nostra (Part I- The Light) (5:20)
10. Angels Of Glass (4:19)

Reviewed by on March 20, 2010

"Aside from the bass and hit and miss vocals the album is mostly rote power metal."

Nightmare was formed in 1979. That’s right, 30 years ago. Started as a straight up heavy metal band in the Priest-Maiden vein, the band didn’t have the right magic and by 1987 they were belly up. Reformed in 1999, Nightmare got its first big break as an opening act for Def Leppard. Tours with Blind Guardian, Saxon, and Grave Digger followed over the next few years, and Nightmare managed to build enough of a following to avoid going belly up twice. Now out with their eighth full-length since 1999’s reformation, “Insurrection” is a standard chunk of power metal that has just enough unique characteristics to avoid being a total loss.

The first thing that stands out is Jo Amore’s vocals. Alternating between his best Rob Halford impression and a gravelly mid-range half growl, Amore is always front and center when he sings on “Insurrection,” and thus carries much of the burden. The Halford-style shrieks and barks don’t fit his style and lets the band down, but the gravelly delivery picks it back up again. The title track features mostly falsettos and long held notes, but when Amore drops into a growl for brief moments the song shines. “Eternal Winter” and “Legions of the Rising Sun” also find Amore in his natural growling habitat with good results.

Bassist Yves Campion delivers the best performance on the album by far. His lines are muscular and full of meat without overstepping his supporting role, and he easily rumbles the floor through even small laptop speakers, not to mention larger floor models. The best songs – “Eternal Winter,” “The Gospel of Judas,” “Decameron” – are the ones where Campion’s bass is brought farther up in the mix so it can do more than just hang out with drummer David Amore in the back.

But aside from the bass and hit and miss vocals the album is mostly rote power metal. Album epic and supposed high-point “Three Miles Island” is really just a foothill plateau and should have been half as long. The back half of the album, outside of “Decameron,” is filler. Nightmare just doesn’t have enough good riffs and melodies to make it all fly at once. Ballad “Target for Revenge” is saccharine junk while “Cosa Nostra” is a thrash bridge to nowhere. “Angels of Glass” is broken by lots of misplaced kick drumming and backing vocals.

Resiliency is an admirable quality, and after 30 years, a 12 year hiatus and a drummer taking the mic stand for the good of the team, Nightmare has survived and carved their niche in the European power metal arena. Solid, competent, tight - these are all good traits, and Nightmare has these in spades as well. The one thing they are missing is the one thing power metal bands love to sing about – inspiration.

Highs: Campion’s bass combines with Amore’s gravelly vocals on great songs like “Eternal Winter” and “Decameron.”

Lows: “Target for Revenge” may be one of the ten worst songs of the year.

Bottom line: They have good highs, but Nightmare doesn’t have the inspiration to maintain their best form for the entire album.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)