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Time Mage - "Nightmares" (CD)

Time Mage - "Nightmares" CD cover image

"Nightmares" track listing:

1. Dreams Become Nightmares
2. Save Us
3. Duality Of Mind
4. Utopian Wilderness
5. Nights Of Inguma
6. Fading Away
7. Born To Be
8. When The Last Dreams Dies
9. Succubus
10. Oceans Of Fire
11. Follow The Rats
12. Social Disorder
13. Believe

Reviewed by on August 26, 2009

"Germany’s Time Mage has hit at the power metal world with “Nightmares,” but unfortunately fails to deliver a heavy blow."

Germany’s Time Mage has hit at the power metal world with “Nightmares,” but unfortunately fails to deliver a heavy blow. With “Nightmares,” the overall feel is one of hit-or-miss. For melodic power metal of the Sonata Arctica/Six Magics breed, utilizing driving drum-guitar coordination and piano to move the music along, Time Mage lacks not in effort, but in actual delivery. The energy is pretty high, especially with the vocals, but the overall delivery makes this album feel like a lackluster knockoff of other albums in the genre.

Time Mage starts off this 2006 release with “Dreams Became Nightmares,” which builds up through a vocal interlude and into a heavy section, welcoming the lyrical theme of corruption. Sadly, this song and the next track, “Save Us,” are probably the only songs with noteworthy backing instrumentation as far as synthesized symphonic elements go. The male vocals in “Save Us,” when utilizing growling and quick shouting or using the shaky and heavily accented English lyrics, come off as forced and awkward. The vocalist lacks nothing in the area of energy, but the final product sounds faux-aggressive and overdone.

Throughout the album, the guitar work and synthesizer backing follow each other pretty closely through some occasionally interesting passages. A lot of the music does sound like it’s been done before, and better, by other bands. The piano parts have the best melodic ideas out of the instruments on the album. Luckily, these piano parts are everywhere on this album, though they don’t quite make up for the other problems of the album. The drums are the most glaring problem, as if the band programmed them straight from Garage Band or MIDI and made no attempt at getting the drums to at least sound real. The music fails to be exciting and all attempts at dramatic buildup fail due to this pitiful drum sound.

The feel of the album is that of a mediocre power metal effort infused with the production and vocal feel of early Septic Flesh recordings. In short, “Nightmares” comes off as rather pretentious and lacks the necessary force to ensnare listeners and assure repeated listens. Some of the melodic ideas conceived and developed on this album are good starts and hold potential, but are ultimately held back by the other elements of the music.

Highs: Occasional good melodic ideas, piano, and organized song structures.

Lows: Atrocious programmed drums, odd attempts at "aggressive" vocal styles, and a lack of anything memorable.

Bottom line: With shaky English lyrics, awkwardly bland programmed drums, and questionable vocal talent, the guitars and piano just don’t save this album from being merely listenable.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 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)