Released: 2004, Nightmare Records
Moonlight Agony are newcomers to the Swedish power metal scene, bringing a more progressive slant to their music. Though that isn’t necessarily anything new, the band does carry one ace in the hole – vocalist Chitral Sompala who some of you might recognize as the new voice of Gus G.’s band, Firewind. Sompala opened a lot of eyes with his vocal display on FORGED IN FIRE, and he brings the same prowess to his role in Moonlight Agony. Another plus in the band’s favor is the fact that they corralled Evergrey’s Tom Englund to both produce the album, and add a guest guitar solo on “Equilibrium”. His wife, Carina, also appears as a guest vocalist on “Icy Plains”.
So now that we know that the band definitely has the pedigree, the question is, how well do all of these parts come together? For the most part the answer is, masterfully. For a debut album, ECHOES OF A NIGHTMARE is both produced well, and performed like veterans. Pounding power metal rolls full steam ahead from minute one of “Into Darkness”, and the band proves that they can easily handle the task of keeping such a stale genre interesting for the length of the disc. Progressive verses give way to glorious choruses (“Ceremony” and “Ghost” are easily the best in this regard), and each member of the band proves that he could easily handle himself as a hired gun for Yngwie.
Though the band relies a bit too heavily on the standard conventions of power metal at times, overall the ride feels somewhat refreshing, like they are breathing new life into this somewhat stale genre. ECHOES OF A NIGHTMARE is an excellent debut that shows great potential for the future.