Released: 2004, Century Media
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
It’s time for Nightrage to follow up their last effort from '03, which was their debut titled SWEET VENGEANCE. The band leader, Marios, has made some changes in the line up. His Greek friend Gus G (ex Dream Evil, Firewind) is still in the band, as is the Swedish singer and legend Tompa Lindberg (ex At the Gates etc). The new drummer is ex ‘Septic Flesh’ member, Fotis, and on bass we have Henrik from ‘Cipher System’. On the debut we had Per M Jensen from ‘The Haunted’ on drums, and Brice Leclerq from France on bass; he’s now joined with Dissection. These switches were to be made in order for Nightrage to go out on the road, and now it seems as if this Greek Swede combination could be steady. Marios has already been out on the road, but at that point he was session bassist for the young Swedish band, ‘The Forsaken’, on their European tour early last year.
Nightrage still deliver melodic death metal with an advanced, uncompromising, and focused attitude. They still have the heavy metal influences intact, and most important, they still have the twin guitar work between Marios and Gus G. You can’t ignore the fact that Nightrage is a super group, no matter how you look at.
Many people were surprised by the debut when it came in '03 because of its greatness, and how it received great reviews everywhere you looked. Marios really showed that he knew how to deliver brilliant, melodic death metal and some might say that Nightrage really shocked the metal scenes over the world.
They haven’t done so many live shows; they did their live premier at Göteborgs Kalaset (a festival in Gothenburg), and then Marios had Nick Baker (ex Cradle of Filth, ex Dimmu Borgir) with him on drums. I also know that they had done a gig in London at the end of last year, but besides that, I’m not aware of any other shows they have done.
The art work on the cover is done by Greek artist, Set <’H>, and he has done a killer job, ‘cause the cover really says what the album is all about. The producer seems to be Patrik J Sten (Transport League, Passenger), and the studio they’ve used is the famous ‘Studio Fredman’ in Gothenburg, Sweden. The production sounds, if possible, even more raw/harder, and aggressive than before. This is surely melodic death metal of world class. Marios and Gus have a big part in the sound picture with their stunning guitar work, but Tompa also has enough space for the audience to hear him loud and clear. There aren’t any signs of tiredness in Tompa’s angry, lead vocals, and he sounds just as brilliant as ever.
Tom S. Englund from ‘Evergrey’ stood in for the clean vocals on the debut; now we have Mikael Stanne from ‘Dark Tranquility’ on that department. There are only clean vocals on one song; “Frozen” which personally, I think that is too bad. Reason being, Mikael’s clean vocals sound amazing when you put it with Tompa’s angry voice. It says that there are keyboards used, played by Fredrik Nordström (the owner of Studio Fredman), but I can’t hear it.
Marios and the guys run through 12 tracks, one being an instrumental titled “SOLUS”. The speed is quite fast with the album stopping at forty-three minutes.
“Being Nothing”, “Descent into Chaos”, “Drug”, “Omen”, and “Reality Vs. Truth” are a couple of straight in your face death metal tracks, without any slower passages whatsoever. Tompa, Gus, and Marios have the biggest part of the sound picture. Tompa spits out the lyrics in a raging speed and Fotis has a lot to do behind the drums. “Phantasma”, “Poems”, “Silent Solitude”, “Release” and “Jubilant Cry” are a few more melodic, death metal tracks; that contain a lot of tempo changes and twin guitar work by Marios and Gus. “Frozen” is also a melodic, death metal track on semi speed; the cooperation between Tompa and Mikael really adds depth to the track. “Solus” is the instrumental track, also being a very slow song. It is within this song, that I actually here the keyboard play; the song being all about Marios and Gus showing off their skills on guitar.
Nightrage have delivered another brilliant album; this time a little harder, brutal, faster, and angrier compared to the debut. The material is stunning and Tompa does an enormous effort, taking the album to another level with his impressive voice. The only minor problem I have, is the instrumental track, otherwise this album is one of the best so far this year. The debut got 5 of 5; it’s only to surrender another time for Marios and Nightrage. The people who get the album are not gonna be disappointed on “DESCENT INTO CHAOS”, I can truly say. I can’t pick any particular favorite track ‘cause they all are outstanding; the only one that doesn’t make the cut, being the instrumental.
I really hope that Nightrage are headed out on tour very soon, so we can have an opportunity to catch them live.