Released: 2005, Century Media
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Nocturnal Rites celebrates 10 years as a band and this double disc album includes the first two albums made by the band as well as bonus material.
The first album is the debut IN A TIME OF BLOOD AND FIRE from 95 that was released in a limited version when it came. On this album you can clearly hear the band first trembling step on where they were headed at that time. Already back then you could hear that the guys were skilled and that they had great feeling for melodies and well written material because already hear we find the catchy refrain and hooks as today only a bit more melodic. It looks like they have really taken in the sound of Axel Rudi Pell and Yngwie Malmsteen.
The production is pretty weak to say the least and their first singer Andreas Zackrisson doesn’t make a good impression at all. As bonus material on the first album they have added two re-recordings of two older tracks with their current line up. The songs are “In a time of blood and fire” and “Winds of death” which are featured not only as re-recordings but as exclusive new semi-acoustic versions. The Japanese bonus track is called “Lay of Ennui”.
The next album marked a change of label and was released in 1997 by the name of TALES OF MYSETRY AND IMAGINATION and it was on this album the first member changes took place. The rhythm guitar player Mikael left and in came Nils instead.
This album is just a raw and unpolished as the previous one and it sounds like they have glanced more on Iron Maiden because the music is more traditional heavy metal. Also this production is below all standards, it sounds thin and weak but also charming if you keep in mind that this is, today, one of Sweden’s biggest power metal bands. The singer Anders have a way too poor voice to make the material justice and the difference between him and the current vocalist Jonny are like night and day.
The second album had some great material straight through and you can notice that their musical development is turning into the right direction.
The second album has 13 tracks and this time is the Japanese bonus track called “Living for today”.
As more bonus material the bass player Nils has written liner notes about how this band was started and it’s quite fun to read what happened to the band when they first started out. Another bonus feature is the original cover artwork to both albums. Nils also says “This is honest young and genuine metal. Nothing but pure love for the music”.
If you’re going to invest in this album you sure gets lots of music and fun reading for your money and I only salute this band and hoping for another decade of fine power metal of best brand.