Released: 2004, AFM Records / Sound Pollution
Nostradameus are a Swedish band based in Gothenburg that are led by the singer Freddy Persson and the guitar player Jake Fredén. Nostradameus works really fast. Their debut WORDS OF NOSTRADAMEUS came in 2000 and the year after came the follow up PROPHET OF EVIL. In 2003 it was time for their third album THE THIRD PROPHECY and now it’s time for their fourth album HELLBOUND. The guys have also done a lot of touring like a European tour with Edguy and they have also toured with HammerFall and Masterplan. In addition they have done some festival shows like Wacken Open Air. They have also been support to the legendary U.D.O on his tour earlier during 2004.
Now it’s time for their fourth album and according to the info note the guys have “found their own sound with modern and heavy guitar riffs spiced up with melodic licks and leads which crush on aggressive but altogether still melodic vocal and hooklines”. Another quote from the bio says “no need to say, but HELLBOUND will attract fans of traditional metal as well fans of modern, more aggressive oriented metal sounds”.
If you have read so far in the review you ought to have a pretty good picture of what they’re playing I think. If they have been support to both Edguy and HammerFall you should have guessed by now that Nostradameus plays power metal. I would describe this as somewhat harder traditional power metal though with a bit more harder riffing guitars compared to HammerFall. I think that HELLBOUND will attract mostly fans of power metal. Those of you who are into more harder metal should not buy this.
The music is technically played with a lot of sharp guitar riffs and lead vocals in focus. Luckily they haven’t relied on keyboard, which is only a positive thing I think. The music is filled with hammering and pounding drums, edgy guitars and heavy bass play. Another very positive thing is the lack of ballads, although there are some more melodic parts sometimes. They have totally left out the boring ballads. If you want a harder HammerFall, this band should definitely be something for you.
The guys have used Roastinghouse Studio and the producer Anders “Theo” Theander on this album. I had my doubt on how the production would sound when I read that the album was produced by Theander, but to my surprise he has done a pretty good job this time. Otherwise Theander should stay away from producing anything harder than melodic hard rock because he can’t make do harder music justice. But when it’s come to melodic hard rock he does pretty good and now surprisingly also power metal. He has managed to create a heavy production with lead vocals and riffing guitars at the top of the mix along with pounding drums. For once Theander impresses behind the mixing stand. The info note claims that Theander “managed to achieve a powerful yet well balanced harmonic sound” and for the first time I have to agree when it comes to him.
HELLBOUND includes 10 tracks and the lyrics contain personal experiences and incidents as well as political topics of the current world divided. It’s enough to take a look at the cover artwork to get this message confirmed. As usual, AFM have done a really irritating thing by only featuring two whole songs on this promo, but the rest of the songs are cut down by 15 to 30 seconds each. The songs bleed into each other without any break in between. The two whole songs are“The Reaper’s Image” and “Hellbound”, but they are also featured again and then as a cut down song. Besides that it’s very irritating. It’s hard to make a fair judgement about the songs if you can’t hear them in full. But they have also done the same thing with the new Doro album. AFM is the only company who does this I think. The total amount of playing time is however on 45 minutes.
I haven’t got so many things to complain about here. All of the album is very well played and only by looking at the awesome cover you’ll see what this music is about.