Released: 2004, Century Media
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Jonny, Fredrik, Nils, Owe, and Nils are back with a new album. Once again they show how real power metal should be played. They have also had a member change - Mattias on keyboard has apparently left. Nocturnal Rites comes from a town very far up north in Sweden called Umeå. This northern city is also home to bands like Naglfar, Meshuggah and Refused. Nocturnal Rites has been going for quite a while. Their debut came out in 1995.
Now they are about to follow up their previous album (SHADOWLAND) from 2002 with this new 6th album. During 2003 Nocturnal Rites were busy as support to the heavy metal legends Saxon on their European tour. They were also in Japan with HammerFall supporting SHADOWLAND. During this they somehow found the time to write material to NEW WORLD MESSIAH. SHADOWLAND was recorded in Uppsala, Sweden in Daniel Bergstrands famous studio Dug-Out Studios. Now they have returned to their hometown to record their new album. For the first time they left Sweden to do the mixing and mastering in Finland at Finnvox Studio. T.T Oksala did the mixing and the mastering was done by Minerva Pappi. The sound is softer and warmer this time. They have left the harder and rawer sounds of the previous albums behind on this one.
As on the previous albums, Jonny’s voice is very impressive. He has a broad vocal range. Fredrik and Nils have a nice twin guitar playing going on. This is exactly how real power metal should be played. The guys are technical in their playing style. “NEW WORLD MESSIAH” kicks off the album. It starts off with a slower intro before the songs hit off and turns into a pure power metal track with a lot of double bass pedals. “AGAINST THE WORLD” is a mid-tempo song that almost can be taken as an up-tempo ballad. Jonny shows the enormous vocal capacity he has and he gets a lot of help in the chorus. Nils shows of his skills on guitar, but even though, this feels like the weakest track on the album. “AVALON”, “AWAKENING”, “BREAK AWAY” and “END OF DAYS” are some pure power metal tracks, Swedish style! These tracks feel energetic and powerful. Some of the songs are very sing a long friendly like “BREAK AWAY” and “EGYPTICA”. The later song is very slow almost close to a ballad and it sounds very Egyptian too. “EGYPTICA” falls a bit out of frame of what the band should sound like I think. “THE FLAME WILL NEVER DIE” starts with a keyboard intro. This is also very close to a ballad. It has a lot of keyboard and Nils has a big part of the sound picture. “ONE NATION” contains a lot of double bass pedals, sharp guitar riffs and Jonny at the top of the mix. This song has a great chorus and it has potential to become a major hit. This is some fast power metal and it sounds extraordinary good. “NIGHTMARE” is again a mid tempo song with Jonny at the top of the mix with a lot of tempo changes throughout the song.
Nocturnal Rites has delivered a strong album, there’s nothing much to complain about at all. There are many strong songs on the album like “NEW WORLD MESSIAH”; “AVALON”; “BREAK AWAY”; “ONE NATION” and “THE FLAME WILL NEVER DIE”. The cover is especially nice looking as well. Some of the minor things are that the production sounds too warm when compared to their previous album. Also, some of the songs feel a little weaker than the rest of the material. I think that “SHADOWLAND” felt just a bit stronger than this album.
For all of you who like power metal, you should absolutely take a closer look at this Swedish band!