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Nation Beyond
The Aftermath Odyssey
January 2008
Released: 2007, Burning Star Records/Sound Pollution
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Nation Beyond was born when friends Jonas Karlgren (Debase) and Joakim Hedestedt (Face Down) wanted to do something together outside of their main bands. The plan was to do a big epic concept album with classical instrumental arrangements and additional professional choirs. To add the right flavor they incorporated musicians from the southern parts of Sweden like Jonas Debase’s colleague Johan Helgesson on drums and Micko Tweedberg on guitar with the vocals sung by Nielz and Sara.

For some strange reasons the bio claims that this is melodic power metal when it’s in fact a dark and mystical progressive/symphonic metal with epic choirs and huge orchestral parts. Similar bands include Evergrey, Savatage and Queensryche. There are some influences of Debase here and there when it comes to the guitar riffs and the music, but that’s not surprising since three Debase members are in the band.

There are 13 tracks on the album including an intro. The song “Soulmates” is featured twice; once as a studio version and once as a radio-edited version. It’s a theme album about a tale of love, hate and betrayal in a dark and dreadful future: the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. I don’t have any lyrics and I don’t need any either because the music can hold its own. And even though I’m pretty tired of concept and theme albums, this one has something extra that takes you for a ride. It was a smart move to let Nielz and Sara share vocals; they match each other perfectly and have a real intensity and nerve in every song they sing both together and on their own.

The only thing they could have narrowed down is the many orchestral parts. They have overdosed on strings and choirs. The disc is a little too long as well and they could have benefitted from taking away one or two songs.

THE AFTERMATH ODYSSEY is one of those albums from which it’s hard to pick any favorite songs. The material is really consistent and when the album is over you can’t wait to listen to it again. It’s worth taking a closer look at Nation Beyond’s debut album. If the band is gonna continue releasing discs of this caliber then I definitely have a new favorite act.
Track Listing

1. The End (intro)
2. A Rainy Day In Hell
3. In the Ashes
4. The Wanderer
5. New Eden City
6. The Council
7. Soulmates
8. Last Deceiver
9. Confession
10. War of the Wastelands
11. Aftermath
12. Point Zero
13. Soulmates (Radio Edit)

Lineup

Jonas – guitar, keyboards
Micko – guitar, sampler
Nielz – lead vocals
Sara – lead vocals
John – drums
Joakim – bass


Next review: » Nation Beyond - The Aftermath Odyssey
Previous review: » Nasty Tendency - Hello Suckers!

Nation Beyond
The Aftermath Odyssey
August 2008
Released: 2008, Laser's Edge
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Waspman

The power metal boom of the late ‘90s has obviously died down, but that hasn’t stopped a slew of bands releasing what seems like hundreds of ‘80s-influenced, Hammerfall rip-off albums each year. Thankfully, there are still some bands that try and bring something new to the table. Take Sweden’s Nation Beyond for example. Initially formed as a project for members of Face Down and Debase, the group has blossomed into a fully formed band, worthy of notice.

Make no mistake – you will hear nothing new on this disc. This is pure progressive-tinged power metal, played like its 1988 (or 1997 – whichever your preferred era is), but done with such conviction that I don’t mind at all. A post apocalyptic concept album, THE AFTERMATH ODYSSEY goes to all the right places, lead by the thespian pipes of newcomer Nielz Lindstrom. His powerful vocals tell a tragic story, and are perfectly matched by the melodic metal of the band. Yes, there are moments of smothering cheese (take the spoken word interlude in “New Eden City” for example), but all in all, the band capably mixes the progressive songs with more aggressive moments (“The Last Deceiver”).

As you might expect, the band has a cringe-worthy ballad, sticking out like a sore thumb in the middle of the album. Yes, “SoulMates” is as sappy as its long line of power metal predecessors, which is unfortunate, as this song and “Confessions” are the only places where Sara Heurlin gets to shine. Her vocals are just as powerful as Lindstrom’s and it’s a shame she isn’t used more.

Overall, Nation Beyond have shown they are a worthy addition to the ever-crowded power metal genre. They won’t set your world on fire but if you are a fan of this style, they deserve a look.
Track Listing

1) In the End
2) A Rainy Day in Hell
3) In the Ashes
4) The Wanderer
5) New Eden City
6) The Council
7) SoulMates
8) The Last Deceiver
9) Confessions
10) War of the Wasteland
11) Aftermath
12) Point Zero

Lineup

Jonas Karlgren: Guitar, Keyboards
Joakim Hedestedt: Bass
Nielz Lindstrom: Vocals
Johan Helgesson: Drums
Micko Twedberg: Guitar
Sara Heurlin: Guest Vocals


Next review: » National Napalm Syndicate - 4-SONG PROMO 2003
Previous review: » Nasty Tendency - Hello Suckers!





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