Released: 2008, Laser's Edge
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.