Released: 2012, Iron On Iron Records
Flying the flag for Greek metal is Dark Nightmare’s newest release, BENEATH THE VEILS OF WINTER. Formed in 1999, the band has been toiling away in relative obscurity for much of the world, while remaining a popular draw at home and cutting their teeth through relentless touring supporting some legendary metal bands, like Manilla Road. The hard work as paid off, as this is the band’s second full length album and it is simply fantastic. Dark Nightmare has locked down an epic power metal style that I have always enjoyed, but most importantly their influences do not overshadow their own unique style.
Somewhat surprisingly, the opening track “The Battlefield Calling My Name” is instrumental for the first 3 minutes, and not particularly exciting. However, when things kick in all is forgiven, the band combining epic elements of Virgin Steele with the riffing power of early Hammerfall. Singer Giannis Papadimitriou is amazing, gifted with incredible range and power. He delivers each song with passion infused with his own style and distinctive voice that soars over galloping riffs that gleefully charge into the fray. The riffs are likewise done by Giannis, who handles all of the guitar work with deft precision and fiery, melodic lead work that reminds me of Labyrinth in places. There are no weak links here, with every member of the band contributing to the memorable songs and music on this album.
The album concludes with the welcome and fitting mellow music of Uriah Heep’s “The Wizard”, a faithful tribute to the original delivered with just the right amount of crunch when the song kicks in, as bass player Nick Mihalakakos expertly helps push things along. Other highlights would include “The Voyage” and “Sometimes”, while “Tears” is an acoustic ballad that is well done but a bit too mellow. Overall, Dark Nightmare utilizes the acoustic guitar frequently to complement the muscular riffs and classic power metal style that is present through most of the albums. The keyboards likewise play an important part, without being overblown they fit in as a supplement to the overall feel of the songs.
The end result is an excellent power metal album that proudly continues the fine tradition of musicianship in the genre, while being a bit more muscular than some power metal bands. I have nothing but praise for the BENEATH THE VEILS OF WINTER and the band definitely deserves wider recognition. Fans of Manowar, Hammerfall, Virgin Steele, and Labyrinth will almost certainly want to check out this promising and talented band.