As a reviewer I have to be open to all kinds of rock and metal music, but underneath my reviewer’s mask I am a normal person and just like any other normal person, I have my favourite genres. For any of you that know me, thrash is one such favourite genre but, and maybe not so obviously, so is power metal and when the band, Nightmare, came up on our roster for review, I knew I absolutely had to do it.
Having first heard them on the album “Cosmovision” I have since acquired the back catalogue and have not been disappointed with anything they have done.
That, however, does not mean that I went into this review with my eyes shut, blindly liking everything just because of what they have previously done. That is not what reviewing is about. And besides, there have been some huge line-up changes for this album that could have totally altered their whole sound from anything they have ever done.
But let’s start at the beginning… Formed in the French town of Grenoble in 1979, Nightmare were pioneers in the French heavy metal scene and they released their debut album “Waiting for Twilight” in 1984, with their second, “Power of the Universe”, released in 1985.
And then they disappeared! For fourteen years!
They burst back onto the scene in 1999 with their album “Astral Deliverance” and followed up with a further 8 albums, along with a few line-up changes but in October 2015 they announced their biggest personnel change to date, the additions of powerhouse vocalist Maggie Luyten (Beautiful Sin, Beyond the Bridge, ex-Ayreon) and drummer Olivier Casla (Sandragon, ex-Thalidomide, The Seven Gates)
Arranged in France by producer Patrick Liotard, “Dead Sun” was produced and mixed at Sandlane Studios in the Netherlands by Joost van den Broek and recorded at Noise Factory Studio in Belgium with Gerald Jans behind the desk and is the band’s tenth release.
Having previously been heavily influenced by the NWOBHM sound, this could be classed as their heaviest release to date, leaning towards the heavier, more aggressive side of power metal and the addition of Luyten on vocals has only added to this transition.
Her voice is powerful and rocking, fitting this style of metal almost perfectly. She sings melodically, harmonising fantastically with the backing vocals, her sound strong and clean. But don’t let that fool you. This lady can deliver the grunts and growls along with the best of the female metal singers and I would place her up there with the likes of Veronica Freeman of Benedictum and Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy.
When I first started listening to this album I posted a Facebook status saying “Whoever said women have no place as the singer of a heavy metal band, after hearing the performance of Maggy Luyten on the new Nightmare album, I beg to differ! Outstanding!” Those are words I still stand by. This lady is awesome, amazing and a true talent.
The album opens with an atmospheric instrumental intro to the infectious “Infected” before the riffs are unleashed and the song is launched into a tirade of guitars and drums. This is a great opener and sets the very high precedent for the rest of the album….and it does not let you down. Track after track provide you with an aural onslaught that will have you banging your head the whole way through.
I’ve previously stated in my reviews that two aspects of heavy metal that I absolutely adore are double kicking drums and galloping riffs…..and this album had both!! You know those sort of riffs that you can feel in your belly before they hit your ears, the drumming sounds that launch you into full blown air guitar mode.
This is a band that are capable and eager to move on and grow after big line-up changes, and what bigger line-up change can you have than transitioning from a male to female vocalist? This is something that has been accomplished in the past by bands such as Arch Enemy and The Gathering, and it has been done just as well this time round. The band have re-invented themselves with their own unique sound and identity and there is more power and variation than ever before.
So, albeit with a little bit thrash, a little bit of doom and a children’s choir thrown in, this is a full on metal album from start to finish, and is still very much a power metal album, just roughed up a little!
This is a must for any Nightmare fan, new or old, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed with it. So grab yourself a copy, turn the volume up to eleven and spend just under 55 minutes rocking out to one of the best albums around!
WE ARE INFECTED!!
2. Of Sleepless Mind
3. Tangled in the Roots
4. Red Marble & Gold
7. Dead Sun
8. Seeds of Agony
9. Inner Sanctum
11. Starry Skies Gone Black
Maggy Luyten – Vocals
Franck Milleliri – Guitars
Matt Asselberghs – Guitars
Yves Campion – Bass, Vocals (backing)
Olivier “Piv” Casula – Drums
Originally posted on Ever Metal
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