Highly polished modern metal
France's Nightmare has been pounding metal's backstreets since 1979, arguably the most under-utilized band in the entire European scene. The group has released seven albums since 1984 and made the venture to several different labels. The group now lands on what should be their best home to date in AFM Records. The German label specializes in this sort of modern power metal vehicle, catering to the Nostradamus, Mob Rules and U.D.Os of the world and pleasing fans of Dungeons, Dragons and Harry Potter along the way. I shouldn't be so hard on Euro power as there is some really great acts including Nightmare. I've always enjoyed the group's offerings and for the most part the band just gets better and better on each album.
The group have reached the upper tiers alongside Gamma Ray (this album is miles better than the recent 'Ray record), Primal Fear and Brainstorm in terms of overall quality. The French act still gets the snub-nose by most close-knit metal fans as well as underground media channels. This new album, "Insurrection" (silly name) is highly polished modern metal that gets a great sound check via Achim Kohler (Masterplan, Rage). I've always been fond of Kohler's gleaming guitar sound and rather crystal clear battery and he brings those arrangements to Nightmare's record. Hopefully the band's new label, this great album and the fact that the group just beats on the door year after year should increase their appeal.
"The Gospel Of Judas" and "Cosa Nostra" are just Earth pounding power rippers similar to Annihilator. The power metal chords are straight galloping riffs with a big epic chorus sound. The mid-temp style works well with Jo Amore's vocal style, his pipes sounding a bit like Scorpions' singer Klaus Meine. Amore and the producer put together a mix of rough and clean layering which definitely helps to spice up the verse bits. I love the melodic speedy guitar ala Running Wild on "Mirrors Of Damnation" as well as the big falsetto fast-track on "Insurrection". The group throw a nice ballad in with a sweeping Blind Guardian styled sing along. My favorite cut is the opener "Eternal Winter" with a big catchy groove riff that reminds me of mid-era Iced Earth.
Bottom Line - This should appeal to fans of Eldritch, Brainstorm and Cryonic Temple.