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Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusion - 2006 - Century Media

Track Listing
1. Fools Never Die
2. Never Trust
3. Still Alive
4. Something Undefined
5. Our Wasted Days
6. Cuts Like A Knife
7. End Of Our Rope
8. Never Ending
9. One By One
10. Deliverance
The eighth release from these Swedish power metal heavy hitters! Seven if you do not count “Lost In Time”. Is this the album that will finally put this band over the top? That is the question.

The band was originally formed as Necronomic, a death metal act. Some of the band took death literal, and started acting dead, eventually causing the band to part ways. The two remaining members, vocalist/guitarist Fredrik and drummer Tommy Eriksson added bassist Nils Eriksson. From here, they hit the studio in 1991 to record a demo, known as "Nocturnal Rites". Still a death metal band, they started showing signs of what we now know in 1991. When Tommy Eriksson left the band and was replaced by Ulf Andersson, this prompted the addition of a second guitarist, Mikael Söderström. When they re-entered the studio in 1993, it was clear that the vocal abilities of Fredrick were not evolving with Nocturnal Rites. In steps Anders Zackrisson to save the day. In 1993/1994, the band signed on the dotted line with Dark Age Records, who partnered with Megaforce. The year is 1995 and an impressive debut, "In a Time of Blood and Fire", was released. Before the follow-up CD was complete, Mikael Söderström left, but was replaced by Nils Norberg. Dark Age Records inked a deal with Century Media in 1998, and released the band’s next endeavor, “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”. After a European tour, the guys released “The Sacred Talisman”. Nocturnal Rites then joined Lefay and Nevermore for their first major tour. It was then that Anders Zackrisson parted ways with the band, but quickly Jonny Lindqvist filled the shoes. The Nocturnal Rites of today was born. The players are Jonny Lindkvist (Vocals), Fredrik Mannberg (Guitar), Nils Eriksson (Bass), Nils Norberg (Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer), Owe Lingvall (Drums), and making guest appearances is Mattias Bernhardsson (Keyboards). This has been the lineup since the release of “Afterlife” in 2000, and my advice is stick with what works.

Just starting this CD, one can notice a very power packed and melodic album. The power doesn’t let up, featuring a guitar solo as well as a keyboard solo. Classic I tell you. Can track two fill those large shoes as well? They respond with an astounding yes. There is an Edguy feel, but make no mistake, this is Nocturnal Rites kicking your ass. Track three's intro will take your breath away. They gave it everything they had plus some when they wrote and created this song. To any critic who thought their career was dead, they spit in your face, and make noise doing so. Track four opens with a drum solo and leads into the loudest, heaviest song and best vocals of this masterpiece. I could go track by track, but why? Every track is melodic, yet powerful (and some even add death vocals which is unique to this album). And never fear, each song has a place, there are no filler tracks found here. So just get it, listen to it, and you’ll see that this is their “deal with the devil” album. Warning, be prepared to bang your head until it hurts.

Let me be honest, people have stated that everything after “Shadowland” has become bland and unoriginal, just a clone of “Afterlife”. I say, just step away from the crack pipe. To say this band has no originality left is like saying your shit doesn’t stink. Granted, this is one of the more well-known, yet underrated bands out there, but the feeling this CD leaves is unlike anything that has been done by these guys. A buddy of mine put this CD across my desk and gave me the opportunity to review it, since he knew that I am a huge fan of their work. Thank you, and you know who you are, thank you for making me remember why it is that I love this band. Any fan of metal WILL like this album, I promise. For any newbie to the band, I demand you start with this album. If this is not the album that catapults them to that next level, someone give me a rope and point me towards a tall tree.



--IcedMojo 2.12.06
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: NOCTURNAL RITES
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Grand IllusionNocturnal Rites
2006
Anthony Burke2/18/2006


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