Nightmare - The Aftermath - (8.5/10)
Published on June 3, 2014
French Grenoble’s Nightmare are probably one of the most successful comebacks of an old 80’s band out there. Not necessarily commercially, but from a musical standpoint for sure. Having started out as a traditional metal band back in the 80s, they released two albums before splitting up in 1987, returning 12 years later with former drummer Jo Amore on the microphone now and this was one of the best moves I have seen. I am not sure what happened for this rather unusual move, but Jo without a doubt is one of Nightmare’s lynchpins in making the Frenchies’ sound pretty much unique with his characteristic rough-ish yet melodic voice. Their comeback trio of Cosmovision, Silent Room and The Dominion Gate are all masterpieces of dark power metal. Now they are back with their ninth effort The Aftermath and the quintet is still going strong!
The main trademarks of Nightmare’s sound, other than Jo’s voice obviously, are the often dark, brooding atmosphere, the very catchy choruses and the surprisingly heavy riffing. Throughout the years the band also has managed to successfully translate its own trademarks into a modern sound without losing any relevance or tradition, which is no small feat, and with The Aftermath they also are managing to get back into my good books, since the three previous albums had been a little hit and miss with me, at least partially due to them going down a more progressive oriented path.
On the new one they are back playing out their biggest strengths again, gone is the progressiveness (don’t get me wrong, there still is plenty of variety to be found on The Aftermath) and we get the power, the atmosphere and the catchiness that we had grown to love throughout the years. Straight and dark, such as opening duo “Bringers of a No Man’s Land” and “Forbidden Tribe”, fast and heavy as “Necromancer”, “I Am Immortal” and “Ghost in the Mirror” or even darker and brooding, such as “The Bridge is Burning” with its surprising piano and violin breakdown in the middle, Nightmare run the gamut and deliver one deadly blow after the other. There is just one song that sits in the middle of the album and stands out like a sore thumb, “Digital D.N.A.”. It lacks flow, the vocals in the verse sound forced and pressed and it just brings things to a screeching halt, but thankfully it is just one track, which can easily be skipped.
Nightmare will probably never make the big commercial breakthrough, for that their atmosphere is too dark, the riffing is too heavy and/or Jo’s voice is not smooth (or rough) enough, but that does not stop this band (or their label) to continue pounding out quality material without sacrificing its very own sound and I just have to commend them for it. The Aftermath is a prime example for dark and original power metal that does not need gimmicks or flashiness to succeed. Il est bien fait, messieurs!