A few things have changed for NIGHTRAGE since the band’s last release, “Descent Into Chaos”. Gone is vocal legend Tomas Lindberg, replaced by the (mostly) unknown Jimmie Strimell. Also exited is guitar-hero Gus G., his spot left unfilled for the recording of the band’s latest. And last, the band no longer resides on Century Media’s roster, instead calling up-and-coming Lifeforce their new home. So what does that mean for “A New Disease Is Born”, NIGHTRAGE’s third full-lengther? Read on…
It becomes evident within the first two tracks that NIGHTRAGE has taken a small step backwards in the aggression and abrasion department. The songs on “A New Disease Is Born” are immediately catchier and easier on the ears than the band’s first two releases. This, at least in part, is due to Strimell’s vocals being less scathing/grating as Lindberg’s. However, there’s also a trend followed on A New Disease Is Born” that may make many of the band’s fans cringe…the use of clean vocals on nearly every track. Not ever going into SOILWORK’s “let’s have huge choruses on every track” territory, the clean vocals are still there in rather large quantities.
But it’s not just the vocals that have become more user friendly, as the rest of NIGHTRAGE have also drifted that direction. Leads, solos and, well, all guitar parts are handled solely by band founder Marios Iliopoulos. While his playing is certainly impressive, it would seem that he’s been listening to a lot more of IN FLAMES’ “Colony” than AT THE GATES’ “Slaughter Of The Soul”. The inclusion of the occasional breakdown also feels out of place (see the end of “Scathing”), even if they are never as blatant as those found in Metalcore. It seems by looking around the web that many reviewers/fans are calling Alex Svenningson’s drumming the highlight of the album, but to this reviewers ears, it doesn’t rise above any other band of the genre. But I’m no drum expert.
Whether or not “A New Disease Is Born” is for you will depend solely on your opinion of standard fare Melodic Death Metal. If the thought of clean vocals in anything label “Death Metal” turns you off, then avoid this album. However, if you dig accessible, yet still aggressive Metal that manages to avoid most commercial trappings/pitfalls, give “A New Disease Is Born” a chance. With their third album NIGHTRAGE won’t blow your head off, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.
(Online May 24, 2007)