There is a new vocalist in the camp of NOCTURNAL RITES and I have to say that this change has been only to the better. No, I don't want to say that Andreas Zackrisson were a bad vocalist, no, wuite the contrary, but Jonny Lindkvist just has THE voice that the band just needed and surely will promote them to the first division.
But let's start at the beginning. NOCTURNAL RITES had been criticised for sounding more like HAMMERFALL than HAMMERFALL, especially with their last album "The Sacred Talisman". These accusations should have an end now, because Lindkvist's voice is deeper and rougher, giving the powerful compositions its own touch, which should really be mentioned. Also the RIOT-list, which already had been there on "Tales Of Mystery And Imagination" (but apparently nobody apart from myself noticed) has re-surfaced again, so the opening title-track could almost be labelled RIOT on speed, powerful and fast, with great vocals, very good!
"Wake Up Dead" is a bit slower, but again the great vocal performance catches your ear. With "The Sign" the tempo is reduced even more, but the power still is there and while "Temple Of The Dead" is a double-bass-driven grenade again, "Hellenium" contains some foreign influences, which are integrated in the overall sound expertly.
So you have to conclude that NOCTURNAL RITES have made a big step forward with "Afterlife", which should finally yield the acceptance to the Power Metal-top-flight!