Now I honestly start to grow tired of all these so-called supergroups. Sure, partly the output is according to their status, but still, there are so many hopeful new bands out there, who won't get any or hardly recognition because of them…
But enough of that. NIGHTRAGE is the latest of these supergroups, consisting of Marios Iliopoulos (EXHUMATION), Gus G. (DREAM EVIL, MYSTIC PROPHECY, FIREWIND), Per M. Jensen (THE HAUNTED), so far unknown French bassist Brice Leclercq and vocalists Tomas Lindberg (ex-AT THE GATES and -THE CROWN, now in GREAT DECEIVER and LOCK UP) and Tom Englund (EVERGREY). A classic in the making? Yes and no. First off it does not exactly help that I could not stand Tompa's vocals in AT THE GATES and THE CROWN and this has not changed a thing, to me he has a simply annoying almost hysteric scream that my ears would like to block out, if they could… So, now it is out.
But how is the music? It ranges (I have to measure it up to the names and skills of the band) between brilliant to eh, not bad. The down thing is that the first song, "The Tremor" to me falls into this category, upbeat, energetic, very much focused on Lindberg's voice. Take him out of the equation and we'd have a really good opener. But thank God the other songs leave him out a bit more, focusing a bit more on the music and also the music itself being more variable than that.
"The Glow Of The Setting Sun", for example, following right suit, with highly melodic guitar work, tight and precise drumming, is a damn great song indeed! And on the following "Hero" Tom Englund for the first time lends his unique voice to the mix, unfortunately very (too) short, embedded into a nicely varied Elk-Death track. On "Ethereal" Englund finally comes back and crowns another great track that lives off the melodic guitars and incredibly precise drum work of Per M Jensen.
"Circle Of Pain" then starts out with clean guitar and Tom Englund's vocals, before turning into a great and varied track, where for the first time Lindberg and Englund truly alternate their vocals, to really great effect, if you ask me, the music also is very melodic despite all heaviness, this is definitely one of the brilliant tracks! Also "At The Ends Of The Earth" falls into the almost same category, with both sets of vocals, I love them, before "The Howls Of The Wolves" closes off "Sweet Vengeance" in a calm and instrumental way.
The cover courtesy of Niklas Sundin looks damn good and Fredrik Nordström's production, well, is he ever able to make a CD sound bad? I doubt it… The playing is very, very tight, skilful and precise, the guitar and drum play stellar the vocal interplay is great, I only wish that they would have used Tom Englund a bit more often, not only is he one of my favourite singers, but he has a truly unique voice that adds a lot to a song.
So overall the songs with both singers definitely are the best ones on "Sweet Vengeance", the overall quality is good to great (apart from "The Tremor") and if I would like Lindberg's voice, it would be a truly great album, so it is just very good, so for the second one, make Lindberg and Englund equal partners and we truly are talking, still, damn good album! (Online July 16, 2003)