Well I have a big problem here. First of all, this is the sixth album of the band, so we don’t have a newcomer here and we should expect quality music and song writing from them. Second, this was mixed at the Finnvox Studio by none than T.T. Oksala (TIAMAT, APOCALYPTICA), so the sound is perfect for the style. Third, the album is called “New World Messiah”. Well I hope the latest isn’t true, because I don’t want to see the future of Power Metal.
The liner notes behind the promo, word for word, says this “… this versatile group pay homage to such titans as IRON MAIDEN and BLIND GUARDIAN in regards to their song writing style.” Well let me disagree. If NOCTURNAL RITES wants to be compared to BLIND GUARDIAN, they will have soon to release their own “Somewhere Far Beyond” album, ‘cause for me, this represents real Power Metal quality. “Afterlife”, the album which was featuring for the first time Nils Jonny Lindqvist on vocals, was showing a great future for the band, with their sound being more modern. Then came “Shadowland”, which was for me a major let down. Is it better with “New World Messiah”? I’m afraid no. Some will be tempted to say that I’m just complaining only because it is not original. Well, yes, it may be unoriginal, but the main problem with the album is that the entire thing is plain flat. The musicians are great, the sound is powerful, the singer angry and melodic and the drumming fast and furious; still, the music comes out ordinary and boring.
I’m sorry, but we have to stop praising bands that enjoy staying in a state of non-evolution, just because they are on a major label, with a big sound and great musicians. That doesn’t excuse everything. I don’t want NOCTURNAL RITES to become a Prog Metal band or even a Black Metal band, I just want them to give me back a second “Afterlife” album. Well, I’m just kidding here, but seriously what I mean is that I want this band to understand that people wants more in the Power Metal area. They want to think that their style is not stagnant. At least, this is what I really want and I’m sure that NOCTURNAL RITES has the ability and capacity of being a way better band than that. (Online March 31, 2004)