Ok, this line-up screams ACTION!!! Tomas “Tompa” Lindberg, Gus G, Per Möller Jensen and Tom Englund on the same wagon, let me just check my pulse... nope, not dead yet, nor am I dreaming, this is happening. Where do I begin, from the start I guess. NIGHTRAGE is the brainchild of ex EXHUMATION member Marios Iliopoulos who left his country, his family, his past self, basically left everything behind in order to move to Sweden and make his Metal vision come true. The Greek songwriter soon recruited his fellow countryman Gus “here, there and everywhere” G before entering the famous Studio Fredman to record this blistering debut CD.
The two Greeks assembled a stellar line-up that faced a lot of expectations from everyone into Death and Thrash Metal, you should expect nothing but quality and that’s exactly what you get. By looking at the names involved, one could be tempted to think that “Sweet Vengeance” would become one of those over the top Technical Prog Death Thrash albums, some people even say it’s the legitimate follow up to “Slaughter Of The Soul” but the band has other plans, instead you’re hit with a devastating Melodic Death Metal record so bitter and painful it really hurts.
“Sweet Vengeance” is not another cynical leftover Death Metal album, this one has guts and is played in collective spirit. The guitar work of Marios and Gus G is far from being one-dimensional, there’s a good balance between wall breaking Death and Thrash Metal riffs and more traditional Heavy Metal riffs. Some riffs are more atmospheric and are backed up by keyboards, “Elusive Emotion” and “At The Ends Of the Earth” has some of these moments, not the most original thing to do, but somehow it stays fresh.
The clever acoustic passages add a touch of hope in the otherwise obtrusive Death Metal madness, the acoustic instrumental outro “The Howls Of The Wolves” is a nice variation to the album. The aggression in Lindberg’s vocals puts an extra amount of hatred into the songs, and to make things more interesting and less predictable, EVERGREY mastermind Tom Englund lends his expressive clean vocals on some occasions, so watch out for some clashes between the two. On the drums we have Per Möller Jensen of THE HAUNTED, well, we all know that he’s the man for this style and an animal when it comes to blast beats.
NIGHTRAGE has dropped a bomb inside the Melodic Death Metal genre, the next album has some high standards to live up to, until then you should get this one if you want the finest in Melodic Death Metal. (Online December 22, 2004)