In Flames used to be such a great band. They've got quite the catalogue of excellent albums, with releases such as the Gothenburg classic, The Jester Race, Clayman, Whoracle, and Colony. They had some pretty sweet album art (hell my desktop wallpaper is currently adorned with the cover of The Jester Race), but most of all, their music was consistent, full of melodic hooks and solos, and their vocalist wasn't completely annoying. Now, within the last few years all that has changed, both in terms of music and in quality. While Come Clarity was a definite improvement over blunders such as Soundtrack to My Escape and Reroute to Remain, the feeling that In Flames' career has literally gone up in flames is still present. Yet with that in mind, there is no reason to sulk over In Flames' fall from grace. After all, Dark Tranquillity is still going strong and there are dozens upon dozens of similar bands floating around. Nightrage is one of these bands. Formed in the year 2000 by the ever busy Gus G., the band had also once made use of former At the Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg. But with the band's third full length release, A New Disease is Born, Nightrage were forced to say goodbye to both Gus and Tomas, who left for their own various reasons. Considering the talents of both members, their leaving would be quite a hefty loss, would it not? Well of course.
But if you're like me and haven't heard Nightrage before this album, then you wouldn't know how much either musician affected the band, either positively or negatively. But Judging by A New Disease is Born; fans of the band shouldn't worry too much, as this is still a pretty decent album. After all, when you're biggest, most obvious influence is Clayman era In Flames, how could it be anything but interesting? Yes, the musical path Nightrage chooses to take is one which I wish In Flames would have taken. The band manages to successfully combine catchiness and accessibility with heaviness, melody, skill, and precision. The opening track, Spiral should attest to this point well enough, with its heavy, relentlessly aggressive verse riffs and calmer, more melodic chorus and bridge work. The vocal efforts are quite similar as well, with new frontman Jimmie Strimell opening the song with a ferocious "ROOOOOOOAR!" His performance during also contains other various guttural shout and screams during the verses and clean vocals during the chorus. Seems pretty standard for this type of metal, hmm? I suppose so, but A New Disease is Born manages not to sound contrived and at times can actually get quite interesting. Similarly once again to In Flames, the soloing found on Nightrage's third album is quite tasteful and emotional. Whether they portray energetic aggression, sombreness, or a deep rage, they complete their task without sounding too over the top.
So where does A New Disease is Born falter, you ask? Quite similarly to Metalium's Chapter Six: Nothing to Undo, which I reviewed last week, the latest Nightrage album has no identity. Though a decent record itself, it pretty much sounds like every other Gothenburg album to be released over the past ten years. All of it; the riffs, drumming, screaming, song writing has been heard before, and for those who are getting tired of albums of such ilk will in all likelihood detest this release. In terms of weak tracks, A New Disease contains a couple, and while they don't drag down the album, they kind of ruin the momentum which some of the stronger tracks create. A Condemned Club is one of the weaker, more generic sounding songs on the album. Aside from Strimell's very (and I stress this) brief clean vocal appearance, there is nothing that one would deem interesting to hear. Another track which doesn't live up to its contemporaries is the album's title track. An instrumental, it is entirely built upon acoustic guitars. While some bands can make this work (Annhiliator, Dark Tranquillity) and other bands can create deep, mournful acoustic tracks (That may still have vocals to go along with the song) without sounding pretentious and sloppy (Into Eternity), Nightrage does not treat us to such a performance. Instead, we pretty much get what I just described; a sloppy, pretentious, boring instrumental without any real listening quality. Like I mentioned earlier, tracks such as these don't exactly ruin the album. But they do lessen the listening experience, and are rather pointless.
Along came the year 2007, and with it is Nightrage's third full length album. A typical Gothenburg release, it is home to some excellent tracks such as Spiritual Impulse and Silence, and unfortunately also home to weak filler material as well. If there was any record which sounded similar to A New Disease is Born, it would definitely be In Flames' Clayman, which should earn the album both praise and hate from those who have strong opinions of the genre. If have money and time to spare, and are a fan of In Flames or any other Gothenburg band really, big or small, then you might enjoy this album. If not, then don't waste your time with this. A Fair effort, but could stand to be more original.
Surge of Pity
Ouch, In Flames' bashing! Gothenburg metal never really gets old for me, so I have to go buy this. I never understand why Anders is attacked for being annoying, I think he sounds great. But you're right, the other Nightrage albums are better than Reroute and Soundtrack. Still have to check this out.
That's funny because about a week ago I changed my desktop background from The Jester Race to a Halo 3 background. The Jester Race background didn't quite fit the needed height and width requirements for a background on my computer so it wasn't as high quality as I wanted it to be. It still looked pretty good though. Does your background fit correctly? I would like to find one that doesn't have to be stretched to fit.
I'll probably check this out because I love what I've heard from Clayman.
Well i definately agree with you on your intro about In Flames. But i can't say Dark Tranquillity is holding strong anymore. Their new album "Fiction" isn't all it's hyped up to be. Last week i was able to preview the full album, and it was a huge dissappointment. Going from a band that i thought kept getting increasingly better over the years. Too a band that just creates a bunch of filler tracks so they get out an album to slightly satisfy their fans.
That aside i've got to disagree with you on your rating, in my opinion this deserves at least a 4 it's a really good album. They seem to be improving their sound, and making things more technical and i love it. Although some of their material might be a bit repetitive, it's very creative music. And i love it.This Message Edited On 02.27.07
I d-loaded some tracks from the band's website and they sounded almost the same as ''The Crown'' did, good but still a bit bad.
You could try ''Sweet Vengeance'', it has been given high ratings on metal archives.This Message Edited On 02.28.07
Mikesn, great review and I will check this out because you have convinced me that they might sound better with the depatures of their old guitarists. Out with old, in with the new!
One word of advice, Nightrages old stuff stinks! They did nothing original for the Gothenburg scene, and I know Im going to take some negs for that. I really expected something good from these guys past two albums and all I got was shit!
Their debut with Gus and Lindberg was so-so, it only had like 2 songs which stood out. I just heard "Scathing" off this album and it is SO much better than their previous stuff. The new vocalist is sick. I want this.
clearly Nightrage´s best album according to me, best combination between harsh and clean vocals. Jimmie Strimell is the best singer they´ve ever had. The album also include great guitar riffs and all the songs are catchy.