Review Summary: Melodic Death Metal done right
After all of the lineup changes over the couple of years prior to Wearing A Martyr’s Crown
recording sessions and release. Nightrage suffered a huge lose when Gus G. and Tomas Lindberg decided to leave on a mutual departure for family or diverted focus on their main band after the release of Descent into Chaos
, not to mention their drummer left too. Nightrage had to fill in some large shoes, but when they found their replacements, they were decent at best. Once they recorded and released A New Disease is Born
it all seemed to fall apart all over again. Was it for the better or for the worse? Well, they got rid of the force that was trying to push Nightrage as a whole into the sellout realm that plagues melodic death metal (which seems to be the case for about 90% of the bands that associate themselves with the genre). While the members who left to form some Bieber-metal band, Dead by April; Marios and Olof (he was the guy who replaced Gus G. in 2006) had to find a new lineup. However long it took them, Marios and Olof somehow managed to find an excellent group of musicians that hail from all over the map of Europe. Beforehand Nightrage consisted of members from Sweden and Greece, now they can include Finland and Belgium in that list. In 2007 Nightrage recruited vocalist Antony Hämäläinen, from Finland, who has a lot of vocal similarities to Tomas Lindberg, which brings back a resemblance to their original sound from their first two albums. On percussions and drums, Johan Nunez represents Belgium with amazing creativity that keeps the drum sections more than just rhythm for everyone else in the band. He also debuted with Firewind with their 2012 release, Few Against Many
, and he is proving himself to be a notable musician within the Greek metal scene. Lastly, the other new member, Anders Hammer (also a member in the Swedish power metal band Dragonland) handles bass; don’t write him off as any other bass player, he can pull off a good lick or two.
With a fresh breath of air, a new writing formula has been raised upon the European Rough Riders. New inspiration, new ideas, a new flow of the music, different individual musical ideas all meshing together, what could possibly go wrong?
After hearing a song or two, and if you’re familiar to Nightrage’s discography, you’ll know right off the bat that Wearing A Martyr’s Crown
is one of Nightrage’s most diverse albums to date. The main characteristic of its diversity can be harnessed when hearing the guitars. Marios and Olof finally found out about each other’s musical G-spot that makes them a duo to be reckoned with. Ranging from melodies that sound like Gus G.’s shadow is playing alongside the band, acoustic virtuosity that have a classical Greek influence, and solos that are arguably the best in Nightrage’s discography. Another characteristic that has been added is Anthony’s vocal skills. To start with, the band is known for incorporating Tom S. Englund (he’s from Evergrey) as a guest vocalist, mainly in their debut and their 2011 release Insidious
, in this case the new vocalist shows that he can also do clean vocals. Though Anthony’s clean vocals aren’t the strongest he can still maintain a melodic edge, but he only does it every now and again within the album; he only does it for the purpose of giving some of the songs a musical edge so the listener doesn’t fall asleep thinking that the only new addition of style is just a higher use of acoustic guitars. As the album goes, the best comparison I can give you is the classic melodic death metal that In Flames put out in the 90s intertwining with Nightrage’s form of melodic death metal that was presented in the bands’ earlier career.
In the end, Wearing a Martyr’s Crown
is more than just a new era for a band. It’s the beginning of what could be perhaps a new melodic death metal juggernaut that isn’t throwing out an alternative metal album every now and again for a pay-day. Instead it shows what the genre of melodic death metal was supposed to be intended as. When looking back at this album and looking at other bands that label themselves as melodic death metal when taking the same route as In Flames did on Reroute to Remain
, you can’t help but wonder how the genre would’ve turned if In Flames never sold out. For those who are interested, and enjoy melodic death metal done right, then this will be worthy of your time.