Album Review: Nightrage – Insidious
Band: Nightrage (Greece / Sweden)
Album: Insidious (2011)
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
If there’s one band able to make you close your eyes and drift away into the beautiful melodies they produce, it’s Nightrage. The Greek-Swedish formation that has been active since 2000 has been, although I was already well across the line of liking (Melodic) Death Metal, the band to tighten the noose around my little ignorant neck and violently tug my soul so far into the realm of Melodeath that I could never do with anything less again. Their albums Descent Into Chaos, A New Disease is Born and Wearing a Martyr’s Crown have spent so much time playing on my headphones that they are completely and utterly torn to shreds.
Two years after the band’s last album, Insidious is the one to follow up on a series of well-bred and magnificently shaped albums in the Nightrage line of descendance. And as the band’s vocalist Antony Hämäläinen foretold in the interview we had with him over a year ago, it’s rich with both a pissed-off attitude and sweeping swirling melodies. And that means it sticks like glue to the true Nightrage style and tradition, which in this case is a good thing, as Nightrage is one of the few bands you do not want to see alter their sound too much from release to release.
The beautiful thing about Nightrage is that the group of diverse cultural background – Greek, Swedish and Finnish – has such a distinctive and characteristic sound. You hear it and you just immediately know you’re listening to Nightrage. Main contributors to that sound are the lead guitars of course, present in excessive proportions and quantities, and clearly defining the large majority of the band’s songs. It’s like the band is the Joe Satriani of Melodeath. But thankfully swirling leads isn’t all they’re about and they manage to alternate this with aggressive riffs that snarl at your face like an abused dog.
If you’re a fan of that particular Nightrage sound, you’ll be happy to learn that Insidious offers just that again and that it offers a solid fifteen songs (including intro and outro) or 53 minutes of it. In other words, there’s plenty! And although I haven’t yet heard one song I didn’t like, there are a couple of songs that stick out miles above the rest.
The first of those is Wrapped in Deceitful Dreams, which starts off not even that special, with simple loud riffs and grunting. But when the chorus hits off you know you’re listening to a winner. It just grabs you by the trouser snake and pulls you up to great heights, literally, because the chorus is closed off by something special. Be it a short but vicious guitar solo or a clean-vocaled break followed by a lengthy and carefully built-up shred, by ex-member, and current guitarist in Firewind and Ozzy Osbourne, Gus G. And this guy’s a shred-master I tell you!
This World is Coming to an End isn’t any less of a winner. The melodies in the chorus are less flowing and fluttering, but more controlled and to the point and combined with energetic but short-phrased riffs. Towards the end there’s a clean vocal part again, by Apollo Papathanasio this time, vocalist in Spiritual Beggars, Firewind and Evil Masquerade. There are also guest vocals by Tom Englund of Evergrey.
By now it should be clear that Nightrage has called in quite some help on the album, which is one of the reasons they manage to keep the whole album so fuckin’ interesting! Apart from the names mentioned, the album contains contributions by Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates / Lock Up / Disfear), John K. (Biomechanical / Deceptor), George Baharidis (Deceptor / Breaking Silence), Elias Holmlid (Dragonland), Jeffery Breckon, Jon Chunglow and Brandon Johnson. And this really has led to every song having its very own face, feel and / or focus.
There’s one last track I’d like to share: Poignant Memories, which induces that what is says in the title. It has a brilliantly melodic chorus, catchy as STDs in a rehab center for whores, that really takes you places. And then just as you think the chorus is over and things will calm down a bit again, there’s this even more melodic and more stimulating post-chorus pre-verse bridge type of thing that grabs you by the hair and tosses you right over the moon. The stretched melodies run over rattling bass drums and crusty riffs and barking vocals and it’s just orgasmically majestic.
Insidious is ab-so-lutely stuffed with melody and emotion. In fact, I’m surprised it doesn’t come with a box of tissues and a strip of Valium, because fuck, this album makes kick-assedness flow around your bloodstream buckets at a time.
If we look on Merriam Webster, we find that ‘insidious’ can mean ”harmful but enticing”. But this then obviously is most inaccurate. There’s nothing harmful about this record, rather the opposite is true. Listening to Insidious allows one to let of steam, revel in memories and contemplations and bang a few heads while you’re at it. Nightrage thus has given ‘insidious’ a new meaning: something along the lines of enticing and good for the soul!
My Grade: 9/10
Buy this when:
- you’re looking for some good ol’ soul cleansing!
- you’re as susceptible to swirling melodies as I am
- you’ve enjoyed the band’s previous work. This is that, with more of the good stuff!