|Review: Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusion|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 2005
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: May 13, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Yet another step down from the brilliance of Shadowland, yet still a decent album from this mainstay of the Swedish Power Metal scene. Album number seven is both heavier and more accessible than their previous works, and I detect a definite commercial feel creeping in.
The riffs on here are still good, but they are a bit simpler than in the past, and shredmaster Nils Norberg is oddly reined in on the leads. The songwriting is more direct and less varied than in the past, but the heavy production does a bit to make up for that. Vocalist Jonny Lindkvist sounds absolutely great – maybe better than he ever has – and the first three songs are as solid as anything NR have ever penned. The vocal lines have become more complex even as the songwriting has streamlined, and now there is a definite resemblance to Tad Morose here and there, which can only be a good thing.
Tracks 4-10 are just not as good as the first three, but they are much better than 'not bad'. "Something Undefined" and "End Of Our Rope" are within a hair of being up to par with the openers, but not quite there. Lyrically I am a bit disappointed, as NR have junked the fantasy themes of the old days for realistic 'serious' lyrics about relationships and breakups and crap like that, pretty boring if you ask me.
By the sound of Grand Illusion I'd say Nocturnal Rites are aiming for a wider audience, getting away from strict power metal and going for a more Firewind/Dream Evil kind of sound, which is not a bad thing, but I'd hate if this band became so commercial they lost their spark and became dull. This is a solid album, but I know, or at least hope, that a better one still waits in their future.
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