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Review: Nostradameus - Hellbound

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 41:41
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: December 28, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating

Rated 3.65/5 (72.94%) (17 Votes)

Four years, four albums for Sweden's Nostradameus. Hellbound saw the Power Metallers take a significant stylistic change, filtering in some Thrash and even Melo-Death elements in the guitar work that took them away from their more magical beginnings. The Third Prophecy was an interesting and innovative record, but their fourth baby put Nostradameus up there with the big boys, and even though it's not their best album, it's their most accessible for the general metal crowd.

First things first, Freddy Persson sounds great here. His voice really grew in strength over the years, and with the darker and more aggressive riffage, his throaty style found a new plateau of deftness. The band got rid of the stuffy production they'd used on their last album and replaced it with a modern crunch and polish. Hellbound plays like a dream, and though it does get a bit too macho in places, this is still very much Power Metal. The choruses hark back to their earlier, Gamma Ray-influenced debut, but the riff work is quite tight, which makes songs like "Never Turning Back", "Cuts Like Blades" and the title track flay your senses. There's only really one bad tune here (the plodding "Fight"), some are average but have good parts ("One Step Away", "Seven"), and then there are the real killer cuts, such as "Your Betrayal" and the fast, skin-searing bitch that is "The Reaper's Image".

Power Metal fans will lap this up, and those outside the genre might find it a useful window into a style they have overlooked. Not as cool as Words Of Nostradameus, but a good listen nonetheless.

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Review: Illusion's Parade (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Prophet Of Evil (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Third Prophecy (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Words Of Nostradameus (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Words Of Nostradameus (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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