Nocturnal Rites - New World Messiah

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: CD 8223-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:18:00

Nocturnal Rites' New World Messiah may not broach new territory in the realm of melodic speed metal, but they sound pretty good doing what they do. And having been doing it for 10 years now, they oughta, yes? In fact, New World Messiah is catchy, attractive album featuring music and choruses that instantly get stuck in your brain, especially the rousing "Avalon." What carries the music are the vocals of Jonny Lindqvist and the guitar leads from Nils Nordberg. That doesn't mean the rest of the band are merely in a support role, but these two elements are what rise to the top. Lindqvist is a mid-range voice that isn't really distinctive, but I like his tone; and the harmony of the group vocals add to epic feel that "Avalon" has (a song that gets stuck in ones head). Nordberg's has a tough yet sweet tone for his solos without any extraneous flashiness. And, as I said with Shadowland, the placement of keyboards (Mattias Bernhardsson) is a good match to the music, being part of the whole and not sounding like some afterthought.

It's album that moves along at quick pace - and not just because of the genre. Most tracks are just over 4 minutes long, the longest being the 5-minute plus "Awakening." While I like nearly all of the tracks on this album - the epic, melodic vocals most especially - one of my favorite tracks "Against The World." Sure it's more balladic and melodic than other pieces on the album, but it's also one with great depth, which appeals to the prog metal fan in me ... and they remind me greatly of Wuthering Heights, except that the musical influence here is not Celtic but Middle Eastern. In fact, NR add various influences into their speed metal attack.

There's a theme going on here, a story (as you might expect) ... one that I think takes us from the "dawn of man" (as quoted in "New World Messiah," one of the most aggressive songs on the album) to the dusk of man ("End Of Days") and yet, maybe not quite since "End..." is not the end of the CD. The middle-eastern aspect is felt the most strongly in "Egyptica," a dark and smoldering track, the oppression expressed in the lyrics reflected in the music. There's a nice dramatic moment that opens "Awakening," a dark and heavy track, the second most aggressive piece, certainly where percussion is concerned - mucho double-bassing and done with texturing. The chorus is delivered with such heart-wrenching emotion it is hard not to be moved by it. The bridge into the guitar solo seems to flutter a bit, and I'm not sure if it's by design or some flaw, but it's a slight mar on an otherwise powerful track.

In among the galloping power, we get the (power) balladic "The Flame Will Never Die." A piece that includes some nice tinkling keys from Bernhardsson. Not a romantic ballad, but it follows that stylistic conventions... and somewhat Kamelot like in a way, with rougher edges (mainly vocally)... resulting in a very nice, but gritty, track.

Nope, not breaking new ground, and that's okay when it's as appealing as this. While I wouldn't say that Nocturnal Rites are taking things easy, there's a certain sense of comfort to the performances... Knowing they have the talent and chops, they are focusing on the nuances and feel confident it what they're doing. Well, hell, I'll just say it simply. I really, really like this album... almost love, but not quite (that might come in time).

New World Messiah (4:09) / Against The World (4:18) / Avalon (4:18) / Awakening (5:28) / Egyptica (5:53) / Break Away (4:34) / End Of Days (4:47) / The Flame Will Never Die (4:21) / One Nation (4:29) / Nightmare (4:21)

Jonny Lindqvist - vocals
Fredrik Manneberg - guitar
Nils Nordberg - lead guitar
Nils Eriksson - bass
Owe Lingvall - drums
Mattias Bernhardsson - keyboards

In A Time Of Blood And Fire (1996)
Tales Of Mystery And Imagination (1997)
The Sacred Talisman (1999)
Afterlife (2000)
Shadowland (2002)
New World Messiah (2004)
Lost In Time (2005)
Grand Illusion (2005)
The 8th Sin (2007)
Phoenix (2017)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: May 16th 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1111
Language: english


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