Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nightmare - The Burden of God

It's pretty rare for a band to walk away for over a decade, come back, and not only release new material but actually become more prolific and more enjoyable upon their return. That is exactly what the French power metal masters Nightmare did, and earlier this year they released their sixth album since their return in 2001 (eighth overall).

The Burden of God  is a dark, ripping, gritty slab of power metal from a group of seasoned masters. After a soft but vaguely sinister instrumental number in the vein of an interlude from Phantom of the Opera, the curtains open and the band begins to play. And damn, can they play. I rarely find myself this enamored with a power metal record, but there's a heaviness to the crunching guitar rhythms, a grim determination to the lyrics, and haunting touches of darkness lurking around every corner. The vocalist plays a vital role in this, too. Most power metal singers soar to shimmering heights of purest beauty, where they can let loose their long, flowing locks of silken hair and step out onto the highest balconies of their delicate, glistening, white marble spires to gaze out across the golden city below, bathed in the radiant light of the sun. Bleck! This is metal, not the land of the sugarplum fairies. I want some dirt and sweat and blood, maybe a battleaxe on the side. That's what Joe Amore brings to the table. Yes, he has a powerful voice, and yes he can hit high notes. But he does it with a snarl. The gritty edge to his powerful voice reminds me of the late great Ronnie James Dio, and that's about the highest compliment you can give a metal singer.

So what we end up with is a masterfully crafted power metal album performed with expert precision, but carrying with it a darkly sinister feeling which is far too rare in the field. This knocks off Pharaoh's excellent Bury the Light  as my favorite power metal album to come out this year.

Grade: A-
Dark and masterful power metal with my new favorite vocalist in the sub-genre.

1 comment:

  1. I like Nightmare quite a bit. I will have to try to track this down.