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Nightrage - Wolf to Man

Nightrage
Wolf to Man
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 22 April 2019, 6:19 AM

Greece in origin but now relocated to Sweden, NIGHTRAGE is a band that has been on a roller coaster of a ride, with plenty of ups and downs.  At this point, like so many bands, every person in the band is basically filler until they eventually quick with one exception—Marios Iliopoulos, who is the main guitarist and song writer. The problem with NIGHTRAGE is they peeked so goddamn early.  They don’t have any actual bad albums but very few people would argue their first two albums are NOT their best.  Their debut 2003’s “SWEET VENGEANCE”, is a modern day Melodic Death classic.  After the near perfect second album “Descent Into Chaos,” the band really never recovered fully.  It didn’t help things at all to lose Tompa and Gus G. either.

The biggest issue I have with this album is their vocalist Ronnie Nyman.  He is the fourth vocalist the band has had over the years and by far the worst one.  Just like on their previous two albums he sang on, he just doesn’t sound that interesting or exciting to me and I feel he really holds back their sound.  I’m not sure if he does the clean vocals or not but they are especially bad and nearly ruin any song they appear in.  Another problem is the track placement because, well, it doesn’t make any sense.  The outro track, “Lytrosis,” is actually very moving and recalls the early days of MDM when acoustic songs were mixed in so well with the heaviness.  As usual, Marios shines on the guitar solos, bringing out emotions and skill with ease.   This song just really feels like it should had been the opening track, to lead into the first proper one “Starless Night,” especially since it opens on a very melodic note. Marios definitely focused more on solos and melodies this time around than actual guitar riffs because the whole album is pretty much like this song.  As they play, the riffs and other instruments just seem to be going through the motions to allow the solos and melodies to save them.  There isn’t anything wrong with sticking to your strengths but it also means the songs really don’t go anywhere as a whole.

Most of the songs have bits and pieces within them that are special but none of them stand out all the way through, especially the tracks in the album’s middle.  “By Darkness Dawn,” opens with some incredible melodies, and some more during the chorus, but nothing else about the song stands out.“The Damned” also suffers from the same format—an incredible opening but quickly trails off, lost among those awful cleans and uninspired riffs. Ultimately, this isn’t a bad album but it doesn’t really contain very many exciting moments.  It is worth a listen but there has been a lot of great MDM releases this year already….and this one just can’t measure up. In essence, 16 years after its release I still go back and listen to their debut on occasion.  In 16 years from now, I won’t even remember this album exists.

Songwriting:5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Starless Nightmare
2. Wolf To Man
3. Embrace The Nightrage
4. Desensitized
5. God Forbid
6. By Darkness Drawn
7. The Damned
8. Arm Aim Kill
9. Gemini
10. Disconnecting The Dots
11. Escape Route Insertion
12. Lytrosis
Lineup:
Marios Iliopoulos – Guitars
Ronnie Nyman – Vocals
Magnus Soderman – Guitars
Francisco Escalona – Bass
Dino George Stamoglou - Drums
Record Label: Despotz Records
     


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