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Nocturnal Rites‘ sophomore album encapsulates much of the trends that were part of the Euro power metal scene’s golden past. As a result, the album is unique among all contemporary releases. That means you would not expect the crappy watered-down flower metal sound, which means that your ears would not suffer the diluted riffs repeating the “Freewheel Burning” intro riff and the repetitive double bass drumming. Instead, the band offers very solid guitar playing and drumming that overtop the expectations of the most demanding listeners. Further, Fredrik Mannberg, as a lead guitarist, provides incredible guitar solos with the typical neoclassical notes that Yngwie Malmsteen may have exploited. Zackrisson’s vocals bring in a US power metal touch, as his nasal style can be found in other acts, such as Manilla Road, Medieval Steel, among others. Unfortunately, his vocals are widely underrated, but it is worth saving this discussion for those who understand what the US power metal is about.
The equation is not hard to decipher here. The ingredients above are pretty much a result of the influence the album received from Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Still, to a greater extent, Helloween seemingly inspired the most melodic passages of this release. Relevant highlights include the speed metal juggernauts “Burn in Hell” and “Pentagram”, as well as the opening track. All these numbers guarantee complex riffs, incredible drumming, and, most importantly, killing guitar solos. “Dark Secret” is also an interesting number, especially in how it transitions from interesting mid-paced passages to a faster chorus. In conclusion, this album is a jewel seemingly lost in time, but when it is in the hands of experienced and wise listeners, it shows its actual value.
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