Nocturnal Rites


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The first recording to feature new vocalist Jonny Lindkvist, Afterlife was a heavier take on the resurging power metal genre Nocturnal Rites championed during the late '90s. Previous efforts from the group had garnered enough accolades for this Swedish band to be taken seriously, but Nocturnal Rites' tendency to mimic New Wave of British Heavy Metal giants Iron Maiden didn't exactly go unnoticed. The issue of influential singularity isn't a problem on Afterlife. There is a moment during "The Sinner's Cross" that bears an uncomfortably close resemblance to Ronnie James Dio-era Black Sabbath, but considered in its entirety, this Century Media release is both tuneful and fresh. The fast-paced title track and the clever guitar arrangements of "Genetic Distortion Sequence" constitute the record's highlights, while the out-of-place commercial-sounding choruses on songs like "Wake up Dead" soften things unnecessarily -- despite, or perhaps because of their extreme catchiness. This polished and professional follow-up to The Sacred Talisman has many strengths that fans of the best early-'80s British and American metal should enjoy. But Afterlife also contains enough weaknesses to keep it off anyone's short list of essential power metal.

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