Nocturnal Rites

New World Messiah

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Proving that post-Helloween power metal need not originate in Germany, Sweden's Nocturnal Rites abandon any lingering notions of death metal in their cribs (i.e.: early demos) and heartily embrace such standard genre devices as glass-shattering vocals, gang choruses, staccato riffs, pyrotechnic solos, and speedy double kick-drums. Now old hats at the melodic metal trade -- and proud of it -- Nocturnal Rites have made sure that their sixth studio album, 2004's New World Messiah comes packed full of ten technically proficient examples thereof. The fact that all ten of these songs last no less than four- and no more than six-minutes each, and are invariably arranged into rock's excessively predictable (but always successful) verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-solo-verse-chorus structure, is of course the very reason why many death metal fans prefer their style's unorthodox inventiveness; but this album is clearly not meant for them now, is it? No chance! Instead, by alternately affecting thrashing intensity and stately metallic marching, songs like the opening title track, "Avalon," "Breakaway," and "The Flame Will Never Die" slot right into the above-stated power metal stereotypes, with only the bridge section of the more diversely paced "Awakening" showing any sign of risk-taking thanks to guitarists Nils Norberg and Fredrik Mannberg's more syncopated guitar attack. Otherwise, its business as usual for Nocturnal Rites, whose admittedly predictable and even simplistic (within reason) formula, is also obviously effective in its own way.

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