Release DetailsLABEL Napalm Records
RELEASED ON 9/1/2003
posted on 12/2004 By:
Formed a mere 6 years after I was born (1979), France’s octogenarian power metal act, I mean veteran power metal act, continue on their reunion trail after 2001’s Cosmovison, their first LP since 1985. Well, I never heard this band in all of their 20 plus year existence and frankly I bet neither have many of you, but you and the metal scene aren't really missing much if you never hear them again for another 12 years.
Glossy, epic, pompous and progressive power metal delivered in the form of a concept album rendered in “Chapters”, original eh? While the prospect of a Rush and Saxon meet Blind Guardian offering may seem promising, trust me, the end result sounds like….well a 25 year band trying to squeeze into a modern genre, much like an aged rocker trying to squeeze into his 22 year old spandex pants. Granted, the Finnvox sound is perfectly tuned and the occasional choral piece is mildly impressive, but as a whole, Nightmare’s attempt to blend power metal cheese and prog rock intellect falls flat.
Of course, being somewhat of a genre bigot, I’m missing the point completely and Nightmare are revered legends returning with a glorious album of nostalgic power rock, but I doubt it, as even I can at least spot a quality album despite of my genre-centric blinkers. As expected, the album is chock full of competent musicianship, namely the guitar work laden with wailing solos, soaring vocals and a mix of futuristic synths and cathedral filling choral arrangements (although I’m not sure how to describe the choir during “Mind Matrix Schizophrenia”), but that doesn’t stop it from being pretty average.
The winding crossbreed of pseudo technicality and ‘hair blowing in the wind’ power metal pomp can’t decide if it wants to be more accessible form of cerebral Queensryche-ish AOR (“Paranormal Magnitude”, “Silent Room”, “Shades in the Night”, “Sniper in the Playground”, "Prisoner of the System”) or a more dramatic, thickly cheesy, orchestral form of inflated power metal (“A Piece of Paradise”, “Travel In The Spheres Of Dreams”, "Virtual Freedom”, “The Death Toll”). And while these choir filled tracks (think Therion’s overwrought operatics) are certainly more enjoyable due to the grandiose atmosphere the austere choir adds to the material, neither style really conveys the unfathomable medical/psychological storyline of the album.
Hairy chested crooner, Jo Amore isn’t quite as grating or teeth grindingly high pitched as most power metal vocalists, as he is slightly more gravelly, but he lacks range and dramatic presence to elevate both the story and the pacing of the material.
Nightmare’s claim to fame may have been opening for Def Leppard in 1983, but beyond that this band should have called it quits, not from lack of talent or desire but lack of relevance in today’s scene.
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