Release DetailsLABEL Lifeforce Records
RELEASED ON 4/17/2007
A New Disease Is Born
posted on 4/2007 By:
Being hailed by some as a continuation of Slaughter of the Soul era At the Gates after hitting the scene with their stunningly powerful and critically acclaimed debut in Sweet Vengeance – and equally as impressive follow-up Descent Into Chaos – it seemed those comparisons were completely warranted, even if they seemed a bit imprudent. With expectations always skyrocketing through the roof when it comes to these all-star studded metal line ups, the initial grouping of musicians lived up to those lofty expectations on the debut, with the second incarnation of the group ultimately reaching those same heights, even if they continued to rely on the same old Gothen-formula. There was just a magic to be felt and heard within the music that elevated the songwriting bar within the melodic death metal genre as a whole, and even as tired as the whole scene has become over the years, this band simply 'got it'.
Continuing to shake up their always changing line up, Nightrage bring a ‘Tomas Lindberg-less’ manifestation to the fray, and what you have is a band that hardly sounds like the brutally beautiful, poser slaughtering beast that – and let’s be honest here – owes much of what they were to the throaty Lindberg. Content to offer up simple three and four chord progressions that rely on the overlying melodies to give the songs life, new vocalist Jimmie Strimmel brings a completely different vibe to the vocal front that ultimately makes the band sound a tad less aggressive. Fusing the aggressive growls of Whoracle era Anders Friden with the cleanly sung glossiness of A Predator’s Portrait era Björn “Speed” Strid topped off by some tough guy shouts sprinkled here and there, the vocals make the band sound almost ‘Americanized’, if you will. I know the band has always utilized cleanly sung vocal sections on the two prior full-length recordings, but this time around those cleans are not only more prevalent, but they take on a more prominent role in each song. What you end up with is the standard ‘dirty over the verse’ coupled with the emotionally ‘clean over the chorus’ modus operandi during most of the material, and if that disappointed you when In Flames, Soilwork, and the like went down that road, you’ll be equally disappointed with the final results on hand here as well.
In essence, the group isn’t doing anything different musically speaking, as you still get the crisply produced dual guitar attack comprised choppy riffage, note for note melo-licks, and emotionally laced solos that don’t come any sweeter sounding. You’ll also hear a perfectly mixed drum kit and a performance comprised of verbose fills, a minimal but nice peppering of powerhouse blast beats, and a favorable amount of punchy double kick accented by a thickly mixed bass tone. With that said some of the songs will blister out of the gate with promise, only to be shot to hell by either a poor choice of direction or flat out lazy and uninspired riffs. Even the licks that shower the borrowed Maiden-esque riffing lack flavor for the most part and ultimately work against the band. Not even the best production in the world coupled with top end, class ass musicianship will save an album if the songwriting doesn’t match up. It’s a shame, too, because with Strimmel’s performance being as well executed as it is, it’s just too damn bad that the band backing him couldn’t deliver some quality songs for him to shine over.
At the end of the day this is merely an average outing by a band that is capable of so much more. I can’t say enough about how much of a positive influence Lindberg was on this band musically, and as noticeable as his absence is throughout the entire record, I’m not sure even his croaky rasp would have saved the insipid songwriting on A New Disease is Born. All in all, uninspired and extremely tired.
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