The 8Th Sin
posted on 5/2007 By:
Please, someone kill me quickly before this record goes any further. Light me on fire with a flaming sword, hang my burning body from a fiery bridge with a barbed wire noose and beat out my last breath with rakes rusted by pickle brine. And by all means, finish me off by dousing my smoldering corpse with nuclear waste and plowing over what’s left of my skull with Elton John’s horse-drawn carriage, because I need to forget this album exists, right now. Okay, I’m being overly melodramatic, but it just floors me flatter than hammered shit on an anvil that a band as talented as Nocturnal Rites can feel comfortable unleashing this album on their fans.
I suppose a few of you saw the writing on the wall with 2005’s Grand Illusion -- an album that admittedly inched the band ever so slightly closer towards the slicker, candy-coated end of the spectrum -- but it still managed to remain firmly rooted in the triumphant, European power metal spectrum, and it absolutely killed with its immense hooks and supreme noodling. But this? This is a beast born from an entirely different uterus. This is an enormous bale of fluffy, powder blue cotton candy so immense it could blot out the sun and send even the fattest child in America crying home to Mommy and begging for a brussel sprout snap back into reality. This, folks, is disappointment in the truest sense of the word.
Here’s the bottom line: Nocturnal Rites has essentially decided to release the new Bon Jovi record with added elements of nu-metal and a fresh, modern, electronic twist. Let me just say that again so you can be sure you read it correctly. Nocturnal Rites has essentially decided to release the new Bon Jovi record with added elements of nu-metal and a fresh, modern, electronic twist. And this time around it’s not just Jonny Lindkvist’s vocals that lean this record towards the B.J. camp. Hell, even with the Jovi-flavorings, I’ve always considered Lindkvist’s vocals to be a huge asset to this band. It’s just that The 8th Sin has stripped away the sweeping, triumphant power metal song structures in favor of a radio-friendly, pop foundation that’s much more akin to what the Jersey boys have been producing for the past decade. And I can just picture these dudes remarking in interviews to come about how “this record has some of our heaviest riffs to date”, but what they don’t understand is when you cut the banana-taffy poppiness of your music with “heavy” nu-metal riffs, it just worsens things exponentially. And when you choose to push the envelope even further by swaddling these elements in a slick, casio-keyboard-like electronic shroud, you’ve basically got yourself an infallible formula for disappointment…at least as far as this power metal fan’s concerned.
And I honestly tried like hell to like this record. I really did. Following my initial shock, I thought maybe if given enough time, the patented N.R. hooks would eventually sink in and make me forget my nu-electronic prejudices. Nope. Instead, I found myself even more frustrated when faced with the fact that this band still knows how to write some of the catchiest choruses in the business, and Nils Norberg still has the ability to craft some supremely nice lead guitar work, only this time it’s all wrapped within the gleamiest of gleamy, commercial bullshit. And as far as specific songs are concerned, I can honestly say there’s not one in the bunch that could save this ship from sinking like an anvil to the bottom of my to-play pile. There are a number of tunes that begin with a bit of the old Nocturnal flavor, but they all inevitably lead to overly soppy vocals/lyrics, nu-metal jump-up-and-down riffing, or foppish electronic drumming and keyboarding. And if that isn’t already far beyond enough, “Me” features just Lindkvist crooning alongside a piano for the majority of the song, but any remaining evidence of testicles are sheared cleanly from the bull once the flitting voice of woman eventually trickles in to escort him and said tune to a fiery, sissified grave.
Normally I try to recognize and respect the enormous amount of time, effort and resources involved to actually produce a record and get it onto the streets, but this time around the feelings of frustration were just too strong to sugar-coat my feelings. This band easily has the talent and potential to be at the absolute TOP of the European power metal scene, but they’ve done their fans a great disservice with this album. The 8th Sin is terribly disappointing.
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