NIGHTRAGE
"A New Disease is Born"

(Lifeforce)

01. Spiral
02. Reconcile
03. Death-Like Silence
04. A Condemned Club
05. Scars of the Past
06. De-Fame
07. Scathing
08. Surge of Pity
09. Encircle
10. Drone
11. Spiritual Impulse
12. New Disease Is Born

RATING: 5.5/10

I found it rather interesting that NIGHTRAGE would make the jump from Century Media to Lifeforce concurrent with a change in style that has more in common with the modern Swedecore acts on the latter label's roster. We are not talking in relative terms here either, as "A New Disease is Born" has far more in common with the growl 'n' croon AT THE GATES imitators than the raggedy and ripping delivery heard on "Sweet Vengeance" and "Descent into Chaos". Of course, Tomas Lindberg is gone, replaced by the capable Jimmie Strimell, and Greek guitar wizard Gus G. also jumped ship after coming to the realization that he had too many irons in the fire. What we are left with is a collection of songs that maintains a core ATG style, but incorporates clean vocals and sweet melodies on many of the tracks, resulting in an album that will not distinguish itself from many others of a similar type.

In fairness, there is some damn heavy material on this album, including a handful of the songs that blend the brutal with the sugary. Those that stick to a fast and furious style with no break for sentimental gushing are not too bad at all, "Spiritual Impulse" and "Encircle" for example." The tunes that drive melody with a guitar harmony alone, such as "Drone", aren't too shabby either. But man, when the speeding aggression of a song like "Spiral" gives way to a sugary mall metal clean vocal, the result is downright shocking (and not pleasantly so), as much for the contrived nature of it all as anything else. The crooning that occurs on "Reconcile" is not exactly inspiring either. The same goes for "Deathlike Silence", "A Condemned Club", and "Scars of the Past". Maybe if the melodies were catchier, I would have been sold. Finally, the title track is a take-it-or-leave-it, light instrumental that closes the album.

It is best not to compare "A New Disease is Born" to "Sweet Vengeance" and "Descent into Chaos", lest you completely disregard any worthwhile qualities of the new album based on the style shift. There is some decent material on "A New Disease is Born" and some of it even moves into the ass-kicking realm. But too much of it sounds an awful lot like the slew of imitators filling store shelves in malls across America. Plus, whom are we kidding here? Can you ever completely set aside past works when reviewing a new release? Not a terrible album, but certainly a disappointing one.

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