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How to be mediocre - 43%

DreamOfDarkness, October 14th, 2012

This album is one of the reasons I don't blind-buy music anymore. I was told that this is technical thrash metal, but it turned out that this is quite an unfitting description...

After a boring and much too long intro the music kicks in. A decent thrash riff, nice drumming, a break and...? Now the terrible vocals set in. I know good vocals aren't really the most important thing in thrash, but these are plain annoying. Those weak screams/shouts lack any form of emotion and remind me of some utterly crappy metalcore I've heard some time ago.

Back to the riffs. They are the biggest pro and contra at the same time. Many of them are just plain boring, stretched way too much. They change in tone and melody, but the basic formula is always the same: Expressionless chugging with some melody thrown in from time to time. But on the other hand there are some decent riffs as well, especially before and after the equally good and creative guitar leads that go far beyond expressionless sweep-picking. Unfortunately, the band can't keep the level of creativity for a long time. Aside from the solos, most riffs are fillers, so during the 13 songs and 72 minutes at least half of them could have been easily left out. It seems as if the band tried to fill up the CD entirely, but forgot that putting boring riffs between the better parts doesn't make the entire thing better.

Technically, the album has it's pros and cons as well. While the band members know how to play their instruments - at times there are even attempts at being technical - the production is very clean and polished, some would say 'modern'. But triggered drums, clean guitars and way-too-loud (and annoying) vocals overshadowing the instruments at times isn't what I wish for on a thrash record. At least the bass is audible most of the time. Just like many other 'modern' productions, this one suffers from heavy dynamic compression. So during the faster parts the sound becomes blurry and noisy.

Conclusion: Not everything about "Nightmare 13" is bad. The guitar leads are probably the most outstanding feature here, and some enjoyable riffs can be found also. But they are too widespread on those 72 minutes, filled up with many useless and uninspired riffs. In addition to that, the vocals are really annoying and dull. The fact that Tom Angelripper from Sodom does the vocals on "Veil of Secrecy" doesn't help much, either. I see no reason for anyone to spend time with this record. It's not terrible, but definitely flawed.