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“Descent into Chaos” is the second album for Swedish death metal act “Nightrage”. In his effort to stabilize the band’s members, Marios Iliopoulos, the mastermind behind “Nightrage”, brings over two new guys on bass (Henric Karlsson) and drums (Fotis "Benardo" Giannakopoulos).
It is evident from the direction “Nightrage” has taken in their second album that the band clearly targets at the Swedish death metal niche. “Descent into Chaos” sounds much more focused and direct than the band’s first full length attempt. The American heavy metal influences present in “Sweet Vengeance” are significantly reduced here, giving room to way more aggressive riffage that contains however the melodic lines that the genre is famous for.
The album is once again guitar-oriented. There are fast and heavy riffs that carry melodic lines within them. The solos are melodious and the duel guitar work is exceptional. In “Descent into chaos” you will find small in duration songs (up to 4 minutes in most cases), following the usual pattern between verse, chorus, bridge and solo. The album displays an amazing flow with the songs complementing each other perfectly.
Marios once again is responsible for all the song writing here with some help coming from his “blood brother”, Gus G who contributes with his ability to write memorable solos and melodic lines. The new drummer, Fotis, is a given powerhouse! He really adds to the band with his aggressive playing style. Along with karlsson, the new bassist, they create a tight rhythm section upon which riffs, harmonies and solos feel naturally built. The voice of Tomas Lindberg is once again in tremendous shape and the clean vocals on this album are present only in one song, with Mikael Stanne from “Dark Tranquillity” providing the clean melodic line in “Frozen”.
In conclusion, I would like to say that “Nightrage” seem to be at the top of their game with yet another great release. Marios Iliopoulos proves that his song writing skills are excellent and provides us with a second record that can only be characterized as superb. If you’re a fan of the Swedish death metal scene and don’t have this one, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Stand outs: The whole albums rocks big time!
PS: Marie sinexise tin kali douleia, ola ta patriotakia sou se stirizoun!
Nightrage brings the listener a thrashing attack that rests right upon the cusp of death metal on “Descent Into Chaos”. With superior screamer Tomas Lindberg fronting this rather aggressive group, there’s little doubt that comparisons to Lindberg’s former ensemble, the much revered At The Gates, will instantly come to mind.
Lindberg sounds focused here, lashing out with raspy barks that are a perfect compliment to the chugging, intensity the band delivers. ‘Phantasma’ is truly a killer cut, sounding like the angrier big brother of Dark Tranquillity, relying more upon sheer, brute force than atmospheric concepts.
It is a bit surprising to hear “Poems” sounding accessible; the riffs mirror Shadows Fall somewhat, while the vocal onslaught continues with gruff intensity.
The striking imagery that graces the disc’s cover relays the over the top intensity that Nightrage brings to the table on the title track, a rabid, violent thrasher that cuts a swath toward sonic annihilation. The group knows when to lock into a groove and although there is a great deal of faster tempoed ideas on this record, this five piece plays together tightly, opting to beat the listener over the head repeatedly rather than make swift strikes which seldom connect.
Gus G. (Dream Evil) definitely makes his presence known on the tuneful thumper ‘Frozen’, injecting a melodious riff into the foray. Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) guests on this track further adding to the inventiveness of the group’s overall sound with some well-placed clean vocals. These vox give the song an interesting hook that is quite memorable. The addition of some fantastic guitar soloing makes this song one of the highlights of the record.
The detuned, bottom heavy sounds of “Silent Solitude” make for a solid moshpit anthem that again reaches for a growling hook from Lindberg. Producer Patrik J. Sten hes a great ear for putting out this style of music, everything is mixed very well and the levels all line up in order to create a full sound that is heavy as hell, but slightly polished as well.
Things get hectic on “Omen”, which is delivered at a breakneck pace, designed for total thrashing and destined to get crowds going crazy. A break from the intensity is found in ‘Solus’, an instrumental focused of melody and power that reminds the listener of “Risk” era Megadeth. Nightrage pay homage to old school thrash metal on the venomous “Reality Vs. Truth”, which closes out the album on a headbanging note, sounding similar to an even more intense The Haunted.
“Descent Into Chaos” is a powerful album on several levels but is not quite the masterpiece that some were looking to hear from this band.
Nightrage had an amazing debut, so when I saw this CD in FYE, I bought it, hoping to get more top-notch Melodeath. Well, I only got a few tracks of that. The songwriting really went downhill here, and in the realm of Melodeath, you can't really afford to be "pretty good".
The guitars are downtuned, and a lot of the riffs are just power chords, which are alright sometimes, but really overdone here. Gus G still comes up with a few really cool riffs, just not enough of them. Tomas Lindberg doesn't sound as great as he usually does. I don't know if it's just the production, but the vocals here aren't what I'm used to hearing from Tomas. The new drummer is an improvement from the old one, and the bass is uh... there somewhere.
There are a few songs that stand out on this CD. The first track, "Being Nothing", is fast and has a good chorus. The main riff in the title track is great, as are the vocals over it in the chorus. My favorite song on here is "Omen". It starts off with a good riff, a has a memorable chorus with a nice drum beat. The last of the song is the best moment on the CD. The power chord backing is a PERFECT headbanging rhythm, and Gus plays a good solo then goes into a melodic lead riff.
"Frozen" looked interesting when I saw it has Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquility, but it's pretty disappointing. He sings exactly one line a few times, and doesn't sound very good doing it. The rest of the songs are average or above-average melodeath.
With Gus G and Tomas Lindberg both having left this band, I must say I'm less than excited about future releases from Nightrage. Maybe they'll release another CD that's even more mediocre and break up. My recommendation: buy the first CD, and download tracks 1, 4, and 8.
I’ve tried so hard to locate a plausible aspect of “Decent into Chaos” that I could indulge in jovially. Yet as I sit at my desk, dumbfounded, left in an empty state of emotions that boarder on feeing lethargic or apathetic about this album, I am beginning to believe that they have managed to become worse than the painfully mediocre “Sweet Vengeance.” Rightfully, my only interest in this outfit, Nightrage, was Kostas Karamitroudis (or Gus G., which I will use from this point on to spare myself from aching wrists) who is most undoubtedly the more talented of his fellow band members. And therefore, I have a certain expectation from Nightrage, not only due to Gus’ fabulous performances in the past, but also his reputation as a virtuoso Guitar icon (which is arguable at best). Nevertheless, the one thing that almost ruined “Sweet Vengeance” for me is abundant on “Decent into Chaos”: everything other than the guitars. Ironically as this band is referred to as “innovative” since they are the “current leaders of the Gothenberg metal scene”, I find that “Decent into Chaos” only limits the one shred of ingenuity Nightrage had on “Sweet Vengeance.” My quarrels with their 2005 release are as follows:
The solos have been panned out slightly, and it is difficult to hear them with clarity (this being most upsetting as good production is something I’ve come to expect from Fredric Nordstrom). And not only were the solos a great strain to hear, but there weren’t even that many of them, not to mention the very abruptness of their inclusion in any song, they go just as quickly as they come. Furthermore, the one triumphant aspect of “Sweet Vengeance” that won me over in the long run was the notion that it wasn’t nearly as formulaic as its Gothenberg brethren, which their new album has abandoned entirely. “Decent into Chaos” is the epitome of assembly-line music, with the exception of one or two tracks, all the songs on this album sounded basically the same, the only real difference between any of them is whether they include a guitar solo or not. This observation has taken the percussion into consideration as well. Which couldn’t be any more one-dimensional, as the predominant pattern that the drummer follows (consistently throughout the whole album) is the tedious Trash beat conjured of nothing but the snare and bass drums being stricken one after the other at a relatively fast pace. I have better things to do.
And finally, the one mistake that ruined this album for me, as it had almost ruined the last release: Thomas Lindberg, the very worst vocalist that has ever existed within the genre of metal. Not only do I find his monotonous bitch-howl the last remaining shackle that prevents the band from escaping the metaphorical shit-dungeon that is the Gothenberg metal scene, but I also think he deserves his own paragraph. Upon my first experience of his singing, I brushed off the hideous performance lightly as a required taste, and assumed that I’d eventually get used to it. Well, that was two years ago! And nothing has changed since.
Therefore, “Decent into Chaos” rightfully receives 40%, as it has grown dependant on the structures that pollute Nightrage’s fellow melodic death metal bands, and because they’ve completely failed to replicate what made their first album any bit enjoyable.
Originaly written for www.thegauntlet.com.
In every musical walk of life, even when a specific style has evolved from one extreme to the next, it will always eventually come full circle and return to its roots. From the early pioneers of melodic death metal like At The Gates more than a decade ago to the ever-growing horde of European acts that have imitated them ever since, the blueprint has hardly changed. American bands followed in suit and threw their own hardcore twist into the music that mathematically added up to metalcore. As an overwhelmingly stale barrage of both sub-scenes flooded the planet, Nightrage came along and placed a sizeable gap right smack in the midst of our all too comfortable course, forcing us to take notice.
Their debut outing Sweet Vengeance, hailed as one of the genre’s finest moments after The Jester Race and Slaughter Of The Soul, saw the band flawlessly merge melody and might in such a way that spun a quaking cyclone that was an exhaustingly intense experience. While the defunct At The Gates were guaranteed their place as Gods among men, In Flames had long fallen from the throne, leaving the seat open to a worthy successor. Many wondered if Nightrage (with Tomas Lindberg at the helm) had what it took to be crowned the new Gothenburg champions. Proving they were far beyond competent and possessed the know-how to reshape the present while reverting back to the original sound, anything seemed possible.
In 2005, much has changed within the Nightrage faction, primarily in the lineup. Whereas Per M. Jensen was bound to The Haunted and acted exclusively as a session drummer on Sweet Vengeance, bassist Brice Leclercq left the band to join in the ‘rebirth’ of Dissection, another legendary Swedish act. With two vacancies to be filled, the core unit (Marios Iliopoulos, Gus G, and Tomas Lindberg) recruited and appointed ex-Septic Flesh skinsman Fotis Bernardo as the official Nightrage drummer, while Cipher System’s own Henric Carlsson was selected to handle low end duties. Now, with a solid squad, the band was prepared for their Descent Into Chaos.
On their second and highly anticipated venture, we find that the new Nightrage effort is both impressive and disappointing in nature. The band is much tighter as a whole in their execution of the songs, however, there are large gaps of uninspiring moments every so often. When I listen to Descent Into Chaos, I feel it was somehow Americanized behind the scenes, like metalcore played an influential role in the album's creation. Granted, this album is a lot more appealing than most metalcore releases, it still doesn’t feel completely right. No, there aren’t any piledriving breakdowns, so all you moshcore kiddies who were about to orgasm, put your tool away. Nightrage seem as if they are giving a big middle finger (and maybe a slight nod) in what could be taken as a metaphorical ‘Anything you can do, we can do better!’. This sort of rivalry has gone on between America and Europe since the beginning of time, so it’s really nothing shocking.
“What do fans of the first Nightrage disc have to look forward to”, you ask? Well, while Descent Into Chaos isn’t quite as definitive of a release, it is still good old fashion Swedish melodic death played by the book. Melody is still the name of the game, though the aim here is undoubtedly a pummeling thick heaviness that is guaranteed to knock you on your ass. A booming rhythm section backs the dueling twin guitar harmonies that the genre just couldn’t do without, while Tomas Lindberg’s belligerent shriek sets the mood for the occasion.
All in all, this is almost what you would expect the follow up to Sweet Vengeance to sound like. An extra treat sees a guest appearance by Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity fame on the track “Frozen”. Unfortunately, his clean vocal segments are brief and sound more like Killswitch Engage than those of anything he has ever done in DT. While Descent Into Chaos is essentially a fine album, I am fearful for the future of Nightrage. The direction they are leaning may mean failure for the next album as far as what fans of the genre have come to expect. Naturally, everyone will have their own opinions, though.
Nightrage's sophmore album is one I was looking foward to as I loved the first, but this is somewhat not as good. It's not the absence of Tomas Englund (Evergrey) either.
Everything on this album, was on the first. The guitar tone, the style of music. This is just a slightly altered blueprint of Sweet Vengeance, the production is slightly different, but not by much. Every description that could be given with the first album, fits perfectly here. Which isn't bad by any means, it's just that the material isn't as strong this time around. It makes me wonder why they made any alteration to the production at all, should have used the same method as before.
Tomas Lindberg who is always phenomenal, isn't too spectacular here. Maybe it's the production, but his voice sounds too low in the mix which isn't good. Tompa's performance demands a front and center posistion. Other than that, everything else is up to snuff, the playing here is excellent, tight and percise. But what drags this album down is the material. Gone are the signature sky rocket leads and beautiful melodic breaks, which made Sweet Vengeance so spectacular. As mentioned previously, Tomas Englund of Evergrey fame is here also, which I enjoy because I don't like him anyways.
Though this album is a bit monotonous at times, there are a few really awesome songs here. The opener 'Being Nothing' is crushing with a nice lead, 'Poems' is catchy, sounds Shadow's Fallish in the lead section, but is good. 'Frozen' is amazing, it's their most experimental song yet. 'Drug' also sounds in the vein of Shadow's Fall, as does 'Release'. The instrumental 'Solus' is amazing as well. There is a lot of love on this album.
While it does sound like Shadow's Fall alot, this is still Nightrage so don't worry. Nightrage newcomers, Sweet Vengeance should be your first destination, but if you like that, than by all means, Descent into Chaos is right up your alley.
On an added note, Nightrage haven't on here and probably will ever top 'Hero' from their debut. Stunning.
For a couple reasons, I was a bit sceptical of this album's validity. (And it's for the most part, never really left me) For one, the line-up has taken quite a change since the last release. But, the key members are still here. Gus G., Marios Illiopoulos, and Thomas Lindberg. The other reason being, the first release felt good at first, but in time, it became mediocre to me. The sound has evolved little. It has, however, taken a bit of an American metal feel.
Tomas' vocal performance is average. Here, he sounds the exact same as he does on every other of the ridiculous amount of other releases he's been on. Harsh, from the throat and pretty high-ended ... chances are, you don't need me to explain what his vocals sound like.
The drummer on this album, Fotis Benardo, is a upgrade from previous drummer, Per Jensen. He's more technical and tighter ... nothing spectacular though, I'm afraid.
Gus G. of course, puts on a good show. It's possibly the CDs only real saving grace. This CDs by no means bad, but it's just no anything new, or "above and beyond" ... the songs range from somewhat thrashy, to pushing the poppy sound of the new wave of melodic death metal. It's really been pushed too far. In observing that, I have to say, some of these songs are a bit radio sounding, with lines sung here and there with a echo effect on. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that the song "Frozen" sounds a bit like Killswitch Engage.
There are redeeming tracks like Drug, that are more death metal sounding, and gallops along nicely. Gus' riffs are also at times, such as on "Drug" tinted with a vague Greek folk sound. It's a very nice change of pace, from the otherwise completely standard sound of the album.
Other tracks just have really solid riffs, but are simply repeated to much, like Omen. You're then forced to ignore the fact that there's some decent riffs, because it's just so drawn out, making it dull. The guitar will be doing such silly, weak riffs in the background at times, you'll hardly even think there is a guitar playing ... The album tends to get even more repetitive and elongated as it goes ... up to track 10, where we have an instrumental. It's a fair break from the monotony of the CD thus far.
By the end of the CD, I pretty much felt like I was only listening to about three different songs over and over again. Reality Vs. Truth will start off making you think it's going to sound completely different, but really doesn't ... over all, this CD is a disappointed, though I wasn't expecting it to be on the "CDs of the year" list or anything.
I can't really recommend this. If you're a big fan of some certain members of the band, give it a shot - otherwise, it's all standard to sub-standard, often times monotonous melodeath, with some good solos ... probably not worth your time.