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Familiar heroism - 80%

gasmask_colostomy, July 26th, 2017

Even considering that Swedish melodeath was just about burnt out by 2003, it would be incorrect to believe that Nightrage represent a mere footnote on the scene. Sure, Marios Iliopoulos is Greek and so is Gus G, who he took along for the ride on this debut effort, but any album that bounces as furiously out of the gates on such hooky venom as 'The Tremor' and features vocals by none other than Tomas Lindberg is bound to be associated more with Scandinavia than the Mediterranean. In any case, regardless of scenes and countries, Sweet Vengeance remains a stirring cocktail of melody and fury to this day.

The key ingredients of this music are fairly simple and well-known, though that doesn't stop them being effective when executed with passion and panache. The rhythm guitar is about as incisive as a surgeon's scalpel, sharpened riffs ripping at the listener in tandem with Lindberg's raw voice, while the folky melodies that swell and soar alternate between joyful sunlight and glowering dark clouds. Riffwise, Slaughter of the Soul is a clear benchmark for Nightrage, since Iliopoulos attempts the same jagged sprint that marked songs such as 'Blinded by Fear', while In Flames are also influential for much of the work in 'Gloomy Daydreams', the slower, loping riffs and more pleasing melodies doing justice to the Swedes' work from Colony. For all the similarity to those familiar names, Sweet Vengeance does just about manage to form its own identity, remaining at a pleasing intensity throughout 'Macabre Apparitions' and 'The Tremor' that combines the flat-out brutish death thrash of Hatesphere at their best with the same kind of pissed intensity that The Haunted generated early in their career. Perhaps it is significant that Per Moller Jensen was the session drummer for the album, since his performances in The Haunted inform some of the beats here, even if he intersperses them with more typical melodeath and some heavier extreme parts.

Aside from that minor point of departure, Sweet Vengeance needs to have great songs to make itself hit the heights at which the band aim. It's difficult to declare this a total success because of the degree of similarity to other bands and the slight homogeneity of the 10 full songs here, but Iliopoulos and crew do a good job at ensuring everything leaves an impression. The more aggressive songs satisfy me more because the sound has been used less extensively than the chug-and-melody In Flames style, though the level of melodic invention and soaring emotion that smokes off the slowish 'Circle of Pain' or 'The Glow of the Setting Sun' proves that Gus G was the right choice to supplement the alternately delicate clean and strident heavy riffing. Another noteworthy feature of this type of song is the contribution of Tom Englund of Evergrey, who provides clean vocals over the soft introductions, as well as at a couple of other points on the album. His voice is the polar opposite of Lindberg's, all rough edges shorn and heartstrings ready for the tugging, though the effect is rather similar in that both vocalists give emotional performances that increase the glory of the band's big sound, even if Englund does edge towards cheese at times. On the other hand, it is certainly due to the combined efforts of the two singers that 'At the Ends of the Earth' leaves a favourable final impression, coasting menacingly on a riff quite different to the usual sprint and twostep as Englund eulogizes the spiteful verses that Lindberg sets up.

Listening to this album in isolation from other bands of Nightrage's ilk would leave the impression that the group had made something truly magnificent, especially because of the scale that the songs manage to attain. For instance, there is something heroic in the way that 'Elusive Emotion' allows keyboards to drift in and melodies to battle away after the two minute mark, before Gus G drops his sweet lead fruit and the swell of keys magnifies Lindberg's visceral roars into one last chorus. Most of the songs have this kind of scope to them, meaning that the album meshes very well as a whole and can present a certain kind of atmosphere that is frequently lacking in the genre. Nevertheless, listening to this album after one of Dark Tranquillity's early offerings or alongside something by Kalmah is likely to draw unfavourable comparisons about the level of creativity and fresh ideas injected into each song. Despite avoiding too many typical verse-chorus-verse structures, the progress of individual compositions is slightly predictable and contains few moments that could be called adventurous, barring the successful change-up for 'At the Ends of the Earth'. The rhythm players tend to drop fairly few surprises, Brice Leclercq turning in a functional bass performance and Moller Jensen displaying several drumming styles but no attention-grabbing moments. Likewise, the deployment of melodies and leads is controlled to such an extent and remains within a narrow enough range that the initial danger of 'The Tremor' never returns to the album.

Sweet Vengeance is thus not a release to be sniffed at, but nor welcomed with such open arms as many melodeath disciples seem to have done. The playing is quality and the songs well-written, though the lack of fresh ideas and unexpected moments makes this merely good as opposed to special. As a side note, I have a reissued version with an extended demo of 'Gloomy Daydreams', which is interesting as opposed to good, the levels being messed up and some rough vocals (maybe Iliopoulos's, though I can't remember) taking some getting used to, especially as they sometimes sound like Dani Filth. Therefore, don't worry about the bonus track, but certainly check this out if you can't get enough of Gothenburg's most famous export.

Thank you Nightrage - 100%

The_Boss, November 3rd, 2007

Nightrage is a supergroup of metal musicians from all around the metal spectrum, all highly talented and several have made a grand impact in the community. The remarkably talented Gus G displaying his godly riffage all around from power metal roundhouse kick Firewind to the unholy attack that is Mystic Prophecy to the legends Dream Evil. His contribution here on "Sweet Vengeance" is extraordinary and essential to aid in creating this melodic death metal masterpiece. He easily surpasses all expectations and shows a wide array of versatility and adaptation by being a part of Nightrage. His riffs are top notch and original melodic death attacks, varying from all out attack to grooving beauty.

The other biggest name involved with Nightrage is the legend himself, Tomas Lindberg. I'm a fan of At the Gates and all their glory, but I state here that this single album is Tomas's shining glory, his best work and better than all of At the Gates's material. What a statement that is. Tomas gives an unbelievable performance that rips all competition out of the water, slaying all those who have tried in vain to reproduce his orgasmic rasp. His voice sounds out of this world, he has such passion in his voice on "Sweet Vengeance" that is sounds as if he is truly in pain on such songs like The Glow of the Setting Sun and Elusive Emotion. The former being his best performance on the album where he vocally owns the melodic death metal world with that catchy chorus. When the song finishes, you'll immediately go back and his play again and sing along - it's that catchy. He spits the words out rapidly making the listener his bitch, forcing you to sing along, forcing you to listen and feel his tortured agony.

The overall music experience you'll be encounter here is a journey through a world of pain and agony displayed through the vocals of Tomas mixed with relentless riffs brought forth by Gus G and Marios Iliopoulos and they'll produce melodious and often complex (what would you expect it's Gus G) solos that melt your skin and then sow it back together. They weave in and out of each other performing like a solid duo making their performance even more solid and the impact more profound. I don't mean for Gus G to steal all the credit, Marios is equally as talented and adequate a guitarist and shines just as much - I also give him credit where credit is due for continuing the band to it's current state with the loss of members. The drums make their presence known in each song pounding the hell out of your ears with intense double bass and in a typical melodic death metal fashion. The bass does it's job accompanying the guitarists playing along doing it's duty.

Tom Englund also guest stars with clean vocals on a couple songs, most notably doing an excellent job on Hero where his passage is done with great emotion. Just like in Evergrey, Tom does not disappoint and I'm glad he offers his powerful voice.

There are no bad songs on this album, no filler - only highlights, which is every song. But there are higher-highlights that top the list which would be; The Glow of the Setting Sun, Hero, Elusive Emotion, Macabre Apparition - which is also odd, these all have the best and catchiest choruses, which again all goes back to Tomas Lindberg the mold of the music that puts it all back together. I can fully guarentee if was any other harsh vocalist not Tomas, this album would drop at least 15 points because his music fits absofuckinglutly perfect with the music. Not to say the music is bad, but together these guys sound like a real mature and professional band that has been together for years - AND THIS IS JUST A DEBUT!

Holy fuck this is impressive, this is Nightrage's best work in their career, not anything else after this comes close. This is top notch melodic death metal done right and you will be hard pressed to find anything out nowadays to come close - let alone at all. Thank you Tomas, I mean Nightrage!

Great experience. - 95%

Malentor, August 10th, 2007

When I bought this album, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd heard that Tomas Lindberg was doing the vocals, along with a guest appearance from my all time favorite vocalist Tom Englund from Evergrey. Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised when the CD started spinning! I'll give the album an overall rating and look into some of the enjoyable songs:

The album starts out with a blast of heavy energy as "The Tremor" shakes its way towards your ears. The initial "riffage" is supported well by Tomas Lindberg's screams and trademark growls. Last part sports some good riffs for headbanging, and overall, it's an OK track, but it's not too memorable.

"The Glow of the Setting Sun" is a memorable track, and one of the better on the album, it's very melodic and sports some great riffs which are backed up by a memorable chorus. Furthermore the solo which sports a great harmony by Marios Iliopoulos and Gus G, is pretty rocking. Great track, and I find myself humming it from time to time.

"In My Heart" is my second favorite track on the record, and overall by the band. The riffs and even the lyrics are very memorable, not to mention the solo which has to be experienced, for one to truly appreciate the orgasmic sound Marios and Gus pull off! Thumbs up!

"Ethereal" is without a single doubt the best track on the album. The prevalent riff and awesome drum work is again matched perfectly by the somewhat screechy vocals of Tomas, and supported in the chorus by Tom Englund who lifts the dark mood of the song with his powerful voice. Again this track features an amazing solo which you simply have to experience. If this had been the only catchy tune on the album, I would still have recommended you to buy it, because it's just that good. Thumbs up! Godt gået.

The album signs off with a catchy instrumental called "The Howls of the Wolves" which is a nice soothing experience on top of the heavy riffs and pounding drums of the earlier songs.

All in all, I would recommend this album to anyone who appreciate the melodic death metal style native to scandinavia. In my oppinion, this is the best album by Nightrage, and only a couple of songs on their newer albums are worth listening to, their newest album almost sinking into hardcore hell. Buy this album, and only check out the newer ones if you're sure you can handle a mediocre experience from a band that put this great piece of melodic metal together.

Easily among the finest melodic death metal albums - 93%

abatzkon, November 20th, 2006

“Sweet Vengeance” is not only one of the best outputs the new wave of Swedish death metal scene has ever put out. It is aggressive metal in its best shape and form in 2000s.

To begin with, readers of any review on this album should know that “Sweet Vengeance” is the work of art of a band that at the time consisted of an all-star cast for which responsible was Marios Iliopoulos the main song writer, riff master and mastermind behind “Nightrage”. The members for the band back then, were Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates) – vocals, Gus G (Dream Evil, Firewind) – guitar, Per Moller Jensen (The Haunted) – drums and Brice Leclercq - bass.

Musically “Sweet Vengeance” successfully merges different metal styles. The most evident influence is obviously Swedish death metal but a good listener can trace sings of American power metal and classic heavy metal. I’m sure that Marios Iliopoulos spent his early days listening to bands with diverse backgrounds. Having said that, “Nightrage” in their first album sound like a perfect mix between bands such as “At the Gates” and “Metallica”. In “Sweet Vengeance” you will find anything from blast beats to acoustic guitar parts. Yes, the album is diverse and as a result no two songs sound alike. Songs are definitely different in form and sound but they all share one common characteristic… and that is that all songs are killer, “no filler” material.

Marios Iliopoulos is an excellent song writer. He manages to ideally combine his most brutal riffs with the most astonishing melodies and truly most impressive harmonies. The solo work is unquestionably magnificent. In the creative process of writing solos Marios rightly employs his well known “blood brother” Gus G, whose solo technique is beyond any critique. The result is destined to leave listeners with wide open mouths. To be honest with you I have yet to hear an album with so powerful harmonies and so strong solo work.

Brice Leqlercq assumes the role of the bass player. Being a guitarist however, he is not able to add a low end layer to the music. For most of this album he duplicates Marios Iliopoulos’ guitar parts and so the bass frequency is not that audible throughout the album. Of course it’s not absent either. Nevertheless, the result would sound three dimensional if the bass lines were written by a professional bass player.

I have heard some people say that the drum work in the album is substandard. Well, I think that sometimes because of the technical side of metal music in general, we tend to forget that song writing should entail more than just the chops of each band member. In this sense, I would like to say that Per Moller Jensen is doing a wonderful work on the drums. The drums sound phenomenal and the patterns are just suitable to the music. Remember the mighty riff comes first. The drums are there to create a solid foundation along with the bass guitar upon which riffs, harmonies and solos can be built naturally. That’s exactly what the drums are about in “Sweet Vengeance”. Personally I dig them big time!

The album makes use of keyboards in certain occasions in the most prudent way however. The aforementioned is especially achieved in “Elusive Emotion” where the presence of keyboards in the chorus is literally uplifting the entire song.

The vocals in this album should definitely not be a mystery for Lindberg’s fans. The voice of “Tompa” is at optimum form here as the singer really tears his vocal chords apart in every singe song, making sure he sounds like some kind of monster from a George Romero film. Tom S. Englund from “Evergrey” lends his melodic voice in several songs. Together with “Tompa” they make quite a duel and songs such as “Hero”, “Ethereal” and “Circle of Pain” best illustrate this odd but successful in the end vocal merger.

The lyrics will make perfect sense to those who are aware of what Marios Iliopoulos went through in order to make his vision of “Nightrage” come true. They are full of the pain, suffering and strain this man had to endure throughout his artistic career in order to finally accomplish his long-term goal of succeeding in this extremely competitive industry.

Fredrik Nordstrom is responsible for the engineering, mixing and production of this album in the famous Fredman Studios. It is therefore needless to say anything more concerning the quality of the recording process and the sound of the end-result. The only fault as it was highlighted earlier is the not so present bass frequency for which as explained before Fredrik Nordstrom is not responsible.

All in all, a truly great album no matter the angle one is looking at it from. I consider this a must have album for the fans of the Swedish death metal scene and I’m sure most of them already have it in their collection. As I said before however, “Sweet Vengeance” entails many other musical elements and therefore is beyond doubt suited for listeners of other metal genres as well. Make sure you get your copy of this excellent album.

Stand outs: "The Tremor", “Hero”, “Elusive Emotion”, “In my Heart”, “Ethereal”, “Circle of Pain”.

Sweet Vengeance is correct! - 93%

Justin_Bork, December 23rd, 2004

This album is excellent. Killer riffs, memorable solo's, catchy melodies, an awesome vocalist, competent drumming and seriously good production. The only low point, that subtracts from the overall score, is Evergrey's Tomas Englund, his parts are really out of place and quite frankly, he doesn't sound enough like Tomas Lindberg for a pairing to be any good. The two together don't create a melancholy or "heaven and hell" contrast which was probably intended. They just don't fit well together.

Aside from that, all else on this album is exquisite and makes this a definitive modern metal release. The guitars have the signature flight that makes the gothenburg scene what it is, rarely ever does it get boring. Nightrage has constructed some serious melody here and it rules. It doesn't have the licks of say, early In Flames, but that doesn't subtract from the music at all.

The drums aren't anything special, but do the job, the cymbals could be a bit louder as they sound a bit muddled, but it's not a problem. The double bass work is pretty above average as well. Nothing to write home about, but the drums are quite good.

The vocals, Tomas Lindberg performs, nuff said, they rule. As for Tomas Englund, luckily his parts are very few, as he is guilty of over singing, he's the reason I can't get into Evergrey, he's not a bad vocalist perse, he's just not for me. His part in 'Circle of Pain' I find laughable, but that's just me.

While all the songs here rule everything, the best ones are "Hero", "Gloomy Daydreams" "Macabre Appirition", & "Ethereal". Those four best showcase Nightrage' abilites.

Great band, great album. Highly recomended for open minded metal fans. You really can't go wrong here.

REAL MUSIC anyone??!! - 95%

SoulSeekJay, July 15th, 2004

Nightrage was originally founded in Greece by Marios Iliopoulos (ex- Exhumation) and Gus G. (Dream Evil), now in 2003 they live in Gothenburg and on the album Tomas Lindberg (ex- At The Gates) did the vocals, Brice Leclerc the bass and Per Jensen (The Haunted) played the drums, Tom Englund (Evergrey) also did additional clean vocal-parts.

With such a line-up this album has to be good and Nightrage fullfill all our dreams and present one of the best Melodic Death Metal albums I've heard in a very long time!

It was recorded in Studio Fredman and produced by Fedrik Nordström. But Nightrage aren't just a cheap copy of At The Gates, to classic melodic death metal they add their own blend of originality and especially the changing between the hellish fast brutal in-your-face melodies and the laid back rocking parts give this record a very special touch!

My absolutely favourite on the album is "Macabre Apparition" it features the most brutal and purest side of their music, all fast & evil. They often use twin guitar harmonies that sound like early Iron Maiden, BUT Nightrage took them into the year 2003.

Besides the sophisticated drum & bass work, the vocals are great as always and could be compared to his latest work with The Crown "Crowned In Terror".

The last song called "The Howls Of The Wolves" is a calm instrumental song with acoustic guitars and the right end for such a smasher-album. I hope this isn't just a short studio project and that these guys will do more records and that I may be blessed to see them in concert! Please God!

NIGHTRAGE 'Sweet Vengeance' - 92%

HarleyAtMetalReview, June 10th, 2004

When guitarist Marios Iliopoulos was forced out of his band of ten years, Greece's highly acclaimed death metal outfit EXHUMATION, perhaps he got mad, but he certainly got even. Relocating to Sweden, he began his quest of finding like-minded musicians interested in being a part of what would shortly become NIGHTRAGE.

Answering Marios' call was fellow shredder and long-time confidant Gus G. (known for his outstanding work in DREAM EVIL, MYSTIC PROPHECY, and FIREWIND.), legendary screamer Tomas Lindberg (AT THE GATES, THE CROWN, GREAT DECEIVER, and LOCK UP), drummer Per M. Jensen (THE HAUNTED), clean vocalist Tom S. Englund (EVERGREY), and rounding out the line-up, the as of yet known French bassist, Brice Leclercq. Now, with his battalions assembled, Marios prepares for "Sweet Vengeance".

Recorded at the famous Studio Fredman with producer extraordinaire Fredrik Nordstrom (ARCH ENEMY, IN FLAMES, OPETH, etc.), "Sweet Vengeance" overflows with bombastic bursts of enraged melodic death coercion, a la DIMENSION ZERO, with tranquil acoustic passages here and there. Each song blasts forth with memorable riffing and stellar drum work, topped off with vicious shrieks of retribution and pain.

"Sweet Vengeance" is a promising beginning for NIGHTRAGE, with essential moments being the punishing opener "The Tremor", "Hero", "At The Ends Of The Earth" (both of which feature impeccable vocal interplay between Tomas and Tom), and the savage "Macabre Apparition".

The albums’ closing track, "The Howls Of The Wolves", is a serene instrumental that may be metaphorically stating that Marios is now at ease within himself after finally unleashing the elusive emotions that had been tormenting him for far too long. Certainly, vengeance is his.

- Harley Carlson

Excellent Job! - 95%

corviderrant, March 27th, 2004

Normally I find melodic death metal acknowledges the melody more than the brutality, therefore rendering it rather weak and ineffectual much of the time. Exceptions to the rule being the old In Flames albums and Children of Bodom, and this album throughly conjures up memories of what In Flames used to be before they wussed out and went nu-metal mallcore on us.

Tomas Lindberg, well, he sounds like Tomas Lindberg--the usual belligerent, homicidal shriek we've come to know and love. But the singer for Evergrey guests on clean vocals and really makes a huge difference with his impassioned delivery and soulfulness, really adding a new level of emotion to this album. On top of this is the fact that the guitars are stellar; the riffing, the soloing, the melodies, it's all good! They really let it all go on this album guitarwise, and it works well. The album is ruled by equal parts melody and heaviness, more on the melodic side, but is still incredibly strong throughout. Excellent production as well only makes this more a treat for me. Standouts? For me, I especially like "Hero", "Gloomy Daydreams", and "Ethereal", where the clean singer (can't recall his name offhand) really shines in particular with his layered vocal harmonies. Check this out, you won't be disappointed.

Delivering the goods - 87%

PainMiseryDeath, November 20th, 2003

Nightrage are one of those metal super groups featuring members from At the Gates, Exhumation, Dream Evil, Evergrey, and The Haunted. The fact that Gus G from Dream Evil (among other bands) and Marios Iliopoulos from Exhumation are in this band is what sparked my interest. Upon my first listen I was delivered the goods, an album of melodic and intricate death metal. Nightrage employ a lot of tempo variations and interesting time changes and really keeps things from sounding repetitive. Hard hitting drums emphasize chugging, shredding, razor sharp twin guitar riffs. Vocally, vocalist Tomas Lindberg delivers the goods (At the Gates/The Crown style of course), while “melodic vocalist” Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) offers contrasting vocal lines in a more traditional singing style. I have not heard very much Evergrey, but Tom does a real good job, and adds a new level to the songs he sings on (Circle of Pain is the prime example of this). The production, needs no complains, a damn fine sounding album.

There is a standout song, Elusive Emotion, track 4. I like the song so much I would say it is worth buying this cd for this song...not to underrate the other songs but this song just kills...argh!! KILLS!