Nightrage

Manticora – To Kill to Live to Kill Review

Manticora – To Kill to Live to Kill Review

“Of all the hundreds of underground power metal acts that you will never, ever hear of, Manticora is one of only a handful deserving of widespread recognition. For twenty years and over the course of seven records, these good Danish boys have gradually shed their former obsession with Blind Guardian and Iced Earth, growing proggier and thrashier with each passing release to become one of the genre’s most stylistically distinct acts. Even with their evolutionary tendencies in mind, though, I could not have predicted the forward leap that To Kill to Live to Kill represents.” Nature or suture.

Nightrage – The Venomous Review

Nightrage – The Venomous Review

“Sometimes, context is everything. Take Greek/Swedish melodeath stalwarts Nightrage and their 2005 release, Descent into Chaos. During a time when our digital voraciousness was yet gestating, the general availability of music limited, and my taste still fully receptive of Gothenburg metal, the subjective value of that objectively passable album became immense. Great riffs and melodies, catchy hooks, and an innate sort of aggressiveness bedazzled me. Listening to it today, it sounds good, if unremarkable and most certainly not at the level of some of the classics of the genre. Context, like I said, matters the most.” Nostalgia has limits.

Nothing Lies Beyond – Fragile Reality Review

Nothing Lies Beyond – Fragile Reality Review

“Nostalgia is a dragon that almost always eludes our grasp, because we’ve grown and the things we used to love are still essentially the same. While some things like Super Mario 64 will never lose their appeal, others will. So it was with Nothing Lies Beyond, a band so sonically entrenched in the days of 2005-2009 that I was basically transported back to my high school years.” Sounds of a playground…rising!

Amaranthe – The Nexus Review

Amaranthe – The Nexus Review

As a young boy I learned a really important lesson at the hands of one of my favorite bands, Europe. Sure, you laugh, but I was and it was the ’80s, so I was well within my rights to listen to Europe. In 1984, Sweden’s very own, very popular foray into glam rock released a record called Wings of Tomorrow. The album cover was simple. An armored bird of prey, in profile against a red planet cradled in a vast blanket of stars, ready to attack an unseen foe. Five-year-old me was in awe. My unconstrained imagination transported me into space with this mighty, ironclad hawk, to fight futuristic wars. This set the stage for a magical listening experience and the record is still one of my favorites. When I finally got around to The Final Countdown something important had changed: the cover was five poofy haired dudes in space. No suspension of disbelief, no imagination, just Swedish glam rockers in space. And the record? Well, it had one great song… and in retrospect a lot of stinkers. At that moment, an important seed of distrust of bands with their own pictures on the cover of a record was instilled in me. If a band isn’t creative enough to come up with a cool record cover, that band probably isn’t creative enough to write really good music.