Published Apr 24, 2015Nightrage are best known as Tomas "Tompa" Lindberg's safest post-At the Gates project (read: most similar to the band that made him a household name). Crafting melodic death metal in the vein of Gothenburg's finest is hard enough on its own and only worsened by the pressure of Tompa's presence. However, the Greeks and Swedes in Nightrage pulled it off remarkably for two albums before suffering the loss of not one but two assets: the aforementioned vocalist to his litany of other projects and guitarist Gus G. to Ozzy Osbourne. After treading water on two subsequent releases, the band returned with Insidious, skirting any "three strikes and you're out" jokes, and now they've released The Puritan, one that finds them crossing home plate.
The opening title track puts the pedal to the metal, so to speak, with the opening solo of "With a Blade of a Knife" continuing the momentum. However, sequencing The Puritan in similar fashion to their career, Nightrage rein in the intensity on the next five tracks, including the vocally power-metal-laden chorus of "Desperate Vows."
Just when you thought the band weren't about to come up out of the water of the mid-paced meddling — which isn't bad on its own but nearly drags on too long — they burst out with the blastbeats of "Son of Sorrow" and the blinding "When Gold Turns to Rust." Avoiding a dependence on speed, "Fathomless" puts an emphasis on the melodic part of the equation, with the lead riff bringing to mind In Flames' anthems. "Kiss of a Sycophant" is a return to galloping form, as is The Puritan itself. (Despotz)