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Nightrage - A New Disease Is Born Review

by Matt Hensch

Nightrage joined the ranks of fabulous melodic death metal bands within a small slice of time because of their first two albums, both of which were great. With the help of Gus G. and former At the Gates singer Tomas Lindberg, the supergroup presented their golden form of Gothenburg in 2003 with Sweet Vengeance, and Decent into Chaos in 2005. Nightrage seemed to have everything going well until Gus. G and Lindberg suddenly left the group. With the core members of the band gone, it became questionable whether or not Nightrage could produce quality music, but they quickly bounced back in 2007 with a fresh line-up and a new album. Though it isn't a comeback of the ages, Nightrage's A New Disease Is Born proves the band can still function as a whole without the members they once had.

Besides the clear Gothenburg overtones, there has been a musical evolution in Nightrage's identity, the likes of which blossom throughout this record in several unusual and unique ways. Shredders Marios Iliopoulos and Constantine hurl a series of catchy melodic death riffs that exploit the nature of Nightrage's Gothenburg roots with clever solos and harmonies. Unlike Nightrage's first two full-length releases, A New Disease Is Born captures a vast assortment of multiple riff changes throughout the album's total duration. Experimental elements are brought into play when the heavy riffing subsides, and clean guitar bridges take over the melodic tendencies into something much softer and prominent. The only bothersome condition of this release is the repetitive formula each track is based upon. You can expect the shift between heavy material and feathery interludes during most of the tunes here; it seems great at first, but the interest will be chipped after so many predictable intervals.

The replacement of Tomas Lindberg in the vocal category was a grueling task Nightrage had to face, but their decision to settle on Jimmie Strimell was a wise move for both band and singer. Strimell is a multi-talented vocalist; he can growl, scream, narrate, and sing while maintaining a sense of balance in his performance. The benefits of having a member that can alter various vocal positions are a key part in Nightrage's progression during this album. The stable symmetry between the diversified vocal categories allows expansion of experimental qualities and different musical styles. Strimell's growls are low and powerful during heavier parts, yet the singer is able to covert his voice into a beautiful clean style during soft passages. Strimell can't touch Lindberg's masterful work on Sweet Vengeance or Decent into Chaos but he does do a great job filling in Nightrage's vocal gaps throughout A New Disease Is Born.

Though this isn't a work of perfection, A New Disease Is Born is an important stage in Nightrage's aging. With Gus G. and Tomas Lindberg gone, Nightrage must now live on without the experience of musicians that once helped this melodic death squad. With past members having let go of Nightrage's hand to force a mature upbringing, the group is beginning to change; it's not quite the quality they aimed for, but things are looking up. Don't they grow up fast?

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