Nightmare, "Silent Room"
I wasnít quite sure what to expect from this one, but the pieces quickly fell into place. Nightmare are a French band whoíve been around forever (okay, just since the early 80ís) and reformed after a 12 year hiatus in the late 1990ís. And what do you know, they play melodic metal; I was almost fooled by the cover. Okay, so Iím not up on my relatively obscure French melodic metal bands from the 1980ísÖ talk about an esoteric data set!... so Iím not sure how this one compares to their earlier output. But how does it compare to the hordes of metal bands currently scaling the walls of commericial viability?
Nightmare arenít going to be knocking off any of the metal lords, but they do make a good showing, befitting a band with this much experience. Jo Amoreís vocals prick the ears right away, heís got a gritty voice which really works well with the music. When heís backed up by the ďbig choir soundĒ, the contrast is excellent. Everyone else can play well enough, of course; bands donít get this far without quality metal warriors manning the parapets. The guitar work is up front, helping to give an aggressive feel to the compositions. Alex Hilbert and Nicko De Dominicis are adept at the different styles necessary for this songs to succeed; good rhythm playing and melodically sound solos (around the 3:30 mark in ďPrisoner of the System is a good example). A lot of the aggression comes from the pacing of the guitars, which donít always race along even if drums (David Amore) and bass (Yves Campion) are quick stepping it. I guess thatís how they avoid the power metal tag; itís splitting hairs though, since itís certainly got power elements. Iím getting sick of the endless metal subdivisionsÖ itís all one metal ghetto to me these days.
Itís a concept album centered on a guy addicted to a MMORPG (or Massive Multi Player Online Role Playing Game) when things go terribly wrong. Everquest widows everywhere, this is the soundtrack to your life! The story unfolds logically enough; I wonít ruin the experience by delving into it. All in all, this is often quite good music, though itís not going to incite the hordes to riot. Solid playing, a concept thatís not based on Atlantis (thank youÖ!), and clean production; what more can one ask for? Vive la French melodic metal scene!