Nightmare - Dead Sun

11 songs
53:21 minutes
***** ****


Nightmare are a heavy metal band from the French Alps that has been around since 1979. Since then there have been countless line-up changes and ten studio albums. Currently bass guitarist Yves Campion is the only remaining founding member, and with nearly sixty years also much older than his colleagues. Since The Aftermath from 2014, the band hired a new vocalist and a new drummer.

The biggest change is that the band decided to opt for a female vocalist. Maggy Luyten from Belgium who did in the past vocals for Ayreon is definitely an asset for Nightmare. She has a very powerful voice which fortunately neither turns into growl territory à la Arch Enemy nor yield to frail symphonic metal impersonations.

Since a long time, Nightmare have stood for a healthy mix of heavy and power metal, and Dead Sun consequently follows in those footsteps. The album offers throughout its course powerful guitar riffs and a really vigorous rhythm section. The songs are rarely played at an elevated pace but still contain enough heaviness to maintain a necessary amount of dynamics. Red Marble & Gold and Inner Sanctum are two of the band’s fiercer tracks that offer uncompromising metal. Overall the band puts their emphasis on more melodic material, as can be heard on the excellent opener Infected and on Seeds Of Agony which ends with a children’s choir. The catchiest track on the album is Ikarus, even though it eventually turns into a thrash metal territory. On Serpentine, for which the band made a video clip, we get guest vocals by Darkology’s Kelly Carpenter which makes for some more variety. On Indifference you can hear the band from its darker side. The only criticism I can come up with is that the album is maybe a little too long, as despite good songwriting, the ideas eventually keep repeating themselves.

I had the opportunity to see the band perform live at a female metal festival in Eindhoven two month before the release of Dead Sun, and have to say that Nightmare were among the highlights of the twenty-five bands that played there. This year the band wants to play lots of live shows again, starting in February with their participation at the 7000 Tons of Metal cruise through the Caribbean.

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