Once again The Maestro finds himself in a situation where he got an album from a band he knew zero, zilch, nada about. And once again said album has brought a big ol’smile to his face!! The band is NIGHTMARE, and the album is The Aftermath. Apparently these guys put out records in 1984 and ’85, then dropped off the grid till 1999 when former drummer Jo Amore stepped up to the mic (literally) and handed the sticks to younger brother David. Since then there have been six studio records, and The Aftermath is number seven. Lucky number seven if you ask me. This is a record that will have people talking, and in a good way. THIS is metal done right! There are elements of DIO and JUDAS PRIEST as well as some NWOBHM acts, but their sound is still their own.
After a spoken intro comes “Bringer of a No Man’s Land” with a riff that moves like a hot knife through butter and a chorus that urges you to sing along and try to match Amore’s range. Not gonna happen, bubba. “Forbidden Tribe” is next, the younger Amore controlling the pace with a slow, but busy rhythm. “Necromancer” is all guns blazing from start to finish and one of the album’s best along with my personal favorite “Invoking Demons”. This one has that total DIO feel from albums like The Last In Line and Holy Diver, with an intro that builds and just feeds the monster until it completely erupts in your face in all its heavy metal glory! Franck Milleliri and Matt Asselbergs are a guitar force to be reckoned with, and it especially shows here. Fuck, I can only imagine this song live!
As soon as you catch the riffs on “I Am Immortal” if you’re not already converted then you will be. The chorus is soaring, and you can hear bassist Yves Campion thumping away in time to Amore’s double bass. Even the melody on the verses is uplifting and anthemic, Jo Amore nails it, he really does. There’s a great solo section on this one as well. The carnage continues with “Digital DNA” and “Ghost in the Mirror”, two more heavies that will beat you into submission, “Ghost” employing some evil growled vocals late in the song. Seven tracks in and NIGHTMARE show absolutely NO signs of slowing down, these guys. HOW THE FUCK DID I MISS THIS BAND BEFORE NOW?!?
And while it may seem like we’re getting a chance to catch our collective breaths with “The Bridge Is Burning” you can just throw that idea out the goddamn window at the one minute mark. This is another battle march of a song that leads us right into the killing blows of “Mission For God”. I can imagine lots of bloodshed on the field with this as the soundtrack. Closer “Alone in the Distance” is a galloping slice of metal that ends things perfectly. I still can’t believe I knew NOTHING about NIGHTMARE before now. I need my head examined or something. It’s albums like this that will make a Top 10 or 25 List damn near impossible this year. The Aftermath comes out June 10 via AFM Records, and I cannot, repeat CANNOT recommend this one enough!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM