Even though NIGHTMARE has been around a long, long time I was still kind of late to the party, only discovering them in 2014 with The Aftermath, an album I truly loved. Now, almost three years later the band is back, this time with the one and only Maggy Luyten taking the vocal helm for their new record Dead Sun (January 20, AFM Records), eleven tracks of traditional and powerful metal that will surely please fans old and new alike. The twin guitar attack, driving rhythms, and powerhouse vocals are all there in spades, and Luyten fits the band like a glove.
Right away they come out swinging with “Infected” which serves as a perfect introduction to new drummer Olivier “Piv” Casula, who hits hard, is a double bass monster and locks in with bassist Yves Campion. These two really make up a great rhythm section. “Sleepless Minds” is next with a catchy hook that has surefire hit written all over it, while “Tangled In the Roots” starts one way then goes in the opposite direction. Up next is “Red Marble”, one of the album’s darkest, heaviest tunes and my personal favorite of the bunch. Luyten sounds like a woman possessed and the guitars are simply bone-jarring. This one demands repeat listens for sure.
“Ikarus” is another one that moves at a gallop, and features some stellar riffing once again from axe men Franck Milleliri and Matt Asselberghs along with a great hook. Make this one Favorite #2! With “Indifference” comes a change of pace, as the band opts for a slower, more haunting groove, but one that is no less heavy by any stretch of the imagination. Make that three winners in a row, like the sevens on a slot machine. The title track begins with fighter jets passing overhead, air raid sirens, and children screaming, which always warrants my undivided attention, and Maggy’s delivery is on-target just like the missile guidance systems on those jets.
One of the cooler arrangements on the disc comes at the start of and all throughout “Seeds of Agony”, which is yet another killer cut. The balance of clean and distorted guitar meshes well and the whole thing is one not easily forgotten. ‘Serpentine” and closer “Skies Gone Black” just pour gasoline on the fire and watch shit burn to the ground. Overall NIGHTMARE did a great job with this one. Maggy Luyten is a fine addition to the band, and everything is tight and cohesive musically. As I said earlier, whether you’re a longtime fan or relatively new like me there is a lot of fine metal to sink your teeth into on Dead Sun, so be sure and grab your copy on January 20.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Red Marble”, “Seeds of Agony”, “Ikarus”, “Indifference”