Their twenty fifteen album, The Puritan
, had a few textures that resemble At The Gates
. But many of those tracks had deviations of rehashed rhythms from A New Disease Is Born
. In fact many of their textures have sounded very similar through the years. So for better or for worse, they needed to release an album that sounded different. Their twenty seventeen CD, The Venomous
, was that album. It was an intense collection of dynamic tracks with inspired compositions, that sounded notably original. The Venomous
was one of the very best albums in their discography and will be a tough accomplishment to surpass. This new release, Wolf to Man
, comes in a plastic jewel case. The album art shows an elaborate drawing of a man who is stabbing an angel in the throat. The booklet displays the lyrics and the centerfold exhibits the quintet’s band photo. In twenty eighteen, bassist Anders Hammer
quit the band and went to Dragonland
. In the same year, drummer Lawrence Dinamarca also left the band and went to Carnal Forge
. So Nightrage
has consequently gone through a couple of lineup changes.
The first song, Starless Night
, begins at a slow pace with drone like bass lines and whining guitar licks. Then after a minute there is a sudden blast beat and the guitarists rip out some epic riffs. The vocalist furiously screams out his lines. “All the stars that once guided us, now have fallen from the skies!” “And
all those purposes that once filled, now fade and form into just one!” The rhythm guitarist and bassist soon convert this into a choppy interlude, while the lead guitarist blares out a sharp melody. Then the pace picks up again, with energetic crossover beats from the drummer. The rhythm reverts back to a ripping sensation, while the lead guitarist grinds from the midrange notes. Vocalist/songwriter Ronnie Nyman has been with Nightrage
for six years and this is his third album with the group. He delivers his vocals with the standard growling consistency for a melodic death metal band and is able to project a screaming note for five seconds. Ronnie mixes up his tones between lower and grim to higher strains of screaming. He is proficient in altering his death metal voice to suit the nuances of the compositions, which also includes some melancholic emotion.
As to be expected, Nightrage
casts a duo of guitarists. The lead guitarist has posted several instructional videos on how to play the guitar on You Tube and other websites. This is the second album that rhythm guitarist Magnus
Soderman has performed on and helped to compose. These guitarists are very articulate with the fret boards, dexterously picking out the high notes for synergistic atmospheres. They slash and shred with flowery textures, delivered in fascinating European elegance. The fourth track, Desensitized, starts with a hard charging yet beautiful melody. Then the tempo temporarily slows down with mild grinding, which sounds similar to the old In Flames
Ride. The vocalist emotionally growls forth, with a slight air of melancholy to his tone. “This shit is getting old, nothing I touch will ever turn to gold.” “Always driven by my lust, but every time I stop to think, it all turns to dust.” Then the composition progresses into a heavier rhythm, with short high note lead guitar riffs. The rhythm picks up the pace and the lead guitarist plays a dramatic high note melody. “Fly!” “Now spread these sad wings, built out of lies.” “Desensitized, ten thousand lies won’t make the pain go away.”
The eighth number, Arm Aim Kill
, takes off at a fast tempo with a charming rhythm and flowery high note guitar leads. The drum beats hustle and bustle along with stutter and flutter arrangements. Then the rhythm abruptly changes to whining notes that start low and climb upward. The vocalist growls out his lyrics with a series of emotional vicissitudes. “In the ashes of all things we have forsaken, there lays a truth greater than us all.” “In the shambles of our past, crawls the seven serpents of fire to form into one.” Then about halfway in comes an enchanting riff, with a majestic Scandinavian style similar to early Catamenia
. The music becomes more intense and brutal as the time elapses. The new bassist is Francisco Escalona and he was recruited from a Swedish hardcore band called Always War
. He often keeps a low profile by playing midrange notes to reinforce the guitar activity. Sometimes he chugs out rhythms with a harsh force. At other times he plays the heavier notes with some distortion for an abrasive effect. He plays some impetuous rhythms in the later tracks.
The new drummer is Dino Stamaglou and he was acquired from the Greek melodic death metal band called Exominia. He is a very vibrant performer, with a lot of steady movement and pizzazz. There are a lot of sudden drum rolls and occasional blast beats. His cluttering and fluttering shuffle patterns mix in a variety of beat tones. The eleventh song, Escape
Route Insertion, suddenly tears out with a breathtaking melody at a fast tempo. The drummer pounds away with flashy beat tone rotations. Then the stringed musicians shift to brutal slashing riffs. The vocalist viciously shouts out his lines like a rabid ghoul. “You!” “You are giving up on life itself, in your search for the easy way out!” “You left your fate in the hands of fiction, let the angels lead the way!” Then the instrumentation changes to a violent stop and go rhythm, with strong bass chugging. Soon the rhythm guitarist slashes as sharp as a razor, while the lead guitarist picks out an awesome solo.
Wolf to Man
is a fast paced album with a quality of European elegance inherent in the textures. Some songs alternate between beautiful melodies and coarse textures. The first several songs sound stunningly pleasant, but they increase in intensity and brutality as the album progresses into the later tracks. Except for the last song, Lytrosis, which is a short instrumental outro. There are some influences from At The Gates
and In Flames
. Sure there are a few of their own recycled schemes here and there. But it’s just part of their style and other melodic death metal bands like Hypocrisy
and Arch Enemy
do the same thing. The new drummer is an upgrade for this band. Dino Stamaglou brings more razzle dazzle to their sound than Lawrence Dinamarca did. The new bassist, Francisco Escalona, sounds about the same as Anders Hammer
did. This is another high quality CD, the composers have come through with an additional fast paced album that sounds mostly different. Wolf to Man
rocks out better than The Puritan
did. But the previous CD, The Venomous
, was a notch better than this new release. It still stands tall as one of the better albums in their discography.