|Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusion
19 September 2005
01. Fools Never Die
02. Never Trust
03. Still Alive
04. Something Undefined
05. Our Wasted Days
06. Cuts Like A Knife
07. End Of Our Rope
08. Never Ending
09. One by One
+ A Limited Bonus DVD
Only a year and a half after the release of the spending "New World Messiah", Sweden's best (probably the worlds best) Heavy/Power Metal band Nocturnal Rites returns with their seventh full-length album "Grand Illusion".
An album that really keeps the successful and wonderful tale rolling on, even if this album has some news to offer the listeners, it's still the same old Nocturnal Rites that's rocking on.
2004's "New World Messiah" received great words from both fans and press and it surely raised Nocturnal Rites many steps on the ladder and I'm sure they're more popular than ever before.
Even I praised "New World Messiah" and appointed it "Album of the Year" last year, and many of the songs are still today as good as they were then, which is a great achievement.
So when I heard the news that Nocturnal Rites already was finished with their new record, barely a year after the release of "New World Messiah", I started to get worried.
I mean, how could you follow up such milestone by working only a year on new material? Mission impossible, I thought.
So it was with mixed feelings "Grand Illusion" found it's way into my player for the first time, and the opener (and also single) "Fool's Never Die" started to play (I had already heard this track once, when I saw the band live just a few days earlier).
"Fools Never Die" is, without doubt, the most commercial song Nocturnal Rites has ever written, it's so poppy that I know many Metal fans will probably have this one as their "most hated Nocturnal Rites song".
Now there's a reason behind it too, in order to gain further popularity, the band has to get their songs played on radio and TV, and without a poppy commercial track, that's no possible, and therefore you should consider that before hating it too much.
The song in general is really catchy and easy to sing-a-long with, a perfect live track.
Now this opener won't reflect the whole album, actually some of the tracks here, such as "Cuts Like a Knife", are surely among the heaviest Nocturnal Rites ever written.
And in general the whole album is very even, there aren't any super songs like "Against the World" (from the precursor) or any song that the album easily could be without. It's actually a pretty natural successor to "New World Messiah" even if it's not better. All the typical Nocturnal Rites is present, great guitar harmonies, Johnny on vocals, a great rhythm that you could kill for, and song that's just eating you brain from inside.
"Grand Illusion" also offers another surprise (except the "pop-"song); it's also the first Nocturnal Rites album that contains guests. And it's not any guests either; it's Stefan Elmgren (HammerFall), Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Henrik Danhage (Evergrey), Kristoffer W. Olivius (Naglfar) and surprisingly no-other than three times world cup winner in cross-country skiing Per Elofsson on guitars (which is quite remarkable, since I never knew he could play guitar).
Now these guests aren't making any major difference, the album is still unbelievable great, but not better than "New World Messiah" which is, in my eyes, the best Nocturnal Rites ever done.
It might sound that I'm only compares "Grand Illusion" with "New World Messiah" and thinks "Grand Illusion" is a worse album just because I love "New World Messiah" so much, that's not the case. Of course, I'm comparing the albums, since they are precursor and successor to each others, but they are still two totally different albums, and "Grand Illusion" is not a bad album, it's actually one of the best Heavy/Power Metal albums I heard this year, so Nocturnal Rites has, once again, a large opportunity to "steal" the title "Album of the Year" from me again.
I'll stop blabbering about how much I like Nocturnal Rites, and I'll conclude the review with these words:
If you ever heard a Nocturnal Rites album after the year 2000 and liked it, then you can buy this album without thinking twice, Nocturnal Rites has never let us down before and they haven't this time either.
"Grand Illusion" is an album filled with great song, a fantastic singer and a catchy feeling that no other band can make, they are surely the best band you'll find in the genre, and hopefully could "Grand Illusion" make more people understand that.
You go guys!
Check Out: "Fools Never Die", "Cuts Like a Knife", "Still Alive" & "Deliverance", but make sure that you buy this record, it ROCKS!