Gildan's Guide to Good Music
The world of music is a vast ocean of crap - join me on a voyage to the tiny isolated islands of excellence.
As the tagline not so subtly suggests, it's really easy to find terrible music - you have but to turn on your radio, and lo, bad music abounds. The good stuff though, well that's rarely quite so easy to find, and while some popular music actually deserves the accolades it receives, most excellent music languishes in comparative obscurity. And that's where I come in!
If it's thought provoking, epic, eccentric, or exceptional (or possibly all of the above), I take it upon myself to write about it in the hope that at least one of the comparative handful of people who actually read my rambling and
rampantly egotistical definitely quite humble reviews will find it useful - or if not useful, at least momentarily entertaining; I take what I can get really.
This extremely belated edition of the guide (my original notion was to have posted it weeks ago) comes to you courtesy of Veteran's Day closing my place of employment - huzzah for days off!
The 8th Sin
Musical Genre: Power Metal
Running Time: 41 minutes
# of Tracks: 11
Particularly noteworthy songs: Not The Only, Till I Come Alive, Strong Enough, Me
Sometimes simple can kick ass.
...I should probably write more than just that, shouldn't I? Right then - Nocturnal Rites is, by all appearances, just another by the book Power Metal band in a virtual sea of European Power Metal bands, playing straight-forward fare that's ultimately fairly simple and predictable. So that begs the question: Why am I, the author of of a Guide to Good Music and self-appointed "Ultimate Arbiter of Quality", sitting down and writing an article intended specifically to convince you that you should in fact listen to them?
Nocturnal Rites is predictably awesome, that's why.
Hailing from Sweden, Nocturnal Rites has been around for 20 years now, though not always under that name (they were originally called Necronomic) and certainly not always in their current form - in their original incarnation they were a Death Metal band. As time progressed though and line-up changes took place, they began incorporating more and more elements of Power Metal into the mix, until they had fully evolved into the Helloween-style sound of their first three albums. And were it not for one particularly significant change, they might have remained a fairly competent but otherwise unremarkable Helloween-clone to date. What change was that you ask?
Jonny Lindkvist joined the band as their new lead vocalist in 1999.
Of course, given that this is a band that I'm writing about, his name probably doesn't mean anything in particular to you folks reading this, as that would require you to have heard of Nocturnal Rites in the first place. So for everyone not familiar with the man, let's just say that in the cutthroat competition for the #2 slot on my "Best Metal Vocalists of All Time (Men's Division)" list, Jonny can certainly hold his own against some serious vocal heavyweights. Or in other words, he is super-awesome. With him at the helm, the straightforward and 'safe' musical structure of a typical Nocturnal Rites song that would otherwise be a detraction ends up being a strength instead, as it better allows Lindkvist to shine.
The 8th Sin is, appropriately enough, Nocturnal Rites' 8th studio album, and in my estimation their best work to date - from start to finish there is not a dull track to be found. Generally slower-paced and less frenetic than typical Power metal fare, the whole endeavor practically exudes mass market (metal) appeal - big damn choruses, catchy riffs, the works - this is the sort of Power Metal that even people who don't actually like Power Metal will probably enjoy; heck, for that matter you don't even really need to like any variety of Metal to enjoy this album, there's more than enough crossover hard-rock appeal to go around. But don't just take my word for it, give the tracks I've embedded below a listen!
Note that "Till I Come Alive" and "Strong Enough", tracks I listed as particularly significant (because they are freaking awesome), have not been embedded - this is because I could not find any recordings free from the curse of shitty YouTube compression. So I threw in the nifty closing instrumental track "Fool's Parade" instead (which still has shitty quality but doesn't suffer nearly so much from it).
Assuming you have actually clicked on and listened to at least one of the tracks I selected, I think you can see (or rather, hear) why I think (or rather, empirically know) this album is bloody awesome. If you can't, this article might very well have just saved your life, by bringing to light your critical deficiency of vitamin A(wesome) - I recommend supplements. Upon the advice of my entirely fictional team of lawyers, I do have to ask that you refrain from injecting concentrated vitamin A(wesome) directly into your eyeballs (apparently it isn't as fun as it sounds?) - otherwise go nuts!
Oh right, I suppose I should mention you could always just keep reading my Guide to Good Music instead, as that has been clinically proven by a team of hallucinations with medical licenses to contain 113% of your daily intake of vitamin A(wesome); that's probably easier to do anyways (and way more sanitary). Tune in next time when I showcase a band that's for me to know and you to find out about!
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