Published on September 3rd, 2017 | by Justin G.
Nocturnal Rites: Phoenix (AFM)
A decade. That’s how long it’s been since we last had a new Nocturnal Rites album. And given guitarist Chris Rorland’s departure for Sabaton a few years back, most people just assumed Nocturnal Rites was done. Then came the first photos on the band’s once sleepy Facebook page and the announcement that a new album was coming (and with Scar Symmetry guitarist Per Nilsson on board no less). One of the best bands in melodic power metal is back, and that’s reason to celebrate.
Phoenix is the title of the new album, and that’s appropriate given just how much time had passed since The 8th Sin. It’s also appropriate because this album very much captures the spirit of rising from the flames more glorious than ever. Phoenix is the perfect mix of the heavy power metal we heard on Afterlife and the more melodic metal sounds of Grand Illusion – basically everything great about Nocturnal Rites since Johnny Lindqvist joined, all in one album. It has real heaviness and power, fantastic melodies, that soaring yet gritty vocal style and even some grand orchestral elements. The massive “What’s Killing Me” or the relentlessly heavy “The Ghost Inside Me” is probably the best example of all of that coming together brilliantly, but any of the ten songs (eleven if you get the digipack) on Phoenix would get the job done.
It’s almost unheard of for an album to be worth a ten-year wait, but Phoenix is just that. Nocturnal Rites couldn’t have picked a more triumphant way to herald their return. This may actually be their finest album to date, and it’s easily one of the best melodic/power metal albums of 2017. Fans of their previous work will absolutely love this, and fans of bands like Orden Ogan, Serious Black, Jorn, Mean Streak and Pretty Maids may just discover their new favorite band when they hear Phoenix.
Summary: Totally worth the wait.