Nightrage: Wearing a Martyr’s Crown

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Nightrage: Wearing a Martyr’s Crown
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Nightrage: Wearing a Martyrs Crown
Melodic Death Metal
Lifeforce Records
June 25th, 2009
Release length: 51:42
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Nightrage have been a steadily evolving melodic death act ever since their debut album, and once again we find the band spreading it’s wings musically, especially since there is now only one founding member left in the band (guitarist Marios Iliopoulos). Wearing A Martyr’s Crown is easily the heaviest, most brutal sounding album the band has released, but does this new line up change really make this album any better?

Well, the first thing worth noting is more of a side note: That the start of the album, “Shed The Blood”, sounds like something off the first two mallcore albums DevilDriver would use, except just heavier. Sadly, there is nothing all that spectacular about that part, but the rest of the track is rather good, being very heavy and in your face as far as the blistering music goes. Then “Collision Of Fate” kicks in and, musically, isn’t all that inspiring. The track is slowed down dramatically from “Shed The Blood”, but the only real interesting thing on the song would be the chorus, which really sounds like something In Flames would do. The same goes for “A Grim Struggle”, except heavier. At this point you’re probably wondering if the rest of the album will be stereotypical.

Not quite. Not all of the songs come across that way. The heavier tracks (with the exception of the intro on “Shed The Blood”) do have a more original sound to them, but will often have a rather typical chorus tacked on. The title track of the album is a perfect example of this, and the fact that the band seems to enjoy randomly slowing down the songs for an acoustic moment. Unlike on “A Grim Struggle”, at least the acoustic moment on this song leads into a rather nice guitar solo. The music also becomes rather repetative after a while as well. Each song sounds somewhat like the song before it, both in song structure and how the chorus is performed. Every chorus has just one guitar riff that plays over the chorus music and stands out to try to increased the melodic death aspect of the band, and the chorus music behind that riff is usually just one chord that is struck and held for a very short amount of time before another chord is struck.

All that being said, it’s about the time “Among Wolves” hits that the music starts to become better. “Abandon” is, really, the first song to change up how the music is on the album, having an acoustic intro instead of a random acoustic moment. This is one of the most stand out tracks on the album and definitely worth listening to. The same can be said for the slower paced “Futile Tears”, which really just feels like the band put more effort into this, especially in the vocals, having some simple guitars, but just enough complexity with a second guitar riff being played behind them every once in a while, but not at random, as well as a rather strong chorus that breaks the mold the band made for this release up to this point. Clearly, the latter half of this release is what really shines, having riffs that don’t seem like they were simply cut and paste from an In Flames album, even though a few of these, such as “Mocking Modesty”, aren’t all too much better then anything on the first half of this release.

Wearing A Martyr’s Crown really isn’t all that great an album. The music is pretty generic most of the time, regardless of how tenacious it sounds, with the only real improvement being the vocalist. If Nightrage wants to really stick out again, they will need to find new musicians since the band’s 2007-2008 line-up change, or at least come up with some material that isn’t as insanely repetative as far as the structuring goes. If the band could really sit down and compose more tracks like “Failure Of All Human Emotions”, and try to vary the sound of the songs more, then this line-up could really pull off a great melodic death metal release. Sadly, until any of these issues are addressed, Wearing A Martyr’s Crown has some really brutal sounding moments laced with some nice original concepts, and a copy and paste attitude for much of the album, as well as the absolutely random acoustic guitar moments that litter the release from start to end.

01. Shed The Blood – 4:13
02. Collision Of Fate – 5:13
03. A Grim Struggle – 5:03
04. Wearing A Martyr’s Crown – 4:30
05. Among Wolves – 4:29
06. Abandon – 4:30
07. Futile Tears – 5:18
08. Wounded Angels – 4:00
09. Mocking Modesty – 4:29
10. Failure Of All Human Emotions – 4:36
11. Sting of Remorse – 5:21
Overall Score: 3.5/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Lifeforce Records.