03. Death-like Silence
04. A Condemned Club
05. Scars of the Past
08. Surge of Pity
11. Spiritual Impulse
12. A New Disease is Born (Instrumental)
2007 Lifeforce Records
A New Disease is Born is the third album by the Greek melodic death metal band Nightrage, with their two previous releases on Century Media. Though now with a solid lineup, Nightrage has had past collaborations with some heavy hitters in the metal world, such as Tomas Lindberg (ex-At the Gates), Nicholas Barker (Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth), and Per Moller Jensen (The Haunted). These guys are clearly no strangers to the Swedish metal sound, and A New Disease is Born is the perfect example of a solid melodic death metal record in the current heavy music scene.
And if you didn't see it coming a mile away, Nightrage leans pretty heavily on the At the Gates sound, as melodic riffing, mid-tempo drumming and a powerful vocal presence (after all, Lindberg was the vocalist for the first two Nightrage releases) serve as the framework of A New Disease is Born. It has become sort of a joke in metal reviews as to how many times At the Gates are mentioned, but if this review isn't the perfect place, then I don't know what is. However, Nightrage isn't exactly an At the Gates carbon copy, as they incorporate significant amounts of clean singing and more subdued melodic passages throughout the disc. In that respect, similarities could be drawn to Opeth or Into Eternity, although Nightrage's sound is neither as progressively oriented as that of Opeth nor as heavily reliant on a strong clean vocal performance as that of Into Eternity.
All of the instrumentation on A New Disease is Born is extremely accomplished and tight. Marios Iliopoulos is the man behind all of the guitar work on the record, and the precise riffing and complex leads display his experience in the metal game. The drumming is equally as accomplished, but does not overpower the melodic lean of the album. The bass work, like that on many records in the genre, is proficient, but ultimately takes a back seat to the other instruments. And just as one would expect, the production on A New Disease is Born is equally as crisp and clean as the instrumentation, allowing Nightrage to incorporate fine touches such as acoustic passages and strings into the disc.
Yet as solid as A New Disease is Born is, I simply cannot manage to get overly excited about this album. Bands can't be expected to reinvent the wheel of metal with every single release, but without anything particularly unique about this disc, I have yet to really feel any type of urge to work it into my regular listening rotation. So once again, it's back to the age-old dilemma in music of proven musical formulas versus innovation. I don't doubt that many a Nightrage fan will enjoy this album for what it is: a well-produced slice of melodic death metal with excellent instrumentation and appealing melodies. But for me, the absence of any significant innovation or new ideas means that this CD has simply passed me by.
Bottom Line: Diehard melodic death metal fans should find a lot to get excited about in Nightrage's third release. The tried and true recipe for the Swedish sound is present in all aspects of this disc, and the accomplished instrumentation allows these guys to really nail a lot of At the Gates-type metal moments. But for those who need a little more than a well-executed musical formula to get excited about, A New Disease is Born just doesn't have that much to offer. Ten or fifteen years ago this album may have helped lay some of the framework for the melodic death metal sound, but when released in the present, it's just one more good-but-not-great album to be thrown on the Gothenburg pile.