ALBUM REVIEW: Nightmare – Aeternam

NIGHTMARE have been around for a few decades, since 1979 in fact. Judging from their upcoming album Aeternam, it is easy to see why they have been labelled “an integral part of the European metal scene” and “heavy metal pioneers”.

The moment you hear the rapid riffs in the album opener Temple Of Acheron, you know you need to be prepared. Prepared for what exactly? Well, let me tell you. You need to be ready for killer guitar work, dominant vocals and raucous drums. All these components work together very well to create a bombastic sound that fans have grown to love and new listeners will be mesmerised by. Expect to feel empowered and ready to conquer anything that comes your way by the time you have listened to this. This is just the first track by the way, this belting opener gives us a more than healthy dose of what’s to come.

This is the first album with new vocalist Madie and first impressions? If Cristina Scabbia (LACUNA COIL), Kobra Paige (KOBRA AND THE LOTUS) and Brittney Slayes (UNLEASH THE ARCHERS) had somehow conceived a love child, Madie would be it. Yes, her voice is that powerful and dominant. This is just one of the highlights of NIGHTMARE’s sound. I am a new listener to NIGHTMARE and after this album, I will be listening to them a lot more. The reasons for this are mentioned previously when describing the first track. Below are further examples of why I will be listening to them more.

Like it’s title, Downfall Of A Tyrant is powerful and angry. In works of fiction and real life, we all like to see justice served upon someone who is deemed evil. The empowering lyrics and no-nonsense musical arrangements demonstrate this perfectly. In my head, the rapid riffs remind me of a brutal battle against this evil being and the fist pumping chorus screams victory over this downfall of a tyrant.

When I see the title Crystal Lake, it’s hard not to think of Camp Crystal Lake from classic horror film Friday The 13th. With the eerie music arrangements and sinister lyrics, this song wouldn’t be out of place in this classic. From start to finish, you feel uneasy; the anxiety fuelled riffs throughout ensures this. Even the happier sounding parts of the song have a sinister tinge to them, a false sense of security in other words.

Under The Ice stood out to me. When you see the word ice in any song title, you expect some reminder of bitter cold environments. In this track, you get exactly that. The symphonic elements such as the strings and choirs remind me of an artic wilderness and the bitter cold winds that come with the territory.

The album comes to a mighty close with Annelise. Logically, this is the last track of the album and it should mark the end. When listening to this, you can’t help but feel that more should follow on. In this track, they place together all their best elements to create one last explosion of heavy metal goodness.

Aeternam is the Latin word for lasting and judging from this solid album, this word is fitting for the album and the sounds of NIGHTMARE. It is safe to say that Aeternam will not disappoint long-time fans and it will entice a new generation of fans along the way.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Lotty Whittingham

Aeternam will be unleashed 2nd October 2020 via AFM Records.

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