Nightmare – “The Aftermath” (AFM Records)
Probably the last of France’s heavy metal bands formed during the NWOBHM era, Nightmare were signed to cult label Ebony and enjoyed a brief stint of success before imploding in the late 80s owing to disputes as to the direction of the band. A decade later the resurrection took place with drummer Jo Amore now assuming vocal duties and handing the stix to his brother David. Playing a reunion concert in their hometown of Grenoble in 1999 culminated in the release in a double live album that attracted the owners of Wacken who invited them to play their prestigious festival. The rest is history as they say – or in Nightmare’s case a second lease of life! Playing a combination of melodic heavy and old school power metal, the more modern purveyors of which are the likes of Iced Earth and Nevermore, Jo Amore’s vocals owe a lot to that of the late great Ronnie James Dio’s as they soar away and add soul. Likewise the dual guitars crunch n chug amidst their plentiful melodies and harmonies adding as much singability to songs like ‘Necromancer’, ‘I Am Immortal’ and ‘Mission For God’ as they do memorability! With a Priest like rhythm adding a piston pumping backbone to the band, Nightmare’s material has a definite heavy sound – as captured perfectly by the sound of this 8th album – which makes them such a favorite at international festivals stretching from Metal Meltdown to Hellfest where I can tell you from experience it simply reverberates around the arena, pounding you then resurrecting you with those classy melodies so that you feel reborn – not bad for a band that has been going since 1979!