Friday, November 18, 2016

French Metal Friday: Nightmare-Dead Sun

AFM Records

Nightmare is a highly-regarded French heavy metal band that was initially active from 1979-1988. Originally a N.W.O.B.H.M.-inspired traditional heavy metal act (and a damn good one at that!), Nightmare released two albums during their first run (1984's "Waiting for Twilight" in 1984 and 1985's "Power of the Universe"). Both classics in their own right, "Waiting for Twilight" and "Power of the Universe" turned Nightmare into a household name. After a break in the action, Nightmare returned to the scene in 1999 as a power metal outfit. Since then the group has released a EP, a compilation album, and countless full-length recordings. The simply incredible "Dead Sun" is Nightmare's brand new album and it serves as the two year follow-up to "The Aftermath".  The album introduces two new players in lead vocalist Maggy Luyten (Beyond the Bridge, Frameshift, ex-Spirittales, ex-Virus IV, ex-Beautiful Sin, ex-Ayreon, ex-Over Us Eden, Master of Waha) and drummer Olivier Casula (Sangdragon (live), ex-Thalidomide, ex-Necrosphera, ex-The Seven Gates). Meanwhile Nightmare's two guitarists are Franck Milleliri (ex-Dark Light) and Matthieu Asselberghs (Architekt, Sangdragon, ex-Fire Wizzard). Only bass guitarist Yves Campion (ex-Urgent)  remains from the original line-up, but given the overwhelming sense of chemistry on display here you would never guess that in a million years! Starting off with the nice and crunchy "Infected", Nightmare's "Dead Sun" is hard & heavy power metal that is absolutely stone-cold savage in it's delivery!! Like 2014's "The Aftermath" the guitar solos on "Dead Sun" are stunningly-technical and ferociously-fast. Bassist Yves Campion picked two stellar axe men in Franck Milleliri and Matthieu Asselberghs. Of course Nightmare's bass guitarist is no slouch himself. His playing adds a bold exclamation point to Nightmare's string section and it makes that part of the band all the more better. It was back in 2012 that I first when I discussed this veteran outfit and it sure does seem as if Yves Campion gets slicker and sicker with each new recording! Speaking of things that are slick and sick, Nightmare's new front-lady Maggy Luyten is AWESOME on the mic!! This powerhouse vocalist takes over for the departed Jo Amore and adds a new and improved presence to what was already a intimidating outfit. She also injects some much needed youthful energy into this long-running metal band. While new drummer Olivier Casula does help things along in that regard, Maggy Luyten is ultimately the one that turns back the clock for this older French metal band. Reportedly born in 1978, Nightmare's new addition on the mic might have only been a year old when this French power metal band first came together, but man alive, does she ever sound as if she has been there forever! I know I mentioned it already, but the chemistry on this album is insane!! Collectively these five musicians sound as if they have been playing together for years. When you combine that with great power metal songs and a top-notch production there is nothing to do but play this one as LOUD and PROUD as you can!! With 11 cutting edge numbers in all, "Dead Sun" is one of the best power metal albums of 2016!!! 

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