Once I popped Nightmare’s “The Burden of God” into the ol’ CD player, I did a double take. Was this the intro to a power metal album or the beginning of a soundtrack for a blockbuster movie? “The Burden of God” opens with a track called ‘Gateways To The Void.’ This song is BIG! It’s a full on orchestra that sets the tone for what’s to come. This intro makes you excited about the 8th offering from France’s entry to the NWOBHM pantheon. “The Burden of God” dropped May 18, 2012 via AFM Records. After three decades, line up changes, and even a ten-year hiatus, Nightmare are still delivering the goods.
“There is no where to run. There is no where to hide.” The next ten songs are going to be interesting. ‘Sunrise in Hell’ is symphonic. It’s the perfect blending of guitars and orchestra. Jo Amore on vocals is amazing on this track. His chops have chops, strong and powerful. ‘Sunrise in Hell’ is part Euro-metal, part stock heavy metal, part progressive, part symphonic nu-metal, all power! The wall of sound that Nightmare has created with “The Burden of God” is rich and multi-layered.
Title track ‘The Burden of God‘ has those chunky to spitfire guitars metal aficionados love. The vocal harmonies create another layer to the music. Jo Amore reminds me of Ronnie James Dio on this track. It brings a small tear to my eye to lose such a legend but there is satisfaction knowing his influenced so many people. Nightmare offers a suitable homage to the master here with ‘The Burden of God.’ ‘Crimson Empire’ and ‘The Doomsday Prediction‘ are rife with power chords. Frank Milleliri and Matt Asselberghs don’t bring anything new to the metal genre, but they do what they do very well. The playing is solid and flawless.
This is what I am liking about Nightmare‘s “The Burden of God”. They combine everything that I like about metal and perfected it. The compositions are solid and well put together. The musicianship is solid and well put together. The production is solid and well put together.
‘Children of the Nation‘ starts out sludgy and doomy before the guitars shift gear to some head banging ferocity. It returns to a molten boil only to visit the grandiose Euro symphonic power genre before returning to the head banging. It gets to be a bit heavy-handed halfway through the song. Yep, that’s my complaint… the crushing weight of the music and the over the top lyrics; …“you are the soldiers of another time, you are the ones who can save the future, you are makers of another crime, you are the lost, the children of the nation…” Deep… I bet this sounds wicked cool live.
Now to my ears, ‘The Preacher‘ opens with a saxophone melody in the beginning 90 seconds. The keyboards add another layer of colour. Again, Nightmare are cinematic. They are adept at creating BIG seeping IMAX vistas and landscapes and ‘The Preacher’ is a perfect example of this. ‘Shattered Hearts‘ is another powerful, over the top, wall of sound composition. It’s a dripping with emoting style power ballad type tome. The only bummer is what Nightmare does with the lyrics. They make me chuckle. ‘Shattered Hearts’ is just so darn melodramatic. It borders on cheesy. I’m loath to call it full on cheese because it just fits so well with the over all theme of the album.
‘The Dominion Gate (Part III)’ is groove metalicious. It’s got a sultry vibe to it courtesy of Frank and Matt on guitar. It’s the most intricate composition on the album, lots of intriguing changes in timing and pace. Still headbang worthy and sports a nice guitar interlude from 4:07 to 4:59 that segues into an epic almost Arabian passage with what sounds like a full on orchestra and choir from 5:00 to 6:04. Epic. Grand.
“The Burden of God” ends with the track’ Afterlife.’ After such heavy and intense themes, this song feels cheesy and half-hearted from the lyrics to the music. It’s stock and quite lame. I expected the album to end on the big bang it started out with but instead it left with a whimper. It’s a bit of a let down really. I enjoyed listening to “The Burden of God”, but I honestly don’t think I’ll spin it again. It held my attention for 8 of the 11 tracks. It’s a solid album that’s well put together.