Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusion
Century Media
Melodic Speed/Power Metal
10 songs (47'00)
Release year: 2005
Nocturnal Rites, Century Media
Reviewed by Danny
Album of the month

The kids are back ...

Within these traffic days of melodic speed/power metal music - Helloween's childs so to call them - there is one band that I fall in love for a couple of years ago. This band is Nocturnal Rites. Being unlucky compare to Hammerfall in term of success - selling less records if you prefer to hear it this way - their second album, Tales Of Mystery And Imagination, exploded my mind back in 1997. I guess that the departure of the original singer troubled somehow the base-fan, but since then Nocturnal Rites released three excellent records with their new singer (Afterlife, Shadowland and New World Messiah). I have to admit that their last record, New World Messiah, was much less impressive ... but I remain a true fan of this Swedish band.

Grand Illusion - their seven studio record ! - will hit the street by the end of this month. After the first spin, I must say I was quite disappointed because this new record sounded like the follow up of New World Messiah (not my favorite album). Thus, the melodic speed metal tunes seemed off and replaced by a softer ambiance. This first feeling vanished away after several spins and I can say Grand Illusion might become my favorite Nocturnal Rites albums. It is a mature album, with established musicians trying new paths - don't worry, no major revolution here - mixing it with the original sound and spirit of the band.

The first track is fairly a surprise. Fools Never Die starts like a Sentenced or Him song (heavy, melancholic and slow compare to what Nocturnal Rites usually delivers). Fools Never Die don't really fit as a classic opener for a melodic speed/power metal band. However, I can tell you today this track brags you by the balls and was the right choice as a starter. One of the things I like with this Swedish band - apart from the wonderful melodies, the guitars, the solos and the extraordinary voice of Jonny Lindkvist - are the lyrics. Since Jonny joined the band, Nocturnal Rites delivers profound and interesting messages through their lyrics. I start to have more and more problems with these dragons and warriors lines, even though I am a huge Hammerfall, Grave Digger or Manowar fan. Let's say it from another point of view : what I need to find inside heavy metal lyrics today is the power and the courage to stand against the life, words that will feed my conquering appetite, my hunger to be bigger than life. Grand Illusion stands as a treasure of remarkable lyrics (Fools Never Die, Never Trust, Still Alive, Cuts Like A Knife, End Of Our Rope).

Sure enough the music should be good, catchy and must entertain & divert the listener. No worries here, Grand Illusion is not an illusion at all, it is an excellent melodic speed/power metal album, with a great kick a** singer. My favorite tracks are Fools Never Die (Nocturnal Rites surprising me on the melancholic field), Never Trust (reminding me Afterlife album, great keyboard/guitar ambiance, with a fantastic solo), Still Alive (terrific lyrics, top-notch chorus, wonderful melodies, a future anthem for sure), Cuts Like A Knife (reminding me Kamelot's killer epic song March Of Mephisto), End Of Our Rope (great keyboard work, mid-tempo track where Jonny delivers a singing lesson), Never Ending (hey guys, you haven't forgotten The Sacred Talisman album :) - that's good news) and the final epic song Deliverance where Nocturnal Rites plays like an orchestra (great keyboard once again !!!).

No weak track, no filler, just catchy music played by talented and brilliant musicians ... who brought Nocturnal Rites one step ahead. Two thumbs up !

FYI - There will be a bonus DVD on Grand Illusion. It should have more than one hour of footage as well as three video clips and more. Enjoy :)

Killing Songs :
Fools Never Die, Still Alive, Cuts Like A Knife and End Of Our Rope
Danny quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Nocturnal Rites that we have reviewed:
Nocturnal Rites - The 8th Sin reviewed by Chris and quoted 94 / 100
Nocturnal Rites - New World Messiah reviewed by Danny and quoted 75 / 100
Nocturnal Rites - Shadowland reviewed by Danny and quoted 97 / 100
Nocturnal Rites - Afterlife reviewed by Danny and quoted 93 / 100
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