Nightrage – Wolf to Man (Despotz)

Tuesday, 19th March 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

In an age where most of the forefathers of melodic death metal have messed with their formula and moved on to different pastures (be they for better or worse), one band that continues to wave the flag high and proud is Nightrage. One of the few bands that you can consistently depend on in melodeath have returned for their 8th go-round, and it unsurprisingly holds to the band’s high standards.

While there may not be much in terms of a surprise with Wolf to Man, that’s far from a bad thing. Guitarist/band leader Marios Iliopoulos has already proven on many occasions that he can bring the riffs that the style wants and needs, and without simply aping the early Gothenburg days. Nightrage sounds distinctly like Nightrage, and it can be heard quickly as you move through any of the album’s tracks – a combination of heavy, driving riffs with some contrasting sweet melodies that display heart without being too saccharine. “Desensitized” and “The Damned” show off exactly what the band has perfected over the years, from the fist-in-the-air melodies to the energetic riffs, to flashy but not too flashy solos (along with some scathing vocals). Not that any of the tracks are lacking on these fronts, but in given the Nightrage formula, they provide enough variation therein (and overflow with excellent guitar work) to keep the listener satisfied from start to finish. The band’s third release with vocalist Ronnie Nyman, he also provides part of the band’s backbone at this point – sticking to aggressive vocals but also allowing for some small change-ups along the way to keep things fresh.

All is still good in the Nightrage camp. Wolf to Man is just as enjoyable as the band’s previous efforts and provides a shining example of true melodic death metal from start to finish. There’s few out there that hit those same melodeath notes that can perform more consistently than Nightrage. This one is an easy winner if you enjoy melodic death metal in the slightest.

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