Started by a couple of friends nearly two decades ago, Nightrage is a band that has been through a lot of changes over the years. One of the founders, the guitar hero Gus G moved on to other things, but the other creator, Marios Iliopoulos has been faithful in making monumental Metal with this act since the early 2000s. The evolution of this Greek/Swedish hybrid group has sculpted their sound into something uncommon and exceptional. Their eighth full-length album, Wolf To Man (Despotz Records) presents their particular music with severity and soul.
Immediately the guitars are ablaze on the opening track, ‘Starless Night’. The sizzle from guitarists Iliopoulos and Magnus Söderman heats up each song throughout the whole record, and there is a weird warmth and intrigue to the convicting tones and fluidity of their guitar work. The extremity of Nightrage washes over the listener with each band member delivering precise anger. Even Dino George Stamoglou’s drumming pushes their sound from intense to near frenzy. His incessant and thoughtful energy sets a powerful mood.
The title track, ‘Wolf To Man’ has a sincere darkness. Its emotional pull is similar to some of the later tracks like ‘Arm Aim Kill’ and ‘Disconnecting Dots’. The unharnessed vocals of Ronnie Nyman exposes the hatred this band possesses. Their lyrics on hardships and humanity are saturated with doom, setting a rather bleak tone to each number. Their moodiness could be compared to the the older work of In Flames or Arch Enemy. Though Nyman is not the most versatile screamer, the cleaner choruses on ‘Desensitized’ and ‘The Damned’ add some dimension. The Thrash Metal elements on ‘By Darkness Drawn’ and ‘Gemini’ provide a little relief and versatility from their typical darker tone. You can hear Megadeth and Dave Mustaine peek through in the double peddle work and grating guitars.
The album ends with a short instrumental piece, ‘Lytrosis’ which is the icing on the cake. The intricate and deliberate passion presented on this record comes in many forms. There is a lot of aggression, but moments of sensitivity and elegance. The wretched, poignant potency of their sincere ability and presentation leaves little room not to feel. This is an innovative group that has captured rare fury and delicate emotions all at once. Wolf To Man is an album full of heartfelt heaviness.
7 / 10