Written by: EW on 12/10/2009 15:29:48

Nightmare are clearly the answer I had never heard of when asking 'what the hell happened to France in the metal boom of the 80s?' as the information I can find leads to a band that formed back in 1979, a fact I find amazing considering the freshness of sound found across album no. 7, "Insurrection". Further research leads to the views that their two 80s albums released before initially disbanding late in the decade (84's "Waiting For The Twilight" and 85's "Power Of The Universe") are worthy purchases in their own right; but as the band's name has always managed to avoid me I can only assume genre classics they are not.

If like me you join the band this far into their career, the possibility that they would be of the Iron Maiden and Saxon generation is not immediately ascertainable upon listens to "Insurrection". The sound is well-produced and modern in production and execution, but thankfully not that of a band relying solely on studio tricks to find their way around. Nightmare combine a mixture of prime Swedish influence ("The Gospel Of Judas") allied with a greater significance of Germanic-derived material, ala Grave Digger. To continue this international flavouring the end result is an album with hints of (recent-ish) Judas Priest and a sense in songs like "Mirrors Of Damnation" that the very American Tim 'Ripper' Owens might be at the helm, a credit to the diverse, yet somewhat derivative, vocals of Mr. Joe Amore.

"Insurrection" is not lacking good songs by any means, with "Target For Revenge" and "Eternal Winter" being entirely admirable, yet one mustn't get ahead of themselves in reviewing a band and album like this. The reason Nightmare are not known to all and sundry is the lack of unique identity, if "Insurrection" is anything to go by at least, that would stand them out against competitors like Lion's Share and Mystic Prophecy to name but two of thousands. All the key elements are intact - a clear audible production revealing all the instruments, competent musicianship and a decent vocalist - but the extra spark needed for a great album is not found in the passages of "Insurrection". Should you need further proof, listen to the opening 30 seconds of "The Gospel Of Judas" or "Decameron" and tell me, could you honestly identify the band as Nightmare from these clips? Thought not, for "Insurrection" is a good album, but not one that will be threatening any End of Year lists in the near future.

Download: Eternal Winter, Target For Revenge
For The Fans Of: Lion’s Share, Saxon, Grave Digger, Nevermore
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 11.09.09
AFM Records

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