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Nocturnal Rites
Nocturnal Rites began life as the Swedish death metal outfit Necronomic, which released a demo tape entitled The Obscure in 1991. Thankfully the band decided to return to their classic metal roots and Nocturnal Rites was born.

Nocturnal Rites-Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Century Media) 1998

1. "Ring of Steel" (6:42)
2. "Dark Secret" (5:04)
3. "Test of Time" (5:00)
4. "Lost in Time" (3:01)
5. "The Vision" (4:21)
6. "Warrior's Return" (4:43)
7. "Change the World" (3:45)
8. "Pentagram" (3:47)
9. "Eye of the Demon" (4:42)
10. "End the World" (3:23)
11. "The Curse" (4:03)
12. "Burn in Hell" (3:37)

Nocturnal Rites fall squarely between Hammerfall and Narnia, mixing in equally parts of neo-classical metal and fantasy based heavy metal. I have heard that these guys started off as a death metal band, which would explain the band name, but if this be so, there is not even a trace to be found on this album. This one is just pure heavy metal with clean, melodic vocals. Yet another band on a heavy metal crusade. Death to posers!

Nocturnal Rites-The Sacred Talisman (Century Media) 1999

1. "Destiny Calls" (3:58)
2. "The Iron Force" (4:20)
3. "Ride On" (3:16)
4. "Free at Last" (3:49)
5. "Hold on to the Flame" (4:08)
6. "Eternity Holds" (4:00)
7. "When Fire Comes to Ice" (3:48)
8. "The Legend Lives On" (5:47)
9. "The Ring's Command" (3:24)
10. "Unholy Powers (Night of the Witch)" (3:12)
11. "Glorious" (3:25)

The Sacred Talisman is similar to "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" in that it offers more classic early '80s power-metal yet it is infinitely better. I suppose "more mature" would be the proper definition of what I am trying to say. Unfortunately in today's "metal is uncool" world maturing tends to mean moving away from heavy metal. This is certainly not true of "Sacred Talisman," but the songwriting is much better leaving me to come back time and again for another listen. Nocturnal Rites, unlike many of modern bands have not forgotten two essential elements, killer guitar riffs and lyrical hooks. Nocturnal Rites, along with bands like Iced Earth, Hammerfall, etc, could very well bring about a metal revival. Long live metal, long live Nocturnal Rites!

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