October 25, 2020

Nightmare is a French metal band that was formed in 1979 as a power metal outfit and has had a really chequered history with there being a long break from 1987 when the band folded to 1999 when they returned but basically as a new band. They have had a fair number of musicians move through the ranks and now only have just the one remaining original member is bassist Yves Campion.

Aeternam is now the band’s eleventh album and I must admit that I haven’t heard anything since the 2011 live album One Night Of Insurrection which showed a hard working and totally controlled rock band with some great vocals and guitar. They have since flirted with death and thrash metal and seem to be a band not afraid of change and very willing to move musicians on to bring in new and fresh talent. It seems that they have refreshed the team yet again and now line-up with new vocalist Madie (Faith In Agony) and new drummer Niels Quiais alongside longer standing band members Yves Campion on bass with Franck Milleliri on guitar and Matt Asselberghs on guitar and vocals. Vocalist Madie is a great addition to the band with her powerful and dynamic voice that seems to have earthquake inducing qualities and she combines perfectly well with the darker (but not growled) voice of Asselberghs and this gives the band’s power metal approach a definite thrash and a darker element too. Not death metal by any means but it feels as if they are treading a toe into the water to see if death is an avenue for them to explore further and based on this new album then they seem to have the tools to take the band down this route too.

The guitar work is most impressive with Milleliri and Asselberghs being riff heavy and they also throw in plenty of perfect runs and solos. This is all on top of thundering bass and simply immense drums and, together, it almost feels like Campion and Quiais are drilling into your skull. The melody remains though and the songs have plenty of hooks to keep you bought in to the band with their very dense and complex metal delivery. A wall of sound is an expression maybe used a little too often but that is exactly what Nightmare has and when they hit you, they hit you hard. The ‘new’ version of Nightmare can be very pleased with this heavy power/death/thrash metal composite and there is plenty here to keep you enthralled especially the amazing voice of the stunning new singer.

Nightmare is a band that likes to keep re-inventing itself and to move with the times it seems like it has done it absolutely perfectly again.

Aeternam track list

  1. Temple Of Acheron (5:09)
  2. Divine Nemesis (5:25)
  3. The Passenger (4:28)
  4. Downfall Of A Tyrant (5:11)
  5. Crystal Lake (5:14)
  6. Lights On (3:47)
  7. Aeternam (4:43)
  8. Under The Ice (4:31)
  9. Black September (4:43)
  10. Anneliese (5:33)