March 1, 2021

Nightrage is a hugely popular melodic death metal band that was formed in Thessaloniki in Greece in 2000 by the two guitarists Marios Iliopoulos and Gus G. The band subsequently released three demos before putting out the debut album Sweet Vengeance in 2003 and, since, then, the band has relocated to Gothenburg and released a total of eight excellent and very well received metal albums as well as building up a huge fan base in the process. In this development they have gone through a vast number of musicians with Iliopoulos remaining as the ever-present guitarist with Gus G eventually leaving in 2006 to form Firewind and later becoming the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne in 2009.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the formation of the band and to celebrate this occasion the band has released the first of the demos under the title of, rather logically, Demo 2000. This is obviously a demo therefore it is raw but full of energy and elemental fury with the two guitarists riffing furiously and trading lick for lick with the only backing being a drum machine. These demos obviously mean a lot to both musicians as these were instrumental in the band getting a label release with a number of the songs on the demo eventually featuring on Sweet Vengeance. Long time fans of the band will delight in these songs as they record the genesis of the band and it is very interesting to listen to the demos and the songs that they eventually became, sometimes quite different and others less so. The music is fast, furious and in your face and absolutely fizzes and crackles with passion and energy making it a demo that does actually stand up in its own right as a valid release.

Whoever programmed the drum machine did an excellent job as it does not actually sound like a machine unless you study it very, very carefully but you are most unlikely to do this when you have Marios Iliopoulos and Gus G playing furiously and their performances are mesmerising. Vocals are shared so you have some clean but mostly they are of the darker and screamed variety with, I believe, Gus G being the main supplier and they are very good too. To be truthful, when I saw the title I was rather expecting a very raw album of mainly ideas and part formed songs with just a hint of it being a cash generator in these difficult times as we await the next official album but this really does sound like a fully professionally produced album which is great testimony to the skills and talents of Gus G and Marios Iliopoulos. This does work very well as a stand-alone melodic death metal album but even better for fans as they can see how their band started out before it became the killer band that it is today.

Demo 2000 track list

  1. Macabre Apparition (3:29)
  2. Ethereal Veils And Shrouds (4:31)
  3. Poets Doomed To Oblivion (4:41)
  4. At The Ends Of The Earth (4:18)
  5. Gloomy Daydreams (6:41)
  6. Frozen Halflight Atmosphere (4:02)
  7. Circle Of Pain (5:22)
  8. Hero In A World Of Demons (4:56)
  9. Black Skies (5:04)
  10. Gallant Deeds (5:45)
  11. The Howls Of The Wolves (1:36)