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“Nuclear Blast 20 Years: Out Of The Dark” by Nuclear Blast All-Stars

Artist: Nuclear Blast Allstars
Title: “Nuclear Blast 20 Years: Out Of The Dark”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 10/2/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

When the light fades away we are left standing in the dark and if alone it often plays tricks on ones mind and can hold a foreboding and sinister grip on our psyche. Now that I have your attention I present the second part in the celebration of Nuclear Blast Records 20th Anniversary with “Out Of The Dark” – a CD that continues what we last heard on its predecessor “Into The Light”. Similar to “ITL”, the music has been written by a particular performer and all the songs are sung by different vocalists. With “Into The Light” we found rather upbeat and positive energy at the musical hands of Victor Smolski (Rage) and singers such as Tobias Sammett (EdGuy) and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) but with “Out Of The Dark” the similarity ends here. Musically this one comes at the talented hands of Peter Wichers, who many remember from the band Soilwork, and while he is no longer a member he still remains one of the industry’s most talented individuals. Wichers did a great job on this one as he molds and works each tune to be a unique entity of its own and doesn’t give us a regurgitation of one same old style over and over. He managed to fit each track into the personality of who would sing it and the end result will really impress the most stoic of Metal followers. The tune by In Flames’ Anders was a good opener, but it seemed overshadowed by “Schizo” which is delivered by Hypocrisy/Pain’s leader Peter Tagtgren. The song had more Pain than Hypocrisy in there if you asked me but had a smoldering groove throughout that was oh so exciting. “Devotion” shows that Wichers could pen a Black Metal epic that was worthy of being part of the Dimmu Borgir set list if need be. However instead of Shagrath, we find Jari of Wintersun doing the vocals here and really showing that the dark is bleak and unforgiving.
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“Passenger” by Mnemic

Artist: Mnemic
Title: “Passenger”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 1/19/2007
Genre: Future Fusion Metal
Rating: 4/5

The past few years have been interesting and tumultuous in the world of the band Mnemic and that is an understatement right off the bat. The events of their recent past was almost as chaotic as some of the music they deliver night after night and with the new release “Passenger”, they are showing that strength can come from hurtles and pitfalls and often give sway to a stronger and more focused entity. With the new release the band introduces the listener to the talents of their new lead singer Guillaume Bideau (formerly of the band Scarve). As tracks like “In Control” and “Stuck Here” lay the slam down – you come to realize that a perfect candidate is finally in the role. Bideau joins the band replacing Tony Jelencovich, who toured with them on the Meshuggah and Arch Enemy jaunts. It has been quoted that he is the singer who should have been in the band from the very start. He does a great job on his own debut in the band and truly seems more a contributor to their branded Future Fusion Metal. If you are unsure of what “Future Fusion Metal” actually is and sounds like then you need look no further than Mnemic, for it is an amalgam of Industrial, twisted syncopations and riffs along with an angry and in your face brand of Metal. “Passenger” also comes to life after several years of straight touring and this seems to have helped the band grow in the musical sense as well. Having seen them live with each of their singers I always knew they could play but on this recording this is a tightness that you feel on every track. They admit a fondness for Meshuggah and their influence – but when Mnemic does what they do it is not merely as some clone of the Swedish technical Metal giants. This is a crunching and brutal slab of Industrial Metal that pays homage to ones inspirations but does not come at the cost of any individuality.
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