"New World Messiah" (Century Media; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I have fond memories of hearing Nocturnal Rites for the first time. Reviewing "The Sacred Talisman" was one of my first responsibilities related to Rough Edge and it's hard to shake those first landmark memories. And, due to the great first impression, I continued to follow the band's career. Although I found "Afterlife" a bit disappointing and "Shadowland" to be thoroughly enjoyable I was still apprehensive about listening to "New World Messiah." I was curious to know if the band would stick to the tried and true formula that they made so successful on "Shadowland" or might actually branch out a little bit not unlike "Afterlife."

For the most part, "New World Messiah" shows Nocturnal Rites sticking to the tried and true formula more often than not. And I have no problem with that, nor will many of the band's fans. However, the band does stretch out without straying far from what makes their sound work. "Egyptica" adds Arabian melodies to the band's expanding palette and "Awakening" throws the power metal soloing textbook out the window for aggressive, noisy, and cathartic six-string fury. Another prevalent sound on "New World Messiah" is the solid infusion of classic AOR-rock sensibilities that give Nocturnal Rites a broader appeal and more sources to mine for creating their own original take on power metal.

As far as the power metal genre goes, Nocturnal Rites have not taken the genre to new heights. However, creatively, Nocturnal Rites as a band are on an upward trajectory that few bands can achieve: attracting new fans while keeping hold of existing fans. One cannot expect all great albums to be groundbreaking we must expect that some bands will find their niche, slowly evolve within it, and continue to impress along the way. Nocturnal Rites is such a band.

It's hard enough for most music fans to wade through the saturated power metal scene, but bands like Nocturnal Rites and albums like "New World Messiah" make it easy for fans to appreciate quality power metal. "New World Messiah" is a thoroughly enjoyable album and is highly recommended for fans of the power metal genre.

"New World Messiah" was mixed and mastered by T.T. Oksala. The sound is polished and crystal clear just what a power metal band needs.

Nocturnal Rites: Jonny Lindqvist on vocals, Nils Norber on lead guitar, Fredrik Mannberg on guitar, Mattias Bernhardsson on keyboards, Nils Eriksson on bass, and Owe Lingvall on drums.

For more information visit

"The Sacred Talisman" (Century Media; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

You may (or not) remember Nocturnal Rites as the band that started out as Necronomic. What matters is that Nocturnal Rites have crafted eleven songs of solid power metal for the masses. Nocturnal Rites base their success on harmony-driven songs, yet still derive their appeal from staying true to the promise of power metal's forceful delivery while still forging their own unique sound.

Great tracks include the captivating melody of "The Iron Force," the vocal driven "Eternity Holds," and the epic "The Legend Lives On."  There's a certain similarity to their label mates Iced Earth (especially on the track "Unholy Powers"). The dueling guitars of Iron Maiden is reflected in the dazzling "When Fire Comes To Ice" as well as the pulsating "The King's Command." The tale of a martyr on "Glorious" is a fitting end to this CD. If you are a fan of sizzling lead guitar work then Nils Norberg's six-string histronics must be heard. 

Oftentimes I hear a bit of Yngwie J. Malmsteen-era Joel Lynn Turner in the vocals (one listen to "Ride On" will settle this point quite nicely). The lyrics are more fantasy-oriented than most bands I've heard lately.

Overall, Nocturnal Rites do not unearth new ground with "The Sacred Talisman"; however, there is a growing appetite for power metal rooted in the '80s and Nocturnal Rites should find a large enough audience while plying their trade.

"The Sacred Talisman" was produced and engineered by Eskil Lovstrom.

Nocturnal Rites is Anders Zackrisson on vocals, Fredrik Mannberg on lead guitar, Nils Norberg on rhythm guitar, Nils Eriksson on bass, Ulf Andersson on drums, and Mattias Bernhardsson on keyboards.

For more information visit the band's official website at and be a part of ritual. Or visit the Official Nocturnal Rites Hall at

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06 Mar 2022 14:38:30 -0500.