5/4/2006 - Review by: Eric Compton
Nightmare - Dominion Gate - 2006 - Candlelight Records
"Dominion Gate" marks the band's debut for Candlelight Records, and their fifth offering to date in a twenty year career. Of the original line-up, only singer Jo Amore and bassist Yves Campion remain. The group added drummer David Amore in 1999, and for the first time in their career Nicolas de Dominicis will not be on guitar. The band have recruited a new guitarist in Franck Milleliri, who replaces the original axeman. Also of note is that this is only the second album to feature guitarist Alex Hilbert as well, as he was brought on board as the replacement for Jeannot Strippoli. It is really a shame for the band to have survived this long and to finally get that big break here in the States only to lose their two long standing guitarists. However I will say with these new guitarists in place Nightmare's sound is definitely cutting edge and modern.
For the most part "Dominion Gate" sounds like a mix of Chinchilla and Mystic Prophecy draped over the red hot coals of Crystal Eyes. They have that ability to create epic visions and sounds while still road racing with speedy elements of power thrash. It is the flash and dash smokers like "Heretic" and "Endless Agony" that really impact me the most with this record. For those of you into the likes of Iced Earth and Brainstorm, then look no further than Nightmare on those two solid cuts. The French group also showcases some hard rock ability as well, evident on the stormy "Messenger Of Faith". However, it is tracks like "Temple Of Tears" and "The Watchtower" that showcases what Nightmare's "hot button" is. They arrange rather complex song structures that are built around a power metal engine block, but spark and stroke with the smoothest of progressive melody and experimentation. The band also build in those epic chorus pieces as well, recalling the likes of Rhapsody and Blind Guardian. Obvious highlights for me are the two middle cuts, "The Dressmaker" and "Messenger Of Faith" as both are strong indications that Nightmare are firmly headed into "tomorrow".
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