nightmareSome bands from “back in the day” have a habit of drawing on past glories, relying on their name and back catalogue to keep interest in the band alive. The NWOBHM era is a bugger for it to be honest, but on the back of a very forward thinking album from Tygers Of Pan Tang a couple of months ago there is always proof to the contrary. Early 80’s French metallers Nightmare had already proved to me that they had a pro-active mindset with 2014’s “The Aftermath” (my review is secreted elsewhere on Ave Noctum) and now with new singer Magali Luyten in the ranks (I remember her from Uli Kusch’s project Beautiful Sin and Ayreon’s “01011001” but she’s done plenty of other stuff too), the band take another step forward.

This latest vision of the band brings another new raft of styles to mind. Basically, think an updated Chastain (Magali has a real sound of Leather Leone at times), a bit of Benedictum, a little Battle Beast and some Arch Enemy. The Arch Enemy comparison comes from the sound, production and heaviness of the music, but a little even creeps in vocally on ‘Infected’, though the album is in the main clean sung. On the whole “Dead Sun” is a powerhouse of modern metal attitude, but with a vocal importance towards melody, incorporating some great choruses and memorable hooks (‘Tangled In The Roots’ is a particularly good example, but most tracks have a catchiness of some description).

New drummer Olivier Casula is pretty damn fabulous too, giving the tracks even more power and variation than ever before and with the emphasis being on a heavy backing with strong female vocals, bands like Lullacry or Halestorm also sometimes spring to mind, but really Nightmare have re-invented themselves once more with a sound and identity that might just be theirs alone. There’s no symphonia here (and the nearest they get to a choir is the very well implemented childrens choir on ‘Inner Sanctum’), it’s just full-on Metal from start to finish.

Now OK, some would argue what’s in a name when there is only one original member left? Well, there’s the back catalogue of course, which I’m sure would benefit from this line-up giving it a going over live. And guitarist Franck Milleliri has been there with founder Yves Campion since 2004, growing the band, and once 2nd guitarist Matt Asselberghs joined in 2012 it just cemented the journey to where the band are now. Nightmare were Heavy Metal in 1984 and are still Heavy Metal in 2016, it’s a different time, a different era…and my how they’ve grown!

(7.5/10 Andy Barker)