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Review: "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" by Swedish power metal band Nocturnal Rites

Updated on February 24, 2018

What is Nocturnal Rites' Music Like?

Nocturnal Rites is a Swedish power metal band that formed back in 1990. However, I started listening to them around 1998 and 1999 when their 2nd studio album "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" came out. The band is a mix of power metal combined with Yngwie Malmsteen influences and you can hear it in the interlude for the song Ring of Steel. Anders Zackrisson does the vocals for the band’s first three albums.

A photo of the Album Cover for Tales of Mystery and Imagination

My Thoughts About the Talent of Swedish Musicians

Note: since this review was first written, not much has changed in terms of trying to cover even more Swedish heavy metal bands and albums. The remarkable thing is that a country that has less people than many US states is able to create such high quality heavy metal that is great even many years later. How does Sweden do this? Their musical talent is always growing due to the country’s weather. Their winters are conducive to creating an environment that makes them thrive musically.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination Songs 1-5

Ring of Steel is about a very powerful ring with a very powerful secret. The ring is so powerful that men are afraid to touch it. However, there is a brave warrior that goes on a journey. He finds the ring which has the power to freeze the world. Dark Secret starts out with a riff that reminds me of Iron Maiden. Then the guitar picking starts. In fact, I notice in the guitar playing based on the riffs and tone that Nocturnal Rites were influenced by early Iron Maiden (the first two albums including 1981’s Killers). However, the song enters a different phase where there is an interlude in the band’s style before the 1980’s style riffs come again. The song called Test of Time is about what happens when we make it to the end of human life to wonder what is next. As Anders says in the song: “Only the strongest one will make it to the end. The final gathering is at hand.” The song actually attempts to address the idea that only one man, the chosen one will grow old. The song also gives us a hint about the idea of reincarnation. There are people who would be skeptical of past lives but I would believe that they do exist. Along with Ring of Steel, the song Lost in Time which has a catchy, fast tune are two of the first four most solid songs in this album. Sometimes we wake up and it seems that we don’t know where we are. We feel like we are lost in time. The song called The Vision probably has the best vocal performance for Anders in addition to the song called The Curse (which is definitely the strongest song that the band had written to that point in their career).

The Warrior's Return (great song about bravery among warriors)

Tales of Mystery and Imagination Songs 6-12 and Strongest Songs

Warrior’s Return is another strong song from these guys that has a catchy, memorable riff. Lyrically, the song is similar to the Ensiferum song Blood is the Price of Glory. These group of warriors are standing strong as they know what they must do. They know that there is a war left to fight. As the battle ends, the surviving warriors return home feeling triumphant and they are honored. The song called Change the World can be an inspiration to those of us that strive for the changes that we seek. There is the line in the song “we will change the world.” Changing the world is a group effort that takes hard work, patience, and persistence. The song called Pentagram is so fast that I think it resembles the song See You In Hell (Don’t Be Late) by Yngwie Malmsteen. The song describes a group of very brave men that set out to sail to find the Pentagram which they are ultimately successful in doing so. The strongest songs in this album are Ring of Steel, Lost in Time, The Vision, Warrior’s Return, and The Curse.

The Song Called Pentagram

More Commentary About the Song The Curse

The Curse is an excellent song that is about the fact that so many of us are scared to die because of this curse that has been put on mankind. The Bible says that the curse for Adam and Eve’s sin is death. There is nothing we can do to reverse or prevent human death but the band brings up this subject to raise awareness about the issue.

The Awesome Song Called The Curse

Final Thoughts About the Album

This is a decent power metal album however it is far from one of the best because I have a few issues with the production and there are a few songs that are not elite such as Eye of the Demon and End of the World (this one is not a bad song but just not as good as many of the others). The Sacred Talisman may be a slightly better album but it is a close call.

Rating: 85 points out of 100

The Song Called Lost in Time

© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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