Nostradameus - Pathway 3/5

Reviewed: 8-10-07





Tracklist:

1. Welcome to living
2. Wall of anger
3. Until the end
4. Demon voices
5. MDCC A.D. pt. 1
6. MDCC A.D. pt. 2
7. P.I.R.
8. No trace of madness
9. Not only women bleed
10. Death be my side
11. The untouchables


Sweden’s Nostradameus has released their latest CD, their 5th in total, entitled ‘Pathway’. It’s been 3 years since their previous release (‘Hellbound’), which was toted as a decent slab of melodic power metal. I hadn’t heard much of this band, maybe a handful of songs from their previous CDs, so I was excited at the opportunity to listen to something new.

Nostradameus’ most recent releases have shown a slight change in their sound. Originally beginning with a European style of melodic power metal, they have now moved to a more rougher and edgier U.S. melodic power metal, with traces of thrash infused into the mix. This sound works well for vocalist Freddy Persson, who’s vocals fit the style perfectly. He has your typical melodic voice, but it is powerful and also rather raspy and gritty. I think the best thing going for Nostradameus, is their guitar work. All throughout the CD, the guitar work on the tracks are very well done. Excellent riffs, which sound crunchy and deep, and it gives off that U.S. power/thrash feel. The bass guitar is also used rather heavily in this release, again making the lead guitars stand out more. The guitar solos are also very well done. Although Nostradameus have a U.S. metal sound in their music, I still find similarities with European metal bands, such as Firewind, Nocturnal Rites and Mystic Prophecy.

The thing which hasn’t made ‘Pathway’ better than it could be, is the production and also a real lack of originality and substance. First, the production; due to the heavy work with the guitars, at times during the songs, Freddy Persson’s vocals become a little muffled and hard to understand. Also, in songs where the chorus' contain entire band shouting parts, that too sounds rather muffled. It only happens a few times, but it is still something which stands out, only because it is during the chorus. Regarding the lack of substance and originality; firstly, I am one who really doesn’t look for originality in the power metal genre. Let’s face it, hearing something new in that genre is very rare these days and I go by the old saying “who cares if it’s nothing new, if it sounds good to me then I’ll like it”. But here, I feel that there is a slight lack of exuberance, especially during the choruses with some of the tracks on the CD. I still enjoy the CD, but I think it could have been quite a bit better than it is. Like I said, the guitar work is fantastic, the vocals are pretty good, but that doesn’t make up the whole song.

‘Pathway’ does have some great songs on here which I really enjoy, particularly “Wall of anger”, “P.I.R” and “Death by my side”. I also feel that there are really no weak tracks aside from the only ballad on the release “Not only women bleed” (which never really gets off the mark), and also possibly “Demon voices”.

I feel that with Nostradameus sounding just like any other melodic power metal band, they will continue to be lost in this massive genre and be forgotten most of the time. There are a few areas they need to work on, just to help them climb up a few rungs on the power metal ladder. But with that being said, I do quite enjoy ‘Pathway’, but with it sounding like so many other power metal CDs, it probably won’t stay in my CD player for very long.



SEAN




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