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Knightmare - In death's shadow 4.5/5

Reviewed: 11-1-12


1. Cazador de hombres
2. Granted death
3. False prophets
4. Apocalypse
5. Knightmare
6. Unity through chaos
7. Judgment

Every year, more and more new Australian metal bands are formed, some of which go on to major international success. While the metal scene in Australia is booming right now, getting the right promotion and finding the funds to travel overseas to further promote themselves can be difficult. Bands need that something different, something special to make the metal community stand up and notice. With that said I present to you (hailing from Melbourne), the metal band, Knightmare.

Formed in 2005 by guitarist Luke Besley and vocalist Mick “Mickowar” Simpson, Knightmare have had quite a few musicians come and go before the right members brought the perfect chemistry within the band. Knightmare’s first material released was in 2008, establishing their identity with an EP called ‘Unholy’. Aside from Mick and Luke, the line-up featured Blake Ford on bass, James Jenkins on guitars and Kade Moyes on drums. Since the release of the EP, Blake, James and Kade have moved on, replaced by current members Matt McConaghy (bass) and Jim Mungro (guitar). Kade was replaced by Brendan Pertz but at the beginning of the recording process, Brendan sadly had to quit the band after an injury left him with permanent nerve damage in his hand. After Brendan’s departure, Knightmare has put the word out for a new drummer since February of 2012 and as of yet have not found a suitable replacement for Pertz. As for the recording of the drums for the CD, it is a combination of a drum machine and acoustic drums from Pertz.

In December of 2012, Knightmare will be independently releasing their debut CD, entitled ‘In death’s shadow’. What makes this band different from most is the unique, original and fresh sound they have forged together. Putting Knightmare into a specific metal genre is basically impossible, and while Metal-Archives boldly labels them as a power/thrash metal band, once you hear this new CD you’ll know that they are much more than just power thrash. Words like intense, epic, atmospheric, intricate, diverse, emotional and chaotic only just scrape the surface of this band’s creative soundscapes featured on ‘In death’s shadow’.

The release was mixed and mastered by Ermin Hamidovic of Systematic Productions (Untruth/Eye of the Enemy/Orpheus/Elm Street), and Mastered by Plec at Panic Room Studios in Sweden (Scar Symmetry/Waitain). So you can see that some heavy hitters in the metal world have had a hand in this CD’s development, which is sure to further excite listeners. As the band themselves say, when describing the influences of their unique sound – “Our music spans from a vast array of influences, not just including extreme and diverse forms of metal but music from all walks of life combined to create a unique, transcending atmospheric experience.”

I find the songwriting on the CD to be one of the most creative and intense that I’ve ever come across in my 23 years of being a metalhead, and for that I salute the band. Knightmare’s music certainly evokes an array of emotions within the listener, while you find yourself being pulled into the intricate and multi-layered sounds that Knightmare produces. However while most metal fans will enjoy the diversity and immense power the CD has to offer, other fans may find it difficult to digest and harness the vast array of metal styles being presented at the one time. There is though, one thing for sure, and that is the appreciation metal fans will have for this band once they have heard this memorable CD.

The first single off the CD is also the opening track, “Cazador de hombres”. Right off the bat this song gives a huge example of what to expect from the remainder of the CD, with a bombastic, intricate and epic song of masterpiece proportions. Many metal styles accompany the blistering track, with Mick Simpson’s powerful and melodic vocals booming throughout and a twin guitar blast that is surreal in quality. If I were to compare Knightmare to other established bands (which is extremely hard as Knightmare is really one of a kind), I would have to start with a more extreme, diverse and intricate forging of Dream Theater and Lost Horizon and go from there.

The remainder of the CD is just an amazing piece of music that needs to be spun so many times to fully hear and appreciate all the wondrous layers of sounds and emotions that ‘In death’s shadow’ has to offer. The musicianship and creativity of all involved is brilliant to say the least and needs to be heard to be believed. All 7 tracks on the CD are quite lengthy (and for good reason), ranging from 6 minutes to 10 minutes, the latter being an almighty instrumental track called “Judgment”, which is also one of the best songs and a kick-ass way to end the CD.

In the end, ‘In death’s shadow’ is something I’ve never heard before, which in this day and age is seldom said anymore. Such a unique and wonderful breath of fresh air injected into the metal world, ‘In death’s shadow’ can and will appeal to almost every fan of heavy metal music, regardless of genre. Not only Australian metal has taken on a new frontier with Knightmare, but metal music as a whole. Knightmare are hungry and ready to take on the world... and with the quality of their debut release, I'm sure they will.




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