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Nostradameus - Hellbound 2.5/5

Reviewed: 3-18-05


1. Never turning back
2. Your betrayal
3. The reaper's image
4. Hellbound
5. One step away
6. Fight
7. Cuts like blades
8. Seven
9. One world to live in
10. I am free (bonus track)

This is the 4th CD from this Swedish band with the oddly spelled name, a recorded career which started out with the stunningly fast, powerful, and clean 'Words of Nostradameus'. By 'The third prophecy', things had slowed down a bit and lost some of their compelling elements. Apparently we have a band here that does not really want to stay in the pure, clean power metal style which classified their first transcendent CDs, and the CD opens with a ripping sound and industrialized shriek from the vocalist that brings to mind things like recent Destruction and the like. Luckily, these stylisms seem to be more effects here and there, and they garnish something which still retains the heady, speedy, and melodic style which I loved in their opening works, but it's certainly not something I'd prefer to hear meshed in with this, and the sound certainly has overall of the dirtier production than their early work. The end result for the CD is something that is a direct cross between their first CD and, let's say Destruction's 'Metal discharge' or 'Antichrist'.

I suppose there are worse mixes, but every time a rasping effect is spilled across the production, I cringed, and every time a lead or vocal blazes out a sweet, glorious melody I exult, so there end up being a lot of highs and a few lows. I guess it keeps them from being too bored with what they're doing, and at least the latter element really seems to overcome the negatives, and there is a great deal here to enjoy, but in a rather disconcerting wrapping.




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