Retro Metal For the Masses
CoC Interviews Nocturnal Rites
by: Adrian Bromley
If you're going to play music, you might as well play it fast and furious. Keep it melodic and in check with a solid rhythm section and you're going places nowadays. Words to live by? You bet. Nocturnal Rites has kept those guidelines in mind and it has allowed them to produce one hell of a metal record: _Tales of Mystery and Imagination_.

While initially surfacing as a death metal-styled act with their debut disc _A Time of Blood and Fire_, released on a small European label, the band opted to bring more melody into their sound and eventually they [the band is comprised of Anders Zackrisson (vocals), guitarists Nils Norberg and Fredrik Mannberg, Nils Eriksson (bass) and drummer Ulf Andresson] signed a deal with Century Media. Things started to look promising for them.

"We are just so happy with the way the evolution of the band has taken," says bassist Nils Eriksson about the band's melodic metal (i.e. Helloween, Iron Maiden) qualities on their new disc. "I mean... we knew where we wanted to take this music. Right now we are in the midst of gathering ideas for new material. Though nothing has been recorded, you can expect to see Nocturnal Rites continuing on in the same sound and direction in the future."

"On this new record we really didn't change much on our approach in the studio or recording material. It was all planned and we knew which was to be the way to handle the recording." He adds, "This band has been around for more than eight years now and it is quite cool to see how a band changes their way or style when creating music. It's like yourself and being a writer, the more you do it the better you will get. With writing songs and stuff, it all falls into place and you develop certain styles that work. Songs will always get better, that is just the ways things work."

In the long run, Nils believes that his band truly does have the staying power. "I think we have a good load of material for the next few records. I don't think we will run out of ideas. We all have all of these ideas and arrangements running around in our heads all of the time. It's hard not to want to be creative when you are in a band that wants to be successful as well as creative with what you create."

The sound of Nocturnal Rites is very standard 80s metal. A sound that has recently begun to take an interest amongst many metal fans once again. Bands like HammerFall, Primal Fear and several others have helped to bring back this vividly melodic metal tone to metal music of the 1990s. "We are very proud of the music here," he states, "We wanted to bring the music of Nocturnal Rites to where it is nowadays. We pay homage to the bands we grew up listening to and making melodic metal to play loud." On the makeup of the band's sound, Nils says, "I think Nocturnal Rites is a combination of the early German metal scene, like Scanner and Gamma Ray, and the whole British music scene sound, like Iron Maiden and Saxon. We fall into those two types of categories when one is trying to define our sound. Those bands we grew up listening to and they have found their way into our music for sure."

Continuing, he says, "I think Nocturnal Rites is a great asset for metal music nowadays. So what if we play retro metal, spawned on by our influences? Who cares? The thing that I believe makes us such a good band is that we have a varied sounding LP. An LP that showcases a band eager to bring out the best of their experiences on record."

The band's label, Century Media, has been a blessing for the band. Their previous small label did hardly anything for their debut effort. The band didn't see much success over there and that was one of the reasons the band felt the need to move labels. Eriksson offers, "Century Media has been great for us. We are getting good exposure, tour dates and getting the albums out to the stores. Something our old small indie label could not provide us with. In this business it is all about exposure and getting the band's name out to the masses."

What does Nils think about the diverse roster of Century Media? "I think it is really good that the label has a full roster of all types of music. I think it's cool 'cause someone might like a band on Century Media and give another band on the label, of another style/genre, a listen. I don't see any problem with the many forms of music that they are signing to their label. It's great to have a label with such diversity."

For those of you in the know, both Nils and Fredrik (guitarist) also play in the thrash/retro three-piece known as Guillotine on Necropolis Records [interviewed in CoC #30]. Nils is excited to be a part of both projects, applying equal time and responsibility to each band. "It's really not that hard to separate the works of both bands," explains Nils, "I mean... Guillotine plays music that is much more back to basics and rawer than Nocturnal Rites. It is so different. I feel that both bands are so far apart from what style and sound they deliver. It really isn't a task to be a part of both outfits. Making music is what I do and being in both bands keeps me busy. And when I'm busy, I'm one happy musician."

(article submitted 7/6/1998)

9/1/2002 A Bromley Nocturnal Rites: Growth Through Experience
6/15/1999 A Bromley Nocturnal Rites: Nightly Nastiness
12/7/2005 A McKay 8.5 Nocturnal Rites - Grand Illusions
10/25/2000 A Bromley 6 Nocturnal Rites - Afterlife
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