Nightshade - _Wielding the Scythe_
(Scarlet, 2001)
by: Vincent Eldefors (7.5 out of 10)
Nightshade is a Swedish band that was formed in 1995. After having gone through some line-up changes and the recording of three demos, they have now signed a record deal with the quickly growing Italian label Scarlet Records for three albums. The first one has been given the title _Wielding the Scythe_, and beneath the nice cover art from Joe Petagno (Motorhead, a.o.) there is a disc filled with the music that made the Nordic countries some of the leading metal nations in the world. The most obvious influence for Nightshade is derived from the bands that created the Gothenburg sound: At the Gates, In Flames, Ceremonial Oath and other well-known acts. I can't help it, but I am very partial for melodic death metal when it is well done, and these guys are by now highly skilled musicians -- something you can easily tell when listening to this debut album of theirs. Besides the great guitar riffs, there are also some very nice keyboards added that give the band a very fresh sound, with some minor folk music influences as well. Sweden is still going strong and Nightshade is another new band to look out for. They may not have the power of The Haunted, but they have something else which is just as important: the melodic beauty of bands like In Flames and At the Gates. Most of the tracks on this album are great (with the exception of the somewhat foolish-sounding "Sanctum") and the growled vocals are also very nicely done. My final judgment on Nightshade is that they sound like a modern mix of old In Flames and the latest Old Man's Child album: thrashy, melodic and a little black. The production was handled by Pelle Saether at Studio Underground in Vasteras, and once again he has done a more than satisfying job with the sound. If you like melodic death metal done the Swedish way but still would like to hear something fresh, then this album is worth checking out. It will be most interesting to see where Nightshade will take us in the future.


(article published 14/1/2002)

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