Nightmare Encrypted

Nightmare – Encrypted (Album Review)

Nightmare France Metal

Of all the bands to embark on a Heavy Metal journey during the early days of the genre, perhaps none other has a more chaotic story than Nightmare. One of France’s most internationally known Metal acts, they initially began in 1979 as more Punk Rock leaning. Soon their sound shifted, while nearly their entire lineup did the same; save only Vocalist Etienne Stauffert and Bassist Yves Campion who remained. From here, what is largely considered the classic lineup of the band, all took shape at the dawn of the ‘80s with Drummer Jo Amore, Vocalist Christophe Houpert (replacing Stauffert), along with Guitarist Nicolas De Dominicis and Jean Strippoli, joining Campion. Together they put out one of the early ‘80s most exciting Metal albums when Waiting for the Twilight arrived in 1984. An album which may not be as historically recalled by a broader audience as some other early Metal releases, Waiting for the Twilight is highly recommended for anyone who loves to uncover music that puts them a leg up on others who are less astute. 

Making note of this, Nightmare opted to quickly change things up once more, and in 1985 put out Power of the Universe with new Vocalist Jean-Marie Boix. Sounding different from Waiting for the Twilight, some might say Power of the Universe possessed more of a higher-flying Heavy Metal sound, thus ushering in a new direction. However, Nightmare’s turbulence did not stop here, because in the immediate years to follow Power of the Universe, the band struggled to find what they were looking for, and decided to disband around 1987.

Unfortunate to see, because they actually had really cool songs and something that could appeal to a larger audience outside of France, out of nowhere Nightmare reformed in 1999, but yet again, with a new lineup. This time moving Jo Amore over to lead vocals, with his younger brother David assuming the role on drums, returning was also De Dominicis, Strippoli, as well as Campion. A lineup that stuck together for most of the early 2000s, the resurrected band found a new stride that caught on and solidified them as a Power Metal force.

A really great comeback story, it should be noted this still did not spell the end of change for Nightmare; because Strippoli and De Dominicis left in 2004, before both Amore brothers did so in 2015. What could be viewed as  more setbacks, after the band had built momentum with seven extremely noteworthy Metal albums between 2001’s Cosmovision and 2014’s The Aftermath, once again, they were reinventing themselves. At this point looking to do something a bit different, they brought in Magali Luyten to handle vocals; and let us say it completely changed the dynamic of their sound. Extremely interesting, being Nightmare’s first ever female vocalist, Nightmare became rougher and tougher than ever before where Luyten sang on albums such as 2016’s Dead Sun, but also 2020’s Aeternam.

On another new path in a very different Heavy Metal world, it is hard to believe, but more change came when Luyten was replaced by Barbara Mogore in the fall of 2022. Truly a testament to Nightmare’s resolve to never give up, their latest configuration – original Bassist Yves Campion, Vocalist Barbara Mogore, Drummer Niels Quiais, along with Guitarists Franck Milleliri and Matt Asselberghs – look to move forward. Doing just that, they came out guns blazing in 2023 with Mogore on a re-recorded version of “Eternal Winter” (which was originally released on their 2009 album Insurrection). A great way to showcase the abilities of Mogore, a few months later, in March of 2024, details emerged that a brand new studio album entitled Encrypted would be released on June 7th.

What is to be their twelfth overall studio album, Encrypted will be out through AFM Records, and is preceded by two blistering singles in “Saviours of the Damned” and “Nexus Inferis.” At this point lightyears away from what some may recall from ’80s or even early 2000s era Nightmare, their evolution is not without leaving an impression. Essentially Nightmare are harder, heavier, and more aggressive than ever before. Amped up by guitar riffs that are fast, speedy, yet melodic, and drumming that is intense, it is something that will have you making a double take. Match this with a darker subtext to the overall sound of their songs, on top of it all Mogore utilizes powerful clean vocals, with sometimes even some growls, to grab you right by the throat.

As mentioned, vastly different from anything Nightmare has done before, it is without question that the new style might have long time fan’s a bit taken back, but once it all sinks in, they will find that these new songs cannot be denied. With so much aggression to take in, Encrypted as a whole is energized modern Heavy Metal with flashes of classic tendencies amidst each track. That considered, beyond the singles, each song on the album demands your undivided attention, but some highlights include the chant-along “Wake the Night,” plus “Incandescent,” “White Lines,” and also “The Blossom of my Hate.”

Overall, Nightmare have successfully weathered many storms, and triumphed in spite of everything to create another great Heavy Metal album. The next chapter in their saga, Cryptic Rock gives Encrypted 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Nightmare Encrypted
Nightmare – Encrypted / AFM Records (2024)

Like the in-depth, diverse coverage of Cryptic Rock? Help us in support to keep the magazine going strong for years to come with a small donation.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *