Nightrage is no longer the super group driven by multi-project guitarist Gus G. and former At The Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg, as both members have left the band, the former to concentrate on his own bands and the latter because of creative differences. Now, if you've never heard the band's earlier albums, then there is no reason why you wouldn't enjoy A New Disease is Born, assuming you're a fan of In Flames circa Clayman.
This album packs Gothenburg-style melodic death, driven by Marios Iliopoulos' melodic guitar signature, and the stomping rhythm work by Henric Karlsson on bass and new member Alex Svenningson on drums. New vocalist Jimmie Strimell of Death Destruction and Cipher System fame is a fitting replacemet, as he is capable of both face-ripping death growls and clean vocal harmonies, absent on earlier songs. Tracks like the brutal opener "Spiral", busy with an onslaught of rhythm battery and sledgehammer riffery, also contain acoustic breaks for clean-sung parts. Similarly, "Reconcile" merges Strimmell's three different vocal styles into a relatively compact composition. It is filled with clean choruses, low death growls, and more modern metalcore-like screaming. Topped by a catchy guitar motif, this song is a real winner.
If you enjoyed In Flames' Clayman album, carried by an instantly gripping melodic quality and simple-to-follow song structures, the accessible guitar theme of "Scathing" and the folksy power metal-style melodies of "Scars of the Past" are going to be your favourites. The latter is actually a number that boasts killer staccato riffery in its intro, but with a progression into more melodic territory it offers memorable licks and guitar phrases. "Death-like Silence" is also among the heaviest songs on the album. Octopus drumming, crushing bass arpeggios, and precise rhythm guitars culminate in a melodic finale, where even the suffocating death growls turn into an anthemic pop chorus. The last song, which is the title track, is a sweet instrumental based on beautiful acoustic guitars and definitely worth a listen.
A New Disease is Born is far from original, but within the realm of Swedish melodic death, it is an album many may enjoy. The production was handled by Jacob Hansen which means the CD sounds exactly like everything else he produced, be it Mercenary, Hatesphere, or Fear My Thoughts. Contrary to many fans' opinions, I've never been too fond of his production work, as I don't favour overtly compressed records. They sort of flatten the dynamic quality in my opinion. Still sonically, the album is certainly packed with energy that suits these songs. That said, the earlier albums are slightly more to my liking, as they carry Gus G.'s signature all over them.