“Nuclear Blast 20 Years: Out Of The Dark” by Nuclear Blast All-Stars

Artist: Nuclear Blast Allstars
Title: “Nuclear Blast 20 Years: Out Of The Dark”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 10/2/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

When the light fades away we are left standing in the dark and if alone it often plays tricks on ones mind and can hold a foreboding and sinister grip on our psyche. Now that I have your attention I present the second part in the celebration of Nuclear Blast Records 20th Anniversary with “Out Of The Dark” – a CD that continues what we last heard on its predecessor “Into The Light”. Similar to “ITL”, the music has been written by a particular performer and all the songs are sung by different vocalists. With “Into The Light” we found rather upbeat and positive energy at the musical hands of Victor Smolski (Rage) and singers such as Tobias Sammett (EdGuy) and Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) but with “Out Of The Dark” the similarity ends here. Musically this one comes at the talented hands of Peter Wichers, who many remember from the band Soilwork, and while he is no longer a member he still remains one of the industry’s most talented individuals. Wichers did a great job on this one as he molds and works each tune to be a unique entity of its own and doesn’t give us a regurgitation of one same old style over and over. He managed to fit each track into the personality of who would sing it and the end result will really impress the most stoic of Metal followers. The tune by In Flames’ Anders was a good opener, but it seemed overshadowed by “Schizo” which is delivered by Hypocrisy/Pain’s leader Peter Tagtgren. The song had more Pain than Hypocrisy in there if you asked me but had a smoldering groove throughout that was oh so exciting. “Devotion” shows that Wichers could pen a Black Metal epic that was worthy of being part of the Dimmu Borgir set list if need be. However instead of Shagrath, we find Jari of Wintersun doing the vocals here and really showing that the dark is bleak and unforgiving.

Standing proud as I expected him to is Christian Alvestam of Scar Symmetry, and this is a band that I think more Metal fans should be listening to as well. Christian does both the light and dark vocals in this band so it was great to see him working with different material from his own. Wichers really allowed him to shine but that cannot be hard with two professionals like that working together. It was nice to hear John Bush (former Anthrax/Armored Saint) back on record again and he still has the pipes that make him such a unique singer. “The Dawn Of It All” was an interesting number for while it was sung by Soilwork’s own “Speed”, the tune itself didn’t sound like anything that the band has done so that was pretty cool. It‘s also the slowest tune on the album so it offers you a small breather before it kicks back in (but be aware this is not an intermission track by any means). We get a track from the Kataklysm, Sonic Syndicate, Death Angel and Mnemic singers as well, but I am going to leave a little room for you to investigate on your own now. The drums on the entire CD are played by Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork/Scarve) and he is a machine on the kit. Henry Ranta, another ex-Soilwork member also helps out with some of the performance on the release. I haven’t decided if I liked this one better than the previous chapter because each held some level of appeal to my musical preferences. I will say that “Out Of The Dark” is certainly heavier and darker so if that’s what rules your CD rack then this one is the one you need to look into first but I don’t recommend your passing up on the “Light” side. As I completed the initial listen I found myself returning to the second, third and fourth tracks once again and this time around at a considerably higher volume because isn’t that how Metal is best appreciated?

As I said in my closing for the “Into The Light” release, this kind of release proves the level of creativity and diversity of the label artist roster very clearly by taking that which you expect and re-working the formula around to something all the more interesting. They also include a bonus CD which features current label superstars such as Dimmu Borgir and Meshuggah and introduces you to their own new signings with Nile and Epica. Nile is not a new band to the Metal faithful, but Epica could very well be and you MUST purchase their label debut for it is amazing.

Bonus CD: The Ancestral Fever (Dimmu Borgir), Tyrants (Immortal), As He Creates So He Destroys (Nile), Purge The World (Exodus), The Martyr (Bleed The Sky), Futile Breed Machine (Meshuggah), Replica (Epica), Prisoner Of War (All Shall Perish), All Is Not Forgotten (Agnostic Front).

Track Listing:
1. Dysfunctional Hours (Anders Friden)
2. Schizo (Peter Tagtgren)
3. Devotion (Maenpaa)
4. The Overshadowing (Christian Alvestam)
5. Paper Trail (John Bush)
6. The Dawn Of It All (Bjorn “Speed” Strid)
7. Cold Is My Vengeance (Mauricio Iacono)
8. My Name Is Fate (Mark Osegueda)
9. The Gilded Dagger (Richard Sjunnesson & Roland Johannson)
10. Closer To The Edge (Guilliame Bideau)

Official Website: www.nuclearblastusa.com

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