NIGHTMARE – The Dominion Gate

NIGHTMARE - The Dominion Gate


Regain Records
Release Date: November 2, 2005

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Nightmare are actually what you can call ”Old Boys” in the Power Metal genre. They started their career back in 1979, and after many a’ label, band member, and album release, they ended up at the Soundsuite Studio (France) in 2001 with Norwegian producer Terje Refsnes. Refsnes is most known for producing and mixing records for bands like Tristania, Green Carnation, and Sirenia, and worked with Nightmare on their third album Cosmovision, a cooperation that was so successful that they also chose to work together for this album The Dominion Gate.

The album starts out very powerfully and heavy as a French Power Metal album should. ”Temple of Tears” has bombing war effects in the beginning, a choir in the background during the chorus, and whispering backing vocals, which gives that good “temple” feelings. There are also a lot of keyboard effects and a deep bass. They actually start off with one of the best songs on the album … and the good tunes just continue.

“A Taste of Armageddon” also has a lot of additional backing vocals, a catchy chorus, and almost an early German 80s sound to it. This is definitely a song Ronnie Dio or Doro Pesch could have sung. Jo Amore on vocals actually started out behind the drum kit, but has been the singer of Nightmare since 1999, and his voice on this album, and especially this song, is just incredible. It’s extremely powerful and with the combination of a few dreamy lines from the amazing Floor Jansen of After Forever this is just a song you have to love.

“Messenger of Faith” is a bit rougher than the two earlier songs; both the vocals and lyrics have a stately sound to them. Again, a catchy chorus and dreamy choir are in the background. A very Da Vinci Code-inspired song is ”Secret Rules.” An Old Italian man starts speaking about a mysterious sect and this is basically what the song is about. It’s both an intriguing song and story. Reading Nightmare’s Web site and seeing Jo Amores favourite book almost confirms that this song is based on The Da Vinci Code.

Having a band name like Nightmare, you definitely need a few songs that live up to the name and the “worst” song on this album is definitely “The Dressmaker.” This is a dark song and could have been from a Halloween movie soundtrack, you can just see the black cats lurking as you hear Metal being scratched and dunked in the background. Jo Amores’ voice sounds a lot like Ronnie Dio on this song. Just the mixed up mean dwarf-like voices could give you nightmares.

Unfortunately, the album takes a turn and gets weaker after this song and has a few album fillers; “Endless Agony” just doesn’t give any meaning when you can’t feel the agony in Amores singing, “Paranormal Magnitude” is a very short instrumental tune, and “Circle of the Dark” and “Heretic” are totally forgettable. “Haunting Memories,” which actually is a beautiful calm song that brings back the memories of the Scorpions and Gorky Park (does anyone remember them?) in the early 1990s. But, it does get a bit ruined by Jo Amore not using the full potential of his voice. Instead, he drags his voice in a hoarse way, which makes you wonder it maybe he needs a trip to the closest little boys’ room.

What really picks the album up again at the end is the title track “The Dominion Gate,” where Floor Jansen and Sander Gommans from the Dutch band After Forever join in with Jo Amore on vocals. It’s not the best on the album, but it has that little extra. Hearing Floor Jansen singing really makes you see Arwen from The Lord of The Rings come flying towards you. She totally owns this song, and it will make you want to hear more of her and less of him.

The absolute strongest and most modern tune on The Dominion Gate is “ The Watchtower.” It has Black Metal backing vocals in the beginning and a lot of exciting elements to it. Yet another song that lives up to the name Nightmare. The album’s best guitar solo can also be found on this song.

Most of Nightmare’s songs have a lot of keyboards and effects in the background, which makes the music very powerful and almost Gothic at times. This is quite typical for the producer Terje Refsnes and his earlier productions. This is really a great album, but unfortunately it has its low points with the five fillers in the middle, however, eight out of thirteen ain’t bad. So run out and buy a copy and take your Nightmare further.


  • Anne-Lene Rodahl

    Anne-Lene was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Oslo, Norway, and she was the first ”gal” on board!

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