Rise Records’ new band Nightmares is one to make a memorable first impression. Their horror movie themed debut album and wide sound variety in their released singles leave avid metalcore fans extremely curious about the band’s style. Once the debut record Suspiria is heard as one, the dark tones and captivating melodies put Nightmares in the limelight of the music scene.
In most hardcore music, bands throw in eerie elements to attract listeners, but in Suspiria, this haunting mood is the main event. While synth and sound effects are spotted here and there, the manipulation of mood through the songs’ pace and structure sends chills down listeners’ spines. The dreary guitar riffs of “Carnival Of Souls” surge into gut wrenching screams and an emotive release of vivid lyrics, “Oh your leech has bled me dry for the last time”. This unique take on their hardcore sound is what makes Nightmares such a strong up-and-coming band. They even take major risks with “The Tommyknockers” and use scratchy electronic beats and wordy vocal intonation to make it the most distinct track on Suspiria. Although the risk can be commended, its presence on the record is a bit puzzling.
Spooky sound effects aren’t the only components that dictate Suspiria’s daunting presence. Nightmares has no trouble packing their opening track with a punch. “Frontiers” provides its dark power with growling vocals and pounding instrumentals. The sharp guitar patterns dominate the refrain, foreshadowing the intensity of Suspiria with the lyrics “here comes the hurricane” and overwhelming vocals. Vocalist Carter Hardin does a spectacular job of transitioning his vocals and releasing explosive power with every note. This aggressive tone is always present on this record, and holds a significant force in their most brutal track, “Cujo”. These overwhelming instrumentals haunt listeners’ ears and showcase Nightmares’ strength in hardcore sounds.
Another major focus on Suspiria is the use of clean vocals. “Let The Right One In” starts as a slaying heavy track but is dictated by the fun and catchy melody of the refrain. At first listen, this method sounds a bit odd from its contrasting chugging riffs and tough lyrics, “You live in fear until the sun burns you out”, but the lighter mood of the chorus is a fantastic sign of the future development that Nightmares holds. “Hands Of The Ripper”, however, is less of a musical risk, but the classic metalcore structure is enhanced with the necessary captivating hooks to find an identity on the album.
The most popular track off of Suspiria is “In The Mouth Of Madness” due to the well-known Tyler Carter of Issues, who features on the song. Although listeners came for Carter, they stayed for Nightmares. The solid production and clarity is the key component on this track, highlighting the endless amounts of memorable vocals and instrumental hooks. The captivating refrain shows off Hardin’s wide vocal range and incredible skills. The background features support the eerie hints of the track and the consistent instrumental patterns showcase the unforgettable chorus in its glory. The emphasis on this melody is strongly held, making listeners feel the penetrating tempo in their bones. This track displays all the potential that Nightmares has to offer and excites new fans for more.
Overall, Nightmares has given themselves an incredible start in the music scene. Not many bands can create a name for themselves in their debut album, but Nightmares has done it. They stay true to their spooky aura while exploring their strengths and weaknesses, and manage to set a very high benchmark. Anyone who is tired of the generality of metalcore will find this record worth their time; the unique twists and themes of Suspiria are irresistible.