Nocturnal Alliance
The Third phase of Destruction

01 The 3rd phase of destruction
02 Random pain
03 Implicated by circumstance
04 6th sense
05 The dark shades of black
06 I see myself dead
07 Shine
08 Within a lie
09 The meaning of pain
08 D.I.D.
08 With
08 How I'm dead
* Song numbers are the bands own

Henrik Johansson (keyboards, drums, percussion, choirs)
Micke Därth (all rhythm and acoustic guitars, bass, choirs)

Dark Voices (2005)
What Makes That Evil Tick (2007)

Peo Pettersson (lead vocals, choirs)
Linus Abrahamson (lead guitar)
Michelle (lead vocals, choirs)
Janne Ström (lead guitar)

Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Nocturnal Alliance
Recorded at C. Oak Studio
Cover photo by Micke Därth
Booklet design by Micke Därth
CD Artwork by Henrik Johansson

Released 2009
Reviewed 28/8-2011


First impression as I receive a two year old album is "well, this feels quite desperate for attention, doesn't it?". The second impression comes from the cover that feels quite cheap. My third impression is "well, after all it's a real album" - that's far from given these days that bands makes a CD with cover and such. My fourth impression comes when I start to play the album… what the fuck is the deal with the sound?

Too bad, guys. You had bad luck with the reviewer put on your album. Here's the radical, mean and overall exaggerating reviewer that doesn't seem to have any sort of perforation that makes sense. And this time I haven't just settled with the normal tool box, i've actually taken the walk down to my local hardware store to have all the necessary tools to thrash this album if it comes down to that. In hindsight this somewhat extreme approach to review this album might feel somewhat unduly… but not completely wasted.

The music is mostly related to normal power metal and the melodies are quite simple. In the background we can find layers of keyboards rolled up in carpets that seems inspired by cheap horror movies of the 80's and in the front there are these guitar driven metal melodies that sometimes breaks out in to a wall of almost Dream Theater (ish) keyboard outbursts. The normal sound, though, goes like this: thumping with the guitars, thumping with the bass, go down in tempo and play some keys, go back to the thumping sound again. The band makes a big effort trying to add to the sound picture by combining different guitar sounds in layers by combining lead and rhythm guitars, which makes the sound bigger and stronger but the rhythmic sound comes straight through this and makes the thumping dominate anyway and after four or five songs I normally start to look at how much of the album is left… 45 minutes!!?? What the hell! This won't do, it's way to repetitious to make it. But then something happens. At the sixth song the album takes a turn towards the better, the melodies gets stronger and more inventive. Instrumentally they actually seem to play together and even the production feels somewhat better (although that particular thing might be my imagination). Why didn't the album begin here? Why didn't they trash the first five songs? How much better wouldn't this album be if they've only done that?

Here are some numbers to entertain yourself around. There are twelve songs on this album and the album last for a full 76 (and a half) minutes. Three songs (only) are under 5 minutes, while the other nine all last for more than 5.37. My stereo doesn't approve on all the 12 songs but claims they are only nine, which is probably due to how they've done the album (the track list might give a hint about it), and counting on that the average time for each song is 8 1/2 minutes! Now, it's extremely seldom that an album will work for 76 (and a half) minutes, and with this album that has a sound similar to if they've stood inside a soda can and were playing makes me start to look for the chain saws inside the hardware stores saw-department to really rip this one is pieces. The real problem, though, isn't the production - it's the length of the album. And if you think this album is long? Just wait until they're finished with their ongoing project, a double CD production that will play for over 100 minutes and then the band mention this I simply just burst out "But give it a rest for fuck sake!". Long albums can be good, just look at Ayreon that pulls them of on a daily basis almost, but before you do albums that long, you should at least be able to make an hour of music where you're sitting blown away throughout the entire album and that's the problem with this. As much as I'd love to give these guys a pat on the back and tell them how much I look forward to hear those 100 minutes I just have to say "KILL - YOUR - (fucking) - DARLINGS!". Push the time down rather than up. Do it right and real well instead. Quality beats quantity. Much better than making albums so long no one wants to hear them out.

Except for the length, the biggest issue with this album lies in the production and especially the sound quality. The songs themselves have no major or obvious faults, men it's a bit bizarre actually… 76 1/2 minutes? When am I suppose to play an album that last for this long? Perhaps going to work in my car or on a buss or train or subway? That would be a very long trip unless the travel time should be shorter than the playing time. Maybe then while you sit at home and do crosswords in your arm chair? Well, that's nothing I would recommend due to the characteristics of this album. it's not really background music we're talking - I've tried that and it mostly gave me head ache because of the thumping rhythm section. Then maybe you could play it while at work? Well, depending on what kind of job you have that possibility might rule it self out and otherwise you'll probably have the same issue as I just mentioned. And to just play the album, sitting and listening to it intensively - that just feel like a waste of time when it's this long. Waste might sound harsh but come on! it's 76 1/2 minutes long, to play that every day would be 9 hours in a week and 464 hours in a year - that's 19 days. At least I would say 19 days a year is a waste if you don't use them better.

So, for whom and what is the album made for (the way it is made)? Perhaps for a prisoner with lots of hours to spare? Or if you would be some sort of North Pole scientist? Or if you're on the crew of Sea Shepperd, fighting insane Japanese people? I have a hard time seeing who would want to end up with those psychopaths, so that's not likely either but that might be it otherwise. Mostly though, I feel the band waste their good material and their talent and competence making long albums. I've never reasoned this way "I feel like playing a record… I think I pick this one because it's the longest". Have you? They're much quality in this material and most of that comes on the second half where the melodies are more resourceful and less thumping. My personal favorite is the sixth song, but since it's called I See Myself Dead it might be a bad omen...

'The 3rd Phase of Destruction' is a decent album. The material is good enough. The inventiveness of the material and instrumentally it's okay too. But on three things this album just doesn't cut the mustard. The three things I most commonly complain about. these three things makes the album stay at okay and don't get any better in my book. These three things are the length, the production and THE LENGTH!


Label: Self produced
Three similar bands: Evergrey/Psychotic Waltz/Cloudscape
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Recensent: Caj Källmalm
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