(Review by Officer Nice) 

I’ve told you before that meanwhile became a treasure room to discover new fantastic, unknown, bands. As a major fan of US Metal I keep on looking for undiscovered gems, jewels you need to find out about now, before it’s too late and before it’s impossible to maintain their works. So I came out on a page from a band called Immortally Committed. A little voice in my head told me to dig the band but I couldn’t find any official release. I got in touch with drummer Mike Festa and he forwarded me to a band under the name of The Nightmare Stage. The search went on and I found out that this band released an album in 2010 that didn’t leave my CD-player for weeks!

The front-cover doesn’t breathe anything from a Heavy Metal band and I admit I would have never taken this album when I must have seen in a CD-store. But on one of the best CD-order companies on the Internet I had the possibility to listen to a few tracks and the band totally blew me away. This is the kind of Metal I really adore, the kind of music I am addicted to, the kind of musicians I bow my head very low for! This is Godlike American Progressive Power Metal that deserves positive reviews, attention form all labels and possible media! The label that is able to contract this band might be proud!

Fans of Savatage, Outworld, Darkology, Fates Warning, Symphony X, Beyond Twilight and all other bands in vein of these beauties will be astonished by “Free Admission For The Damned”. The total concept, the entire atmosphere, the song-writing and the performances are outside of every category and obliges me to rate this album highly. I suppose you know that more than 90 points means that the album must be heard by every Metal fan, no matter what their favourite subgenres are! It is meant for albums that have the opportunity to become a ‘classic one’, a record we will talk about in the next decade too… What links the previous mentioned bands and The Nightmare Stage is that all are able to mix Progressive metal with melody and that specific dark and evil mood! This is a horror film on CD!

This release contains the darkness that makes Metal so irresistible! The songs are full of killer riffs, outstanding arrangements and first class musicianship. Add the fact that this Progressive and technical played Metal is constantly melodic and everything I want in a band can be found back. Singer Scott Oliva really is a fantastic vocalist and his performances will leave you behind with eyes wide shut. Unknown for the world but so but unbelievable what this man is capable of. This guy owns a warm voice, a specific emotional timbre and a wide range. Think to a mixture between Zakk Stevens and Jorn Lande or Kelly Carpenter…

The guitars, the drum parts, keyboards and bass lines are impressive too and all the time the listener will have the feeling listening to one or another major project with the most famous en experienced musicians in this genre! Both, the guitars and the keyboard are playing a leading role in this story, these instruments are a part of the entire story! Well, these guys are not famous at all but are extremely talented and experienced. Writing and performing this kind of concept CD is exceptional and this release gives me the same kind of cold shivers I have while listening to “Operation: Mindcrime”! This means a lot but are well deserved! The darkness is all over on this one, it frightens the listener without any doubts and the used samples and intermezzo’s are bringing me in the right mood! The creatures of the night and figures of a horror carnival are playing along with these musicians, just fan-tas-tic! The members of this band are known from US bands like Oceans Of Night, Wind Wraith, Immortally Committed, Coded and Mourning Hour.

The production of this CD is very strong and every single track keeps on playing in my mind! If this one was released this year it would have ended as my favourite CD of the year. Add a very professional booklet and all I need to say is that The Nightmare Stage is one of the finest bands on this globe nowadays! I am a fan and can only advise you to surf to:   I can’t wait to hear what Immortally Commited is all about.

My Points: 99 / 100