Founded in 1979, French heavy metal pioneers NIGHTMARE. Garnering critical acclaim from their opening show to Def Leppard in 1993, debut album ‘’Waiting for Twilight’’ followed up with ‘Power of the Universe’ coming hot on its heels in 1995.
After a four-year hiatus, the band came roaring back onto the scene with a new album ‘‘Astral Deliverance’’ was released in 1999 with former drummer Jo Amore assuming his new role as the band’s vocalist and drum duties handed to his brother David Amore. Over the following years, this incredibly hard working, prolific band continued to release albums & tour worldwide, playing some of the biggest metal festivals like Wacken, Hellfest, 70,000 Tons of Metal, Gods of Metal and supporting the likes of Sabaton, Saxon, Grave Digger and Blind Guardian.
With the moniker “the best heavy metal export out of France’’ firmly under their belts, they release a new album ‘The Burden of God’ was released to critical acclaim in 2012, seamlessly combining the band’s classic power metal roots with symphonic and contemporary elements. ‘The Aftermath’ was released May 2014 and marked the end of the band’s collaboration with vocalist Jo Amore and drummer David Amore, with the band vowing to return stronger than ever. In 2016, Maggy Luyten (Beautiful Sin, Beyond the Bridge, ex-Ayreon) took over vocal duties on new album ‘Dead Sun’, with the band touring this release for upwards of three years before Maggy decided to move on.
They return in 2020 with hugely talented female vocalist, Madie (Faith In Agony) as the new singer, unbowed, unbreakable and inspired, ready to take their music to a whole new level. and have recorded their most ambitious album to date, Aeternam, set for release on 2nd October 2020 on AFM Records.
IMM: Hi Madie, good to talk you. I have been listening to the new album and is non-stop hard hitting from beginning to end. Let’s start with little about you like your influences of music and singers?
Madie: Hi Craig, thanks for your kind words! My influences are quite large and multiple, I can listen and admire all styles of music and singers. In metal of course, but also in rock, soul, blues, pop and even rap too! To be more precise, I can cite a few that particularly touch me: I always quote Janis Joplin first: This artist touches me with her powerlessness and by her way of conveying her emotions, it’s raw, it’s impulsive and powerful! Amy Winehouse too. By this detachment that hides so much sensitivity, weariness, loneliness too. It sweats even in its stamp. Chris Cornell, his groove, and that vocal amplitude … and So many more!
IMM: How did you and the band meet and when you joined? Did you hear the band’s music prior joining? They had male and female singers previously.
Madie: I didn’t really know Nightmare’s discography but I did know their fame. I am from Grenoble, the city where Nightmare was born 40 years ago. Yves had apparently spotted me 10 years earlier during one of my first gig with my first band: Smoky Eyes. As he likes to say “I underlined his name with several strokes”, he then trusted us with Faith In Agony to open for Ultra Vomit on a very nice sold-out date. A year ago, I received a call from Niels (drums): Maggy Luyten decides not to continue the adventure and leaves Nightmare, A gig is scheduled for the end of July, we are at the beginning of April… So I was able to learn Dead Sun in its entirety for the concert, as well as a few other older titles. It was mainly around this time that I discovered Nightmare musically. The concert having gone very well despite a storm on the day of the festival, Matt, Niels, Franck and Yves decide to make me join the band! I was more than delighted and honored to continue the long history of Nightmare that Jo Amore and Maggy Luyten have created and grown.
IMM: Was the band doing live shows before the country did its “lockdown”? We all will be celebrating when this over and the power or control and no masks is ended even at the United States.
Madie: Unfortunately, we were only able to play together on this last date of July 27, and we are very frustrated. So we quickly went to writing Aeternam. The recordings took place during the confinement. Like the whole world, I think we all look forward to celebrating live performance again. We can’t wait to see you all!
IMM: Now on to the album are the songs new and/or songs from previous demos to be recorded for this album?
Madie: Many of the songs were already written, demos were basically done yes 🙂
IMM: Who is the main song writer(s) and you have input on the lyrics?
Madie: We have all collaborated on Aeternam. I came up with the overall theme for the album and we all agreed. A lot of my vocals, a lot of lyrics too, have been kept identical, Yves is a master of melodies, he knows how to make verses shine and come up with “catchy” choruses. It was really nice to share these moments of work together.
IMM: Now to the songs. Who decided to have‘’Aeternam’’ to be release first, then ‘’Lights On” and “Divine Nemesis”?
Madie: In link with AFM records, we have made the choice of diversity. Aeternam first, because we had thought about a fairly precise clip storyboard and also because it bears the name of the album. Light’s On is the most unifying track for us, very fluid, easy to listen to and very effective. Divine Nemesis, because we wanted to show the diversity of influences that Aeternam offers. Divine is both very Heavy and trashy at the same time. I think this choice of diversity marks a new identity for Nightmare.
IMM: There are 10 songs on this album what are they about such as: the title track, “Temple of Acheron”, “Black September”, “ Crystal Lake”, “ Anneliese, “Lights On” and “Divines Nemesis”?
Madie: The overall theme of the album is Decomposition Towards Madness. The concept behind Aeternam comes from the 80’s. I wanted to pay homage to the long career of Nightmare which also emerged from this decade and during which we all grew or kept the inspirations.The 80’s are culturally marked by the claws of great horror films, still cults today. Each song relates to one of these great heroes of horror cinema: Jason, Freddy, Alien, The thing, Carrie The exorcist… The other titles refer directly to the madness of humans as a whole, to the possession.
IMM: The videos for “Lights On” and “Devine Nemesis” are simple productions though “Aternam” has you and band mates in a bunker on lying down being drugged for an experiment. And “Lights On” with lyrics and female having images in her dreams or nightmares?
Madie: As I said above, each title has a specific reference: Aeternam refers to the film “Flatliners”, the experience of death and then of experienced voluntary resuscitation. Divine Nemesis refers to “Carrie” in her duality and “Lights On to Freddy Kruegger”.
IMM: Your favorite song the album?
Madie: This is a difficult question, I love them all. If you really have to choose, I would say Crystal Lake.
IMM: What is the album cover message and symbols mean with a human hunched/sitting in a triangle with snakes on each arm extended?
Madie:For the artwork of Aeternam we worked with Mickey from Myth-rid Art, he did a really great job and was very responsive. We wanted to keep the idea of a female model and at the same time integrate these notions of alienation (the snakes), of madness (the contention) and of possession (the arms outstretched as well as all these cannibalistic signs in which the name of the album).
IMM: What are plans for performing when these political powers grabs lockdowns, shutdowns restrictions and masks are done with?
Madie: The plan is to play live ! To go all together to defend Aeternam wherever we can listen and share it! We’re also gearing up some future little things for you to watch!
IMM: Thanks for your time and for a good 2021. We all will be celebrating and burning masks LOL.
Madie: Thank you to you for your interest and your kindness! I note that we will burn the masks in 2021! Get ready!