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Nocturnal Rites began life as the Swedish death metal outfit Necronomic, which released a demo tape entitled The Obscure in 1991. Gradually, as the band members realized they would prefer to play more melodic strains of metal they had enjoyed growing up -- British and Gothic metal bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Helloween -- their own style shifted towards that retro direction, and Nocturnal Rites was born. The original lineup included vocalist/guitarist Fredrik Mannberg, rhythm guitarist Mikael Söderstrom, bassist Nils Eriksson, and drummer Tommy Eriksson; Tommy Eriksson left quickly and was replaced by Ulf Andersson, and in 1993, after a demo tape in their new style attracted some interest, Mannberg abdicated vocal duties to concentrate on lead guitar and make way for singer Anders Zackrisson. This lineup recorded In a Time of Blood and Fire in 1995 for the Megarocks label; poor distribution, however, led the band to seek greener pastures. Söderstrom left the band at that point and was replaced in 1996 by Nils Norberg, a good enough guitarist to share lead duties with Mannberg. Andersson was forced to leave the band in the summer of 1998 due to a leg injury, and was replaced by Ove Lingvall. The group's sophomore album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, was issued in 1998 by Century Media; The Sacred Talisman followed a year later, featuring keyboardist Mattias Bernhardsson. 2000 found the band with a new lead vocalist, Jonny Lindkvist, who debuted that year on the Riot/Rainbow-influenced Afterlife.
Nocturnal Rites is a Swedish power metal band formed in 1990.
The band started off under the name Necronomic playing heavy metal, as can be heard on their demo (The Obscure, 1991). This attracted some independent labels' attention, but they turned them down in the hope of a better opportunity. On the 2-track promo that was recorded in 1992, their style had evolved into a slightly more melodic, Iron Maiden-influenced sound, but was still unmistakably death metal.
The band initially consisted of Fredrik Mannberg (guitar/vocals) and Tommy Eriksson (drums), who then hired bassist Nils Eriksson. Following their change of style, the band hired vocalist Anders Zackrisson, whose voice was more adapted than Fredrik Mannberg's to power metal. Tommy Eriksson was soon after replaced by Ulf Andersson. The band also added a second guitarist, Mikael Söderström. By this time they had fully evolved into the Helloween-style power metal sound of their first three albums.
In 1994, the band signed with Swedish label Dark Age, and the first album In a Time of Blood and Fire was released in collaboration with Megarock Records in 1995. After this, guitarist Mikael Söderström decided to leave the band and was replaced by Nils Norberg. Despite being a replacement for the band's rhythm guitarist, Norberg became their lead player, with Mannberg switching almost entirely to rhythm from then on. The second album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, was first released in Japan in late 1997. It was released in Europe in March 1998 on Century Media. The band toured Europe with Overkill and Angel Dust.
The third album, The Sacred Talisman was released in 1999 and featured a new drummer, Owe Lingvall due to a leg injury of Ulf Andersson. The album entered the Japanese charts at No. 83. Only 2 weeks after the release, the band toured Europe with Nevermore, Morgana Lefay and Sacred Steel and participated in Open air festivals such as 1999's Dynamo festival. After this, singer Anders Zackrisson was replaced by former Mogg frontman Jonny Lindqvist, a former band mate of Owe Lingvall. His voice was quite different from his predecessor's, which gave the band a new face on their next album, Afterlife, released in 2000. The band then toured Europe once again with Iron Savior.
2004 saw the release of the album New World Messiah, followed by a 6 week tour with Edguy and Brainstorm. Two videos were also released in December, Awakening and Against the World, both of them produced by drummer Owe Lingvall.
In 2005, the 10th anniversary was celebrated with the re-release of the 2 first albums and some bonus material on the Lost in Time double CD. The band also played a live show, Demons at the Opera with a 55-piece orchestra at the Umeå Opera House. A documentary about the show was broadcast on Swedish national television.
The album Grand Illusion, out in 2005, featured many special guests, including Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Henrik Danhage (Evergrey), Kristoffer W. Olivius (Naglfar), Stefan Elmgren (HammerFall), and, more surprisingly, the Swedish world champion of cross-country skiing (three times world cup gold winner), Per Elofsson who comes from the same town as the band, Umeå.
The band also toured with such acts as Nightwish, Gamma Ray, HammerFall and Labyrinth, and played in festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Sweden Rock, Gates Of Metal, etc.
A new studio album, "The 8th Sin", was released in 2007. Nils Norberg left the band the following year due to personal reasons. He was replaced by Christoffer Rörland.
Mannberg and Erikson are also members of the thrash metal band Guillotine, and Rörland has joined Sabaton as of 2012.