Nocturnal Rites began life as the Swedish death metal outfit Necronomic, which released a demo tape titled The Obscure in 1991.
Gradually, as the bandmembers realized they would prefer to play more melodic strains of the metal they had enjoyed growing up -- British and Gothic metal bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Helloween -- their own style shifted in 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; Eriksson left quickly, however, and was replaced by Ulf Andersson, and in 1993, after a demo tape 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 by Nils Norberg in 1996, a guitarist talented enough 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. 2004 saw the release of New World Messiah, which was followed by a tour with Edguy and Brainstorm. The following year's ambitious Grand Illusion included guest spots from Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Henrik Danhage (Evergrey), Kristoffer W. Olivius (Naglfar), and Stefan Elmgren (HammerFall). 2007 saw the release of the band's eighth studio long-player, the aptly named The 8th Sin, but it would be over a decade before the band would release another one. In June 2017, the group dropped the single "Before We Waste Away," in anticipation of the release of their long-awaited ninth full-length Phoenix, which arrived later that September. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi