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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. ~ Steve Huey