Promotional material for this album (to be released 10th November, 2014) states that it is “steeped in uncomplicated ’70s and early ’80s-flavoured rock”. So, out of the arena comes music for the road, to slap on the wheel to without missing a gear change.
Nightingale is a Swedish outfit comprising of the brothers, Swano – Dan and Dag – plus Erik Oskarsson and Tom Björn. Dan has a good rock voice – just enough raw power to deliver passion.
Fans of the band and of Dan Swano’s solo output will be familiar with previous incarnations, touching goth, metal and progressive rock. For this release, Dan has channelled his love of AOR, reflecting his listening habits involving such bands as Journey and Foreigner. As he puts it himself, “it’s not easy to write simple stuff that’s good”.
Ten tracks of the “simple stuff” then. “Retribution” doesn’t often rise above standard fare, but it does have its moments – a knock you down, good old rock guitar solo, a jazzy flourish on the keyboards, a quiet acoustic passage and pleasing interplay between guitars and keyboards.
When this album frees itself from the familiar comfort zone of the stadium, we start to see what this band is really about. “On Stolen Wings” has a Middle Eastern-sounding riff running through. This is followed by “Lucifer’s Lament” – and why should the Devil get all the good tunes? No reason – but Satan gets his own song (as he’s “falling away from grace”) and good guitar work. Sweet jangly guitar begins “Forevermore”, a catchy rock offering. “Divided I Fall” is a departure for the album, more thoughtful and slower and with acoustic guitar. For prog rock lyrics and bombastic keyboards, look to “The Voyage Of Endurance”.
Lyric-wise, “27 (Curse Or Coincidence?)” is the most intriguing. Of course, it addresses the thorny issue of the so-called ’27 Club’, referring to the number of musicians who died aged 27, most famously Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix and Cobain – “it’s better to burn out than to fade away”. “Echoes Of A Dream” finishes the album on a high, with a blast of unadulterated rock guitar at the end of the track.
Retribution’s album cover is one of the coolest out there. Artwork aside, this release won’t set anyone’s turntables on fire, but if you like to listen to pumping pomp rock from musicians who like to push farther, it does its job.
Pre-order on iTunes:
Pre-order on Amazon: