If memory serves, I know little to nothing about Sweden's Nightingale. So, we'll learn together. Started as a one-off solo project by composer and multi-instrumentalist Dan Swanö, Nightingale has evolved to put out seven studio albums in the last 20 years. Retribution is the latest, with band signed to progressive music label, InsideOut Music.
Which seems odd at first. I wouldn't characterize Nightingale as progressive rock band. Certainly there's depth and ambition to the arrangement, but these compositions don't fold into some musical rocket science prog wonkery. With some investigation, I've found that early roots of Nightingale had Swano exploring his interest in melodic gothic rock. If the same is intended for this album, I'm not hearing it. But than "goth" stuff has never been my thing.
What Nightingale does remind me of is late 70's to early 80's melodic hard rock, only with a lot more curious and spacious synthesizers. Listening to On Stolen Wings, you might even want to label this symphonic melodic rock at times. Oh yeah, Swano himself has this melodic, subdued, fine sandpaper voice which only reminds me of Michael MacDonald (of Doobie Brothers fame). Otherwise, Retribution has some tasty material within. Mostly, everything rocks with a good groove, along with strong melody and hooks in both arrangement and lyrics. Some songs are a tad heavier, bit metalish, like On Stolen Wings or Warriors of the Dawn.
Others like Divided I Fall, more smooth, moving by acoustic guitar, synth, and Swano's engaging voice. Curse of Coincidence is another moves in light with voice, piano, and drums more prominent, at least until rising crescendo at the end with a nice guitar solo. Chasing The Storm, alternatively, has a true AOR thanks to the groove but also the spry keyboard line and the light electric guitar which sounds like something taken a Dire Straits. And the guitar lines are some of the best parts here with solid and soaring traditional rock guitar leads. A final kudo should be tossed to the album's production which is basically immaculate, the balance of the musical elements being handled especially well. Fundamentally, Retribution is another fine accomplishment from the Swano brothers and band, quite enjoyable melodic hard rock. Recommended.
Nightingale's Retribution is another fine accomplishment from the Swano brothers and band, quite enjoyable melodic hard rock. Recommended.
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