Review Summary: One of the best progressive metal albums this year, led by Dan Swanö himself4 of 4 thought this review was well written
Nightingale are a band I'd never previously heard of, in fact, I only bought this album because I knew Dan Swanö was in it. For those of you who don't know, Dan Swanö is the creative force behind many many bands, his style ranging from death metal to gothic metal and to what he has created with this album, progressive metal.
Dan Swanö (All Vocals. Rhythm, Lead & Acoustic guitar. Keyboard)
Tom Nouga (Rhythm, Lead, & Acoustic guitars. Keyboards)
Erik Oskarsson (Bass guitar)
Tom Bjorn (Drums
AS you can see, Swanö doesn't just do the vocals, he also does lead & acoustic guitars and the keyboards. Tom Nouga is Swanö's brother and also does his fair share, he helps out on the keyboards and also the guitars, he even sings in some of the songs, for example, 'Trial and Error'.
Now to the music, this isn't confusing prog metal you may have known from Dream Theatre with dizzying time changes and so on. No, this is much more mellow and easy to listen to, it even delves into 'pop rock' territory occasionally, and that doesn't make the album worse, far from it, it actually really suits the music. Dan Swanö's voice sounds as good as ever on this album, he can make you think of sorrow, anger, or joy depending on how he chooses to sing and that is something that is missing from a lot of metal vocalists now in my opinion. His vocals really shine on this album and help this to be such a great piece of work. The keyboards are another highlight on the album, whether they be taking the front seat in songs or just playing in the background they help create the mood for each song, especially the schizophrenic 'Hideaway'. The drumming is solid and consistent throughout the album, and it manages to keep a steady beat while raising the speed when needed. As on most metal albums recently, the bass is pretty quiet and you can only hear it if you try to single it out. Also, there are guitar solos aplenty on this album, and they all have a pretty jazzy feel to them.
The songs themselves are all pretty varied, with the lyrics speaking about a lot of different subjects. Be it love like the sorrowful 'To My Inspiration' where Dan sings about someone leaving. One of the great things Nightingale manage to do is to make your mood match that of the songs, for example the title song is about Dan feeling safe in his 'White Darkness' and although it sounds weird you actually feel safe listening to this song, it then speeds up and makes you feel wary with Swanö singing his heart out. "I need to stay awake, don't let it whither away!"
The song then slows down and you feel safe again, it's one of those strange things that stays with you after you've listened to the song. Dan also sings about religion, and how false he thinks it is. This isn't done in a black metal way, but more of a tasteful style and Dan explains why he feels that way. It's one of those songs where the lyrics actually mean something.
Nightingale manage to keep a good beat in all of their songs, each one has a nice tempo but strangely after the first listen there isn't a chorus that sticks into your head, apart from maybe 'Fields of Life', this is one of the few things the album doesn't have, but if you're like me you'll want to listen to the album more and more so eventually the songs get into your head anyway. All the songs stay around the five minute mark, which I thought was strange for a progressive album, and I wouldn't have minded a longer song or two but maybe that would have ruined the easy listening style of this album.
The only thing I feel this album is missing is a bit more aggression in it. Some of the songs are just a bit too mellow for my taste, but that is just personal preference and the best thing about Nightingale is that they sound like they are just playing the music they want to. They've had fun making this album and it shows.
All of the songs are good but my personal favourites are, the opener ‘Fields of Life’, ‘White Darkness’ and ‘Hideaway’.
Easy to listen to
Maybe a bit too mellow
Some longer songs would have been nice