Review Summary: Wear your favorite white jacket, roll up your sleeves and dance to the tunes of these Swedish metalheads
Metalheads are a weird bunch; most of them will discard altogether the idea of jamming an AOR LP in full, but when members associated with Soilwork and Arch Enemy unite to record their interpretation of the aforementioned genre, then heads turn. That’s not to say that The Night Flight Orchestra don’t deserve the praise, as their take on late ‘70s-early ‘80s pop and rock music is very successful. The Swedes are far from a nostalgia act whose sole reason is to copy its influences. On the contrary, they integrate the best elements from bands like Toto and Journey, to their songwriting while trying to create their own sound. Of course, the outcome is not highly original, yet it’s very entertaining.
Their initial albums revolved around hard and pomp rock, and with every release, they added more to their palette. On 2018’s Sometimes The World Ain't Enough
, they introduced more disco-oriented songs like “Paralyzed” and “Pretty Thing Closing In”, which were among the standout tracks. So if you, like me, enjoyed the aforementioned songs, you will love Aeromantic
, as on their latest offering, the Swedish outfit has further developed that sound. That means that the music revolves mostly around the keyboard and the rhythm section, rather than the guitars. However, besides the solid songwriting, the main reason to jam this one is the amazing vocal melodies, as Björn Strid steals the show with some absolutely fantastic lines supported by harmonized female vocals. It is apparent that the band has strived to create catchy and memorable choruses, with “Divinyls” being the most successful example. There is also a nice mix of more energetic tracks like “Taurus”, “This Boy's Last Summer” and “Sister Mercurial”, and softer ones like “Curves” and “Golden Swansdown” which sounds as if it belongs in the Top Gun
soundtrack. There is also “Dead of Winter” that leans slightly towards progressive rock, “If Tonight is our Only Chance” which is largely influenced by Abba and “Transmissions” with the uplifting violin solo that has a cool synthwave vibe going on.
Despite all the positives, Aeromantic
suffers from the same issue as virtually every release by these guys. Specifically, clocking at 54 minutes, it could benefit from some trimming or even the omission of a couple of tracks, namely “Servants of the Air” and the title track, which are too ordinary and average. Also, the album lacks a couple more strong AOR songs like “Something Mysterious” and “Living for the Nighttime”.
Nonetheless, most of the songs on here have single potential, which makes Aeromantic
one of the strongest releases by The Night Flight Orchestra. The album’s main selling point is that it can lift your spirits and it definitely does that. It is also a great window to everything that made AOR so fun, and an opportunity for younger audiences to delve into the genre. So wear your favorite white jacket, roll up your sleeves and dance to the tunes of these Swedish metalheads.