By Samantha Wu

Nightingale is the Swedish progressive metal project originally started by singer/songwriter Dan Swanö formerly of Edge of Sanity. As their website states, Nightingale is the project that never died having begun in 1995 and continuing to this day with their latest studio album released last year, Retribution.

Though Nightingale began as a solo goth rock project by Swanö, Retribution certainly does not sound like that. There’s a lot thrown into the mix with this album – progressive elements blended with synthesizer and other electronic sounds, an ’80s almost new wave approach to a few songs (such as “Divided I Fall” and “Lucifer’s Lament”), and an epic driven force behind tracks like “The Voyage of Endurance” and “Warriors of the Dawn”.

Admittedly, this is my first exposure to the music of Nightingale and with all these different musical influences thrown into the cauldron, I wasn’t sure what to make of it upon first listen. After a while, I have to say the band is growing on me. I’m no stranger to surging “epic” metal as is evident for my love of the band Kamelot and there are definitely enough Kamelot-like components to hold my interest.

My biggest concern was though I do enjoy all the different ingredients that make up this album, I wasn’t sure if blended together that they would sound any good. Here’s the result – though your musical brain will shift gears throughout the listening of the album, the transition isn’t unpleasant and does make for a unique and fun ride.

There are certain moments in the album where I find the lyrics to lean uncomfortably on the pedestrian side sounding rather akin to monster poetry I wrote in my preteen years. “On Stolen Wings” is that such song where though the tune is good and decent, I can’t get over the lyrics: “He’s a modern vampire, he feeds on your energy, he will totally drain you, he will never set you free.”

That aside, there’s still enough decent and rather solid musicianship behind this album to warrant a thorough listen and a chance to explore. Swanö’s vocals are strong and impressive that truly suit the  majesty that the band encompasses – he’s certainly a charismatic metal front man. It makes the journey through this album rather exciting and one I’m happy that I took.

Track List

Warriors of the Dawn
Divided I Fall
The Voyage of Endurance

Curse or Coincidence
The Maze
Echoes of a Dream
On Stolen Wings
Lucifer’s Lament
Chasing the Storm Away