NIGHTINGALE – Retribution
- by Matt Coe
- Posted on 03-02-2015
Sweden’s Dan Swanö is a musical savant – able to perform in a wide multitude of styles convincingly and spread his talent out over the course of decades. Nightingale would be his progressive light rock meets AOR band, and "Retribution" is the eighth studio album in their discography. Dan and his brother Dag intuitively know where to go from song to song – pulsating from a catchy guitar/ keyboard perspective in a lighter scope for "Chasing the Storm Away", but then come from a heavier, electric outlook as spacious, art rock keyboard tones make "Warriors of the Dawn" an easy album highlight.
What may not be looked at in terms of importance for a band like Nightingale is the rhythm section steadiness and adherence to the melodies and hooks that bassist Erik Oskarsson and drummer Tom Björn provide. A lot like the best work of Toto, Foreigner, and Asia, this duo can certainly support the songwriting in a professional, smart manner – check out "Forevermore" and the majestic "The Maze" for two of their best performances. Dan is able to separate bands and allow distinct influences to dictate directionally what will happen – and as a result, "Retribution" provides a lot of melodic light to heavy contrasts – with Dan working from a clean singing framework, often injecting a level of angst and grit during trailing verses for the opener "On Stolen Wings".
Challenging emotions and personal outlooks, such as how to handle life on the other side for the acoustic meets Kansas-driven "Divided I Fall", seem to be a cornerstone of the lyrics – giving the listener food for thought to apply in answering their own questions of mortality, life, and specific crossroads we face. Overall, this is not for the metal crowd, but those who love light melodic rock with progressive and AOR facets will find "Retribution" quite nice indeed.