NIGHTINGALE — Retribution (review)

NIGHTINGALE — Retribution album cover Album · 2014 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"Retribution" is the 7th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act Nightingale. The album was released through InsideOut Music in November 2014 and is the successor to "White Darkness" from 2007. 7 years is a pretty long recording break, but the lineup who recorded the last album is still intact. Nightingale has now had a stable lineup since 2000. Dan Swanö (vocals, guitars, keyboards) has as usual been busy with other projects in the years between "White Darkness" and "Retribution". Among other things Witherscape, Demiurg, and his job as a producer.

The long break hasn´t affected the fact that "Retribution" sounds unmistakably like Nightingale. It´s not as such a continuation of the sound on "White Darkness (2007)" though, but more an album which includes a wide varity of the good elements from most of their past releases. The music is still semi-progressive rock/metal with elements from both 70s hard/progressive rock, 80s rock/heavy metal, and a strong dose of keyboards in the neo-progressive vein (Marillion, Pallas, IQ...etc.). The neo-progressive keyboards were actually toned down quite a bit on "White Darkness (2007)" in favor of a more hard rocking organ heavy sound, but they make a return on "Retribution", which is generally more neo-progressive oriented than 70s hard rock influenced. The latter influence is still occasionally strong on "Retribution" too though. Dan Swanö has also changed his vocal approach a bit on "Retribution" and generally sounds less raw and delivers more clean singing than he did on the predecessor.

As always the musicianship is on a high level. Swanö has a distinct sounding voice and a strong and convincing delivery and the rest of the guys in the band (which includes Dan´s older brother Dag Swanö on bass, guitars, and keyboards) also perform their parts with great skill. I especially noticed drummer Tom Björn´s contributions this time around and found his performance quite enjoyable.

The material on the 10 track, 44:36 minutes long album is generally well written and both instantly catchy and memorable in the long run, with strong melodies, and great harmonies. For the most part it´s pretty straight forward vers/chorus structured, but the band often take excursions outside that safe formula to maintain the listener´s attention. And with great success I might add.

Upon conclusion "Retribution" is just the comeback album I had hoped it would be (after 7 years I think comeback is a valid word to use about the album). To my ears Nightingale was always strongest when playing neo-progressive oriented music rather than their more hard rock oriented ditto, and it´s great to hear them embrace that sound again. The album is packed in a clean, professional, and well sounding production too, which further helps the music shine. So all in all "Retribution" is another high quality release by Nightingale and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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