» Blog Archive Review: The Night Flight Orchestra's Amber Galactic -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews

night flight orchestra 1Clearing the air, know this in advance: The Night Flight Orchestra isn’t a metal band. Hardly one, as a matter of fact. Instead, this robust supergroup, which features the likes of Bjorn “Speed” Strid and David Andersson from Soilwork and Sharlee D’Angelo from Arch Enemy, is a love letter to 70’s and 80’s rock songs, and has been quietly putting albums out since 2012. Amber Galactic is the first major label album, and it’s a wonder as to why this group hadn’t been given this much publicity prior.

The Night Flight Orchestra share more in common with bands like ELO and Boston than their melodic death metal counterparts. So, right away, if you can’t enjoy that style of music, it’s best to not even bother, because this entire album is essentially worship of that classic rock vibe, right down to Strid’s vocal production. It’s a fun, enjoyable album that is filling with its 55 minute runtime, but on it are some great songs that would no doubt fit on your typical classic rock station. That would normally be a downside, but seeing as it’s being done tastefully and with love changes the game for The Night Flight Orchestra.

night flight 2Both Strid and D’Angelo might be the most easy to identify names in this supergroup, but everyone in the band gets their own share of time to truly shine across all 11 tracks. At first, I didn’t truly believe it was Strid on vocals, but once you hear him hit those higher notes, you could instantly tell it was him. D’Angelo is playing an entirely different style of bass here, often very tasteful and venturing off into different directions than what guitarists Andersson and Sebastian Forslund are doing. You’ll also find the guitars trading off guitar solos, sometimes even with keyboardist Richard Larsson, who sometimes has moments like the beginning of the bridge in the anthemic “Josephine” where it’s all him, making way for the guitars to do one of many tasteful solos scattered all about the album.

The Night Flight Orchestra may seem like fun in concept, but the idea of a being a supergroup carries a curse of being about who is in the band rather than what they’re putting out. Things have turned around, in this case, and the previously anthemic choruses, highly melodic guitar solos, and often danceable songs are just simply music. There’s no worry of being in a subgenre, there’s nobody being an elitist… It’s about the music and enjoying it as a whole.

night flight 3That said, The Night Flight Orchestra have some great songs on Amber Galactic, with it hard to pinpoint which one is the standout. The previously mentioned “Josephine” is a mid-tempo, piano driven song that carries into the energetic, arguably heaviest song on the album “Space Whisperer,” where Strid truly soars and Larsson’s keyboards take the center stage, switching between spacey-synths and melodic synthesizer patches that give the song a tremendous amount of dynamics. Lead single “Midnight Flyer” is a truly a highlight, and the following single “Gemini” is up there, as well. There’s songs that are “good,” on the album, but so often songs break into being “great” and the album realizes its full potential of being an anthemic, enjoyable rock album.

The Night Flight Orchestra have seemingly put out a very natural, fun album that, in itself is a big surprise. There’s no sharp twists or turns, no attempts to fuse styles that don’t make sense, and is just a labor of love for music. It’s great to hear musicians who are in some of the more recognizable bands play something outside of the genre for a change, and with the end result being this fun, I wouldn’t mind everyone taking time off their respective bands to tour for this one and give it the attention the music demands.

The Night Flight Orchestra’s Amber Galactic is available everywhere now. You can stream “Gemini” below.

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