Night – High Tides – Distant Skies

Rating: 2.5/5
Distributor/label:  The Sign Records 
Release:  11th September 2020
Buy Album: Bandcamp
Band Website: Spotify/Facebook/Instagram

Night-High Tides- Distant Skies
Band Line up:

Oskar Andersson – Guitar / Vocals
Sammy Ouirra – Guitar / Vocals
Joseph Max – Bass
Linus Fritzson – Drums

Tracklisting:

01- Shadow Gold
02- Burning Sky
03 -Crimson Past
04 -Falling in the Black
05 -Running Away
06 -Here On My Own
07- Lost in a Dream
08- Give Me to the Night
09 -Under the Moonlight Sky

Review:

Night clearly has a love affair with the ’70s and ’80s rock, naming bands such as the Scorpions and Blue Öyster Cult as incredibly influential. Their last album Raft of the World moved the band away from the N.W.O.B.H.M. traditions, leaning more on the elements of protometal which can be heard throughout, like early Sabbath and Led Zepplin.

“Rock is a serious thing, but at the same time, it cant be taken to serious. Rocking is fun and fun it shall remain. For us, I think the future is looking bright and it’s feeling groovy. Put on your boots and get ready for the next chapter of NIGHT! Imagine a twilight zone where disco didn’t die and rock music was allowed inside studio 54!” – Sammy Ouirra

During the spring of 2020, the band released a two-track 7” single called “Feeling it Everywhere.” The directions of the new tracks take the band even more into the rhythm and style where the ’70s collided with the ’80s when rock, sometimes brilliantly and sometimes questionably, collided with disco.

The album opens up with the markedly proto-metal track “Shadow Gold,” with catchy chants, galloping riffs, and enthusiastic shredding, a theme. The following track, “Burning Sky”, still remains very ‘heavy rock’ but begins to mellow, especially when an unexpected Supertrampesque ska interlude appears, sandwiched between another shredded solo. “Crimson Past” however drops straight into art-rock, something almost out of a Genesis “Best-of Compilation.” “Falling out of Black” once again jumps over the genre lines to a strange combination of classic rock, with folksy interims spattered in-betweens. Thematically, after this, the following tracks settle in a puzzling combination of classic rock, psychedelia, rock and roll, synth-rock and proto-metal.

I struggled to settle into the album as a whole. However, I think it would be unfair if the face-melting guitar solos weren’t mentioned as completely excellent.  The hard-rock elements and classic guitar solos do absolutely hark back to a golden age of rock and roll, and, having, recorded the studio in live sessions, the whole record retains a very earthy, analog, live gig, sort of tone.  Their aim to stick with a vintage sound and aesthetic was definitely achieved.

From this point onwards, however, is where the problems begin. Although the album cover look is vintage, it is a little like a generic, stock image you would result with a quick google of “1970’s Golden-Gate Bridge,” all in all, it’s just a little impersonal. Just because something has a classic vibe doesn’t mean that it can’t be original, something I suppose the band tried to do with their mish-mashed sound.

I’m sure everyone agrees that the 70s and 80s are broad and varied time period,  musically speaking, and Night seems to have tried to shoehorn every guitar-based style in this record.  There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with fusing genre elements: I only just heard a surprising ska/metal mash-up which was hilarious and energetic, but this album does not do it very successfully. I admit that I have a slight antipathy for wishy-washy Phil Collins style of alt-rock, which continually seems to pop up and ruin a perfectly good classic rock song.

The constant shift in tones and elements is entirely jarring, and I think it may have been forgivable if there was a little more cohesion and conviction in the themes and lyrics. After all, you can’t jump from Supertramp to Iron Maiden without something to fill in the gap.  But their lyrics fall short of expectation, risking to enter the blander-end of the rock-ballad scale, and leaving me puzzling what the overall raison-d’etre of the album was. Night seems to have tried to fit twenty years of guitar music in a single album, but sadly, not managed to do any of them particularly well.

Review by Annalisa Orlando

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