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Nightingale: Rock Hard Live

Originally conceived as a one off project, Nightingale have now gone on to release eight studio albums. Rock Hard Live is the band's first live recording, capturing their show at the 2016 Rock Hard Festival in Germany. Falling into the hard progressive rock category, live it feels like the band hit as more of a straight forward heavy rock outfit with a hint of pomp and a slice of AOR. It's a keen mix as the brothers Swanö – band leader Dan on vocals and guitar and his brother Dag on keyboards and guitar – deliver a set of songs stretching right back over their band's twenty-plus years.

With a gritty, honest and inviting sound, numbers such as the hook laden and upbeat "Chasing The Storm Away", which quickly gets under your skin and proves a decidedly rewarding itch to scratch as its refrain swirls round your mind, and "Into The Light" with its more forceful attack, are delivered with real verve and passion. With the band rounded out by bassist Erik Oskarsson and drummer Tom Björn, what really comes across as the slower, harder hitting "Revival" (from The Closing Chronicles album, which was celebrating a twentieth anniversary as the band performed) and hugely atmospheric "Nightfall Overture", is the tightness and precision that shows itself right across this release. Every note is perfect and every beat delivered with real precision and yet it's the character and mood of the songs themselves that carry this set. Unlike many live albums these days, Rock Hard Live actually sounds live, the crowd well placed in the mix to feel real and add atmosphere, but not so blatantly in your face that proceedings begin to sound doctored. In fact Dan has to ask the crowd to make as much noise as they can for 30 seconds 'like Kiss Alive II!' so the band can re-tune their instruments without total silence descending on the show! A request the assembled throng are more than happy to comply with.

I've been aware of Dan Swanö from the countless bands he's been involved with over the years (Edge Of Sanity, Witherscape etc) and his in demand production work, but Rock Hard Live is only my second encounter with his band Nightingale. It won't however be my last, this thoroughly convincing live outing an excellent example of what you can expect from this classy, underrated act. I'd also guess long term fans of the band will be delighted by what's revealed.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Nightfall Overture
2. A Raincheck On My Demise
3. Hideaway
4. Forevermore
5. Into The Light
6. Chasing The Storm Away
7. Revival
8. Steal The Moon
9. Black Tears

Added: January 21st 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Nightingale on Facebook
Hits: 1886
Language: english

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Nightingale: Rock Hard Live
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-01-21 08:45:15
My Score:

Rock Hard Live is the first live release from the criminally underrated Nightingale, the hard rock/prog/AOR side project of acclaimed Swedish musician/producer Dan Swano and his brother Dag, who are joined by drummer Tom Bjorn and bassist Erik Oskarsson. Recorded live at the Rock Hard Festival in May of 2016, the band are in fine form here, performing many selections from their long career together in front of an audience that is clearly enjoying themselves every step of the way. Completely different from his other musical projects past & present such as Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath, and Witherscape, Nightingale blend symphonic heavy metal, progressive rock, pomp, and melodic rock into a style that is instantly appealing and accessible. Dan is an exceptional singer, and though most will probably already be aware of his incredible death metal growls (if not, check out the already mentioned acts above, as well as his work with Star One), his clean, melodic vocals are pretty special as well. Check out his soaring pipes on the engaging "Forevermore" as well as the raunchy Deep Purple inspired "Into the Light". Beefy hard rockers are everywhere here, such as the gritty "Steal the Moon" and the hard charging "Black Tears", but the key track on this set is the vibrant "Nightfall Overture", a clear indicator of how well this band blends heavy rock and prog.

While we wait patiently for the next Nightingale studio album, this potent live set will give everyone something to enjoy in the interim.

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