Album Review: The Night Flight Orchestra – Amber Galactic

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Release Animated Music Video for "Gemini"

It’s well-known the 80′s were pretty rough on the prog dinosaurs of the 70′s, being referred to as the Dark Age for the genre. Gone were the sweeping and complex arrangements, replaced by shortened, radio-friendly driven songs that cut the bands’ creativity: it was a time where the genre was about to become a legacy, as many pioneers of prog went pop or were swept away by new wave/punk era. But still, if we look at the music that was released back then, we cannot help but notice that the music industry reaches its very lows today.

The Night Flight Orchestra, featuring members of Soilwork and Arch Enemy returns this year with their third studio album Amber Galactic, their most cohesive effort to date, and another 1980s classic/prog rock revival. The band does step up by including the references of early heavy metal as well, aiming for both powerful and complex arrangements on the 10-track release.

Kicking off with “Midnight Flyer” and “Star of Rio,” songs that are both similar in musical terms, capitalizing on David Andersson’s soft guitar tones plus short, technical guitar solos, and Jonas Källsbäck’s thunderous, collected drum playing, coupled together with Björn Strid’s powerful voice and synthesizer/piano passages, courtesy of Richard Larsson, to create a smooth musical texture that encompasses you whilst listening, as both of them have a story to tell.

The Night Flight Orchestra - Amber Galactic - Artwork

“Gemini” opens with a catchy melodic wall built by the full band, and it’s absolutely one of the album’s best tracks. It features that enduring guitar riff and catchy chorus which hits you right between your eyes, making you humming it constantly (believe me!).

In addition to being aided by the wonderful qualities mentioned above, “Sad State of Affairs” and “Jennie” also showcase the album’s variety. “Sad State of Affairs” keeps a steady instrumental tempo and is driven by the pounding rhythm section. “Domino” also functions in a similar manner, but with the sound of synthesizer doing the real talk. Closing “Saturn in Velvet” acts as the record’s “massive” epic, although it barely reaches the 8-minute mark. After a slow burning beginning, it gives way to the band’s excellent song writing and ability to make it interesting for its entire duration.

The best characteristic of the band in general as showcased by this album proves their ability to change with the times without sacrificing their integrity or identity. Amber Galactic is very radio friendy, but it’s still irresistible. That guitar tone is way too beautiful to hate and it really goes to show how anyone can make an accessible album like that with masterful musicianship and said identity very much intact. That’s why The Night Flight Orchestra are relevant. Whether it is progressive rock, hard rock or the ‘80s synthesizer era, every song here feels as their own.

Amber Galactic is out on May 19th via Nuclear Blast; pre-order it here.

Tracklist:

01. Midnight Flyer
02. Star Of Rio
03. Gemini
04. Sad State Of Affairs
05. Jennie
06. Domino
07. Josephine
08. Space Whisperer
09. Something Mysterious
10. Saturn In Velvet

Line-up:

* Björn Strid – vocals
* Sharlee D’ Angelo – bass
* David Andersson – guitar
* Richard Larsson – keyboards
* Jonas Källsbäck – drums

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