What do melodic death metal musicians have to offer to, of all genres, classic rock? Well, as the Swedish supergroup The Night Flight Orchestra have been proving for two records now, plenty, and they’re far from through making such a point. With third full-length, ‘Amber Galactic‘, the group, comprised of the downright incredible Bjorn Speed Strid from Soilwork on vocals and his pals from his day job as well as Arch Enemy, have taken on a grander scale, one that owes as much to the 70’s as to the melodic intricacies of each respective project the members come from. Should Journey and Kansas be paying attention to these cats?
Before we go on, it’s worth mentioning that The Night Flight Orchestra aren’t a serious band in that the song topics themselves are considered parodies of classic rock song topics. Dramatic love-lorn rhapsodies? Accounted for. Determined proclamations of success? Oh yeah. Metaphors so out there that drugs can undoubtedly be a part of the musical process? Absolutely! Like Steel Panther before them however, TNFO have so much spirit behind their fantasy that you just can’t help but believe in what’s being sung. It’s all for fun.[metalwani_content_ad]
Don’t think this is nothing but a goof-off Woodstock though — There really is emotion behind these tracks, thanks in part to the aforementioned talents of Mr. Strid and a willing spirit from his musical cohorts to deliver the most authentic classic rock experience this side of Boston. Whether “Jennie” or “Josephine” were written about real relationships is a mystery, but the passion with which such love and lust is delivered from the mouth of Bjorn is totally convincing. Even sadness is catchy on this record, though elsewhere “Gemini” might be the most irresistible tune from The Night Flight Orchestra yet.
The record moves along at a natural pace, shifting between more articulated pieces and hummable rockers. Going along well with its spacey aesthetic, the final quarter of the record dives more into prog rock territory, especially dramatic closing number “Saturn In Velvet”. Fear not though, the album deftly avoids pretentious song lengths and instrumental breakaways without purpose, segueing them instead for riffs and keyboard parts that matter. There is no filler to speak of and while this record isn’t so accessible that it’s cut and dry, the word “listenable” describes it best. There are still instrumental journeys to be found, though no Steve Perry can be heard, ironically. However, Bjorn Strid has all the vocal tricks and heart to bring to mind a legendary rock wailer. P.S. More falsetto, Strid. Please. Don’t ever stop.
If you’re in the minority that is disappointed that The Night Flight Orchestra isn’t an orchestra at all, look past that simple misconception. You’ll be rewarded with a subtly tongue-in-cheek, well-executed classic rock/prog-influenced extravaganza. The keyboard solos are fully present, by the way. Whether the Soilwork and Arch Enemy guys planned to begin writing the next Journey record or not, they’ve crafted a record so enjoyable and believable that maybe they are capable of such a feat. One thing’s for sure, you need to take the night flight to understand the brilliance that is ‘Amber Galactic’.