It’s been six years since we last heard from Nightingale. Since then, Dan Swanö has become one of the top producers, engineers and mixers in the metal world. It was surprising enough to have him form a new project called Witherscape, but I really didn’t
expect to see Nightingale making a return. But they have returned, and what a comeback! The aptly titled “Retribution” is everything we’ve come to expect from Nightingale: tons of hooks, towering melodies, incredible musicianship and the powerful vocals of Dan Swanö.
starts with an amazing one-two punch of “On Stolen Wings” and “Lucifer’s
Lament.” "On Stolen Wings" is a cautionary tale of a man of ill repute
lurking in the shadows, while "Lucifer's Lament" is a plead for redemption from
someone giving you Satan's side of things. It has some of the best melodies and
lyrics on the record. Like the rest of the album, the key to the success
of these songs is that they are instantly memorable. The third song, "Chasing The Storm Away," has both an
riff and a chorus you will sing right away ("The world will spin for one more
day, that's what we pray for any way...").
acoustic song “Divided I Fall” has no drums and yet is just as powerful as
any track on the record. The poignant "27" talks about three members of rock's "Twenty Seven Club" who all died at the
age of 27. You remember each song because they each have their own STRONG identity,
whether it's the lyrics, the melody, a guitar riff or sometimes all of the above.
And the performances of Dan and Dag Swanö, along with Tom Björn and Erik Oskarsson, are all amazing and always serve the song. There are plenty of tasteful guitar and keyboard solos and they never overdo any of them. The album even ends with some very nice soloing.
“Retribution” is the best Nightingale album to date. I understand that’s a bold statement when you consider albums like “The Closing Chronicles” or “Invisible” or “White Darkness”
– I suppose I could list the entire discography. “Retribution” takes all of the elements that make up Nightingale – melodic metal and progressive rock – and distills them down to their essence, resulting in the definitive Nightingale album. “Retribution” is not only the best the band has done but it’s also one of the best albums of 2014. It should top many lists by year's end. Highest possible recommendation.