When Soilwork band members Björn Strid and David Andersson formed The Night Flight Orchestra back in 2007 surely they couldn’t have expected what started as a side-project to become as big as it currently is? They couldn’t have foreseen releasing their fifth studio album in 2020? After all, guys that play in a melodic death metal band aren’t supposed to sound like this, are they? But the keyword is melodic, and The Night Flight Orchestra have melodies by the bucketload, and what music they make!
Even the meanest of mean melo-death fans would be hard pushed not to find something on ‘Aeromantic’ that made them smile. Maybe not enough for them to break into some ‘70’s-’80’s inspired dance moves, but a smile at least. ‘Aeromantic’ is the kind of album that metalheads will dig, but some of them won’t admit to digging an album that includes shades of Abba, Electric Light Orchestra, Chicago, Duran Duran (‘Girls On Film’ vibes on ‘This Boy’s Last Summer’) and on ‘Curves’ – Elton John at his ‘80’s mainstream best/worst (depending on your viewpoint).
‘Aeromantic’ is a highly cinematic album, hard not to imagine tracks like ‘Golden Swansdown’ and the lighter-than-light ‘If Tonight Is Our Only Chance’ featuring in a Brat Pack movie. Or ‘Transmissions’ in any movie scored by Giorgio Moroder. ‘Transmissions’ produces one of the biggest highlights on the album with a guest appearance from Rachel Hall on the violin, totally unexpected when she comes in, but sweet baby Jesus it is incredible when she does. Another highlight is the introduction of Anna-Mia Bonde and Anna Brygård on backing vocals. Otherwise known as the Airline Anna’s, the pair pour some lush vocal harmonies on top of the golden throated vocals from the man known as “Speed” Strid. Special mention also goes to ‘Divinyls’, a simple homage to the cult Aussie band of the same name, a track that becomes more larger than life the louder you crank it.
You could really fuck with someone’s mind by playing them some of these tracks back-to-back and telling them that it’s the same band. The ‘80’s prog-lite strains of ‘Sister Mercurial’ and ‘Dead Of Winter’, the ‘Nikita’-like ‘Curves’, the fast-paced NWOBHM meets Joe Lynn Turner Rainbow on ‘Servants Of The Air’…”all from the same band? Inconceivable!”
The songcraft on album number five from The Night Flight Orchestra (abbreviated to NFO, in much the same way that Electric Light Orchestra is abbreviated to ELO), is as strong as ever. But with four albums released over a five year period, can you still really class them as a side-project? Especially since Soilwork have only released two albums in the same period. Regardless of who the alpha band is for Strid and Andersson, the output from NFO has brought the pair to a whole new audience, and that can only be a good thing. Same time next year guys?
Available now on Nuclear Blast Records.
Review – Dave