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Nightingale | Alive Again The Breathing Shadow Part IV | review | metal | Lollipop


Alive Again: The Breathing Shadow Part IV (The End)
by Martin Popoff

Dan Swano returns three years hence with the fourth installment of his loosely-wound Breathing Shadow concept and the picture just gets brighter, stranger, more enigmatic. Dan's band has solidified into a touring unit and indeed, Swano says that Nightingale now will get his full commitment. Still, this is very much a Swano vision. The man's Lande/Coverdale-like voice and the keyboards (shared by Dan and his brother Dag/Tom) dominate, IV sounding like a hard rock version of GTR, Steve Hackett, Asia, Morse-era Kansas, Hairsnake, Hairhair, '90s Styx, and '90s Saga. In simple terms, it's plush, dynamic, beautiful pomp rock at the hard edge of the lost art. As well, there's a smoky, foggy Porcupine Tree mystique to the thing, Dan's Northern roots and his vast death past casting an ethereal pall on the unflapping, unflappable jewel box of surprises. Faves would be the stomping "State of Shock," which collapses into a chorus worthy of Alan Parsons, and the following track, "The One," which is a giddy gem of dated keyboards and idealistic prog rock melodies. The two tracks together bookend the general thrust of the rest of the album: This is essentially a canny, self-aware, highly-skilled record in the spirit of prog rock from the searching, shifting early '80s version of the form on through all the big production tricks utilized through the early '90s dead-stopped by the rise of grunge. And the best part is that the ship is commandeered by an underground metal insider, which is why both mellow Nightingale and mellow Opeth are always going to seem "cool."
(331 Rio Grande #58 SLC, UT 84101)


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