Released: 2015, Gaphals
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Recent times have seen a tidal wave of classic heavy metal emerging from the far reaches of Scandanavia, and from Sweden in particular, and, following on from their self-titled 2013 release, the new album from Night – 'Soldiers of Time' is a recent addition to the fly the flag. Having had a successful support tour with Ghost BC on the back of the original release, Night hope further the acclaim they have received with regards to their live performances and look to take their career to the new heights.
From the off, the album takes you back to a time when heavy metal was without the aggression and attitude of their contemporary counterparts and taps into a source of influence and inspiration that has undoubtedly been felt at the soul of the band from the music they grew up with. The time-tested formula of hooky-riffs to reel you in before stepping aside to let powerful, anthemic vocals soar you away is one that is ever-present throughout the album.
However, with such an impressive roster of talent dominating the arena currently, the importance of distinction is probably as great as it has ever been. Sadly, this is something the Night achieves for all the wrong reasons. Despite all the pieces being in place, it is the melody at the fore of the mix that let's this record down so badly. While Oskar Andersson has all the power of his predecessors in his vocal pallet, he screech-sodden stylings are not easy on the ears and comes across more like a bad audition for a TV talent contest and falls a long way short of the boots it has to fill.
Generally speaking, the simplistic 4/4 rhythm sections on the album also often fall very flat and offer little in the way of depth to the tracks on it. The ending on 'Waiting For The Time' stands as a clear example of this. Stripping down a main riff from the track and repeating it over a simple drum track, it occurred to me on my original playthrough that the song wasn't really going anywhere. It was of little surprise then that the song fading out to a close was the only feasible way of ending the track, and was in fact the one they opted for.
While the album does undoubtedly open on the back foot, it does redeem itself to an extent as it marches on. With the more acoustic-laden tracks such as 'Towards the Sky', the mid-tempo pace is much more suited to mid-range vocals, which are performed to a much higher standard here than the constant strive for hitting the high notes, as is scattered throughout the rest of the record. Moments of real imagination and creativity are hard to find, and while a raw simplicity works for some bands, here it really highlights an absence of diversity which actually absorbs, as opposed to breathing new life into the genre. Night are probably well suited to a few support slots to indulge in the nostalgia, but I'm afraid it's been done before and better.