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'Retribution' is the seventh and latest album from Nightingale. This band have been around for nearly twenty years now but I'm ashamed to say they are yet another new name to me. I am more familiar, however, with project leader Dan Swanö, who is an extremely gifted multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, and has been involved with more bands than I've had hot dinners in just about every metal subgenre. Actually, looking at what the man has achieved over the last two decades, it's perhaps not so much of a surprise that I haven't heard everything by him; however, I'm very pleased to have 'Retribution' in my hands because it is a hugely enjoyable and sophisticated piece of work.

According to the accompanying PR, Nightingale do not have a particular musical direction but are there for Dan to use when he has material that won't fit his other projects. Fairly prolific up until 2007, it has now been seven years since the last Nightingale album, 'White Darkness'. 'Retribution' is fantastic from start to finish. This is a top notch AOR/melodic rock/metal album with just the slightest progressive slant that would have been huge had it been released in the 1980s, but it doesn't sound dated at all. I can hear Kansas, Styx, Whitesnake and Foreigner but also bands such as Threshold, Queensryche and Royal Hunt, amongst others. Nightingale is made up of not only Dan on vocals, guitars and keyboards, but also his brother Dag Swanö on bass, guitars and keyboards, Erik Oskarsson on bass and Tom Björn hitting the drums, and all of them are high class musicians. From the off, 'On Stolen Wings' and its great riff, solo and vocal melodies grabbed my attention and just about everything else matches it. Dan's voice is excellent and that and the chord changes and melody within the songwriting complement each other perfectly.

There are a couple of familiar sounding riffs here and there - for instance, the riff under the solo of 'Warriors Of The Dawn' is Whitesnake's 'Gambler' from the 'Slide It In' album, but it doesn't matter because the rest of the song is so damned good. My favourite on this album, though, is the sumptuous ballad 'Divided I Fall'. It's an absolute monster and I could easily hear David Coverdale, Dennis DeYoung, Danny Bowes or even someone like Richard Marx singing it; in fact, they'll all probably be cursing that they didn't write it themselves!

Nightingale have released a fabulous album here that sings to my more melodic side. I'm an absolute sponge for stuff like this and I suspect some of you metalheads might find it a little on the mild side, but for anyone interested in the names or bands listed above then 'Retribution' has to go on your shopping list for Christmas!
Inside Out
Review by Rick Tilley
10th Nov 2014
1) On Stolen Wings
2) Lucifer's Lament
3) Chasing the Storm Away
4) Warriors of the Dawn
5) Forevermore
6) Divided I Fall
7) The Voyage of Endurance
8) 27 (Curse or Coincidence)
9) The Maze
10) Echoes of a Dream
"...a hugely enjoyable and sophisticated piece of work."