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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Reviews: The Night Flight Orchestra, Kissin' Dynamite, Like A Storm, Diamante

The Night Flight Orchestra: Sometimes The World Ain't Enough

An ambitious title for a band's fourth album but when Amber Galactic made the world sit up and take notice you can see why The Night Flight Orchestra would want to aim a little higher and propel their slick, pop laced, AOR into the universe at large. Who knew so much unbridled joy could come from  members of Soilwork and Arch Enemy, there's no tough, aggressive metal here just the best kind of FM radio rock the kind that will have you crushing a neon landscape in a whit open top Lambo, it's an image that's reflected on the electronic Turn To Miami a track that would have definitely been the titles to a buddy cop show in the 80's, a huge chorus hook and sexy shimmering synths.

The band were born out of the frustration of listening to the same old American radio standards again and again so they set about producing their own and on Amber Galactic they mixed everything in the right quantities, however even the best partis need something a little more and Sometimes The World Ain't Enough refines the sound a little more making it better, if a little less immediate than its predecessor. Paralysed has Sharlee D'Angelo laying down a electro-funk bass line that was made for loving you (if you know what I mean), Pretty Little Thing Closing In struts out of Giorgio Moroder's Studio 54 in it's best flares and platform soles. You can hear the influences on this record, Survivor and Graham Bonnet the two biggest in Bjorn Strid's muscular vocals (although no word on whether he puts on his shoes right after he gets out of bed) but there's a buffet of West Coast AOR throughout with saccharine, emotional ballads and throbbing danceable rockers with every spin of the disk.

Another slice of superior rocking from NFO, no distortion, growls or breakdowns in sight, just a place (West Coast USA) and a period (1977-1985) crystallized by a band in the 21st Century, it's going to be the soundtrack to my summer already. 9/10   

Kissin’ Dynamite: Ecstasy (Metal Blade)

German bands (like a lot of European countries) seem to do two types of bands, they are either brilliant or terrible, there’s very rarely any overlay. For every Accept there’s a Grave Digger and I could go on and on, so it was with a little trepidation that I pressed play on the new album by German hard rocker’s Kissin’ Dynamite. This trepidation was all but obliterated by the bouncy hard rocking of opening number I’ve Got The Fire, Kissin’ Dynamite are in the brilliant category. Having been around since 2006 they represent the new wave of glammy, melodic metal that’s full of pomp and machismo, some of the record borders on misogyny, Someone’s Got To Do It being the biggest culprit with some suspect innuendo but it's not as obvious as some other bands who were huge in the era where the Sunset Strip ruled the airwaves. There are a couple of ballads of course, but the main bulk of the album is hook driven hard rock with the throbbing Placebo, the heavy Breaking The Silence and the celebratory  No Time To Wonder. the songs don't reinvent the wheel, the band themselves have even admitted it to this but when they've got a niche (this is their sixth album) it's better not to mess with it. 7/10

Like A Storm: Catacombs (WM New Zealand)

Like A Storm are apparently New Zealand's highest charting rock act, they have been called the hardest working band in rock by Myles Kennedy which probably explains why this record is their first since 2015 Like A Storm is made up of three brothers Chris Brooks (vocals, guitar, didgeridoo, keys/programming], Matt Brooks (vocals, lead guitar, keys/programming), Kent Brooks (bass, vocals, keys/programming), alongside Los Angeles drummer Zach Wood (drums, percussion) and you note a particularly odd instrument there, the didgeridoo, it seems Like A Storm are on a quest to incorporate the ancient instrument into their music and it does work well especially on the harder songs like the title track. Outside of the didgeridoo the band's major style is accessible modern metalcore styled music with synths and programming. Think Architects with the sheen of Shinedown. It's not the normal stuff I listen too but there is something interesting about Like A Storm that made me return to this record after the first spin. 7/10     

Diamante: Coming In Hot (Eleven Seven Music)

Described as a blue haired rock n roll troubadour LA rocker Diamante has unleashed her 'proper' debut record to the masses having previously released digital compilations. She is probably also known by some due to her collaboration with Bad Wolves. Coming In Hot is a collection of bang up to date modern pop rock, produced by Howard Benson (Chris Cornell, Kelly Clarkson, My Chemical Romance, Halestorm) that draws from Diamante's influences of Debbie Harry and Joan Jett and owes a debt to Halestorm, In This Moment, The Pretty Reckless and even bands like Shinedown who have all been instrumental in leading this charge of electronically charged hard rock with pop sensibilities.

At 14 tracks perhaps it's a bit long but there is no denying the quality of tracks such as the title track, Had Enough, Fight Like A Girl which all hit a powerful groove but there are also tender moments like Black Heart and tracks such as Haunted add atmosphere. I will say that the 14 tracks do pass by quite quickly but I think the album as a whole could do with a bit of trimming (maybe end the record with Black Heart) although the cover of Crazy On You is actually quite good, making it a more sultry gritty song than the rampaging original. Diamante is probably set for big things her smoky, edgy athletic vocal range is excellent and the tracks here are prime pop rock at its most polished. 7/10

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