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3 stars "The Breathing Shadows" is the first Nightingale album - which was written and recorded only in one week time - but it can be considered as a Dan Swano soloalbum, because at that time he was the only member in the band. He played all the instruments on this album, but unfortunately Dan decided to use drummachine instead of playing the drums himself. This album is not really prog, rather gothic, dark and melancholic - very strong Sisters Of Mercy influences - than all the other Nightingale albums, that are more 70s hard-rock orientated. There are no death growls, Dan sings on his clean voice (he's got wonderful voice, clean, sad and dark) on every Nightingale album. Some songs are really great on this record, 'Nightfall Overture' and 'The Dreamreader' are killer tunes and some of them are very cathy like 'Higher Than The Sky'. Very enjoyable to listen such a beautiful gloomy record. For some reason the lyrics for this album (and the lyrics of "The Closing Chronicles" as well) are included in the cover of the third album "I".

If you have not heard about them before, start with the second album "The Closing Chronicles", which is the best progressive album from Nightingale.


Report this review (#45255)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I rarely get an album if it only gets mediocre reviews, but I'm glad I have this one. It's enjoyable, but not very demanding at all. The Breathing Shadow is simple, catchy and has an interesting theme and atmosphere. All the tracks are solid. It is far from a masterpiece, but it is well deserving of a 3/5 (good, but non-essential). I recommend it if you can find it for a reasonable price.
Report this review (#141613)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The Breathing Shadow" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish goth/progressive rock/metal act Nightingale. The album was released through Black Mark Productions in 1995. Nightingale was at this point a one-man side project for Edge of Sanity frontman Dan Swanö, where he could live out his goth and neo progressive rock dreams. An interest that had been hinted at a couple of times on Edge of Sanity´s otherwise death metal oriented albums with tracks like "Sacrificed" and "Black Tears". "The Breathing Shadow" was recorded and mixed by Dan Swanö at his own Unisound Studio within a week in January 1995.

Later releases by Nightingale also embrace hard rock and AOR, but the music on "The Breathing Shadow" can be described as a combination of goth rock and neo progressive rock with a slight metal edge. Picture how a combination of The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission mixed with Marillion and IQ would sound like and you´re half way there.

The music is driven by very melodic guitar riffs, soaring guitar leads and Dan Swanö´s melodic vocals. Keyboards are also used extensively and for the most part feature eighties synth sounds (check out the synth bass in "Gypsy Eyes"). The goth rock element in the sound is mainly due to the low register vocal sections by Dan Swanö and the programmed drums that remind me of The Sisters of Mercy. The material on "The Breathing Shadow" is generally of high quality but highlights that deserve a mention are "Nightfall Overture", "Sleep...", "The Dreamreader" and "A Lesson in Evil". The lyrics form a concept story that is continued on subsequent albums.

The musicianship on the album is strong. Dan Swanö is a multi-instrumentalist and plays everything but the drums. The drums are programmed and if you ask me they could have been a bit more varied. It´s a minor issue though and they don´t ruin my listening experience. Dan Swanö´s vocals need a mention too. He masters both very melodic clean vocals and also more monotone goth rock styled low register vocals. The vocal lines are very melodic and hook laden.

The sound production is decent but it´s obvious that Dan Swanö didn´t have much time to fine tune the sound. It´s a sound production that has taken me a while to appreciate, but I guess you can forgive much when the music is good.

To my ears "The Breathing Shadow" is a pretty original sounding album with it´s mix of goth rock and neo progressive rock, but it´s the strong vocals and the memorable vocal lines that take the prize. The sound production is a slight show stopper but I´d say a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#164820)
Posted Monday, March 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What if, back in 1989, Marillion had not hired Hogarth but would have chosen Andrew Eldritch from Sisters Of Mercy as the replacement for Fish? I think the prog community would still not have fully recovered from the shock and the goth fans would still get shivers down their spine from the disbelief that Eldritch switched over from the coolest band on the planet to that cheesy prog-pop band. Just imagine tasteful medleys like "Alice, I just wanna say I'm sorry!"

Now, that could have been fun!

And I would have been in the clouds! Believe it or not, but around 1989 I had two favourite bands: I was fading out my years of Marillion adoration and fading in my Sisters phase. You could say that I went from sparkling rainbows, magpies and jolly jesters to pitch black nihilism over the course of a few months.

At least one other person on the face of the planet must have had a similar dream: Dan Swanö, the brain behind the progressive death metal phenomena Edge Of Sanity (and around 20 other bands). He made his dream come true in 1995 on the debut of his Nightingale project where he combined his love for Marillion with the stark red-on-black decadence of the Sisters. He only uses his powerful clean lower register here in a strong set of catchy rock songs that celebrate both goth-rock and at the same time neo-prog.

As you see from the number of ratings, 99% of the PA community is certainly not losing their sleep over the same dream. In fact, people are probably quite relieved that this nightmare never turned into a trend. However, for the few lovers of goth that got stranded on these pages here, this is an absolute must.

4 Black Planets!

Report this review (#252811)
Posted Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I was inspired to get this album because of Bonnek and UMUR's reviews. This is basically a Dan Swano solo album where he's the only musician, and of course he's also the singer as well. The Gothic flavour that has been mentioned is what made this attractive to me.This is very much a straight forward Rock album with a Gothic flavour. Check out the lyrics, album cover and those vocals at times to see what I mean. Dan mentions MARILLION first when he lists the bands and people who have inspired him. He also mentions just about everybody by name in MARILLION. It is an eclectic list though with GENTLE GIANT, THE MISSION, JUDAS PRIEST, SLOWDRIVE, FM, DREAM THEATER, GENESIS, John Wetton and many others being mentioned. For me the band LAKE OF TEARS comes closest to what i'm hearing here, only this is better. This was love at first listen i'll tell you that.The melodic guitars and warm baritone vocals make this a real treat. Not what i'd call meat and potatoes by any means, more like dessert that is fun to have once in a while.

"Nightfall Overture" opens with a dark atmosphere before guitar and drums kick in quickly. Great sound. Vocals after a minute. I really like the sound of the guitar. Keys before 3 1/2 minutes. A calm after 4 1/2 minutes as almost spoken words come in. It kicks back in around 6 1/2 minutes. "Sleep..." opens with vocals and a beat. It's much better when the guitar comes in grinding away. Catchy stuff. A second guitar comes in after 3 1/2 minutes. Drums and vocals are the focus early on "The Dreamreader" until the guitar takes over before a minute. Contrasts continue. Good song. Piano only before 3 1/2 minutes, guitar follows then vocals. The guitar sounds outstanding a minute later. "Higher Than The Sky" kicks in quickly. Vocals around a minute. A calm with atmosphere before 3 1/2 minutes, it kicks back in before 5 1/2 minutes. The vocals are gothic here at times.

"Recovery Opus" is a short laid back tune with reserved vocals and relaxed guitar. "The Return To Dreamland" is the only instrumental on here. It sounds relaxed yet full with guitar and drums leading. It picks up before 2 minutes. A little heavier around 2 1/2 minutes. "Gypsy Eyes" contrasts well the vocal parts with the guitar led sections. "Alone ?" opens with laid back guitar as deep almost spoken vocals join in. It kicks in before 4 minutes with the heaviest passage on the album. Nice. Spoken words late with keyboards. "A Lesson In Evil" is uptempo with lots of guitar and vocals. Piano only after 3 minutes before guitar then vocals join in again. Spoken words and static ends it. "Eye For An Eye" opens with mournful guitar solos before it kicks in with vocals around a minute. It's more aggressive after 3 minutes then it settles. A scream ends it.

This album has plenty of faults but it's just so darn charming. More dessert please.

Report this review (#261672)
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Nightingale's The Breathing Shadow is a gothic rock narrative concept album underpinned by technical metal and progressive rock songwriting and production aesthetics. I personally prefer this one to the sequel, on which Dan Swanö slips back into his more accustomed tech/prog metal style and consequently the unique flavour of the project ended up somewhat diluted; here, he lets his multi-insturmentalist flag fly high and masquerades as the sort of progressive gothic rock band I kind of wish we had more of on the scene. Of interest both to prog fans who like a little goth and goth fans with fond memories of that genre's more progressive moments (like Elizium by Fields of the Nephilim), though Dan's Andrew Eldritch impression wavers a bit and largely the music tends to follow past precedents set by superior goth bands rather than breaking genuine new ground.
Report this review (#978545)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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