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NIGHTINGALE

Progressive Metal • Sweden


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Nightingale biography
Formed by EDGE OF SANITY frontman Dan Swanö in 1995, NIGHTINGALE plays a style far removed from what the world has come to expect from Swanö. There are no death metal vocals and only mildly heavy guitars to be found in NIGHTINGALE's music, shifting the focus towards their melodies and lyrics. Their debut album introduced the "Breathing Shadow" storyline which all of their first four albums dealt with (the storyline came to an end on the first track of 2004's Invisible). The music itself is fairly melodic to metal standards, featuring a great deal of keyboards and almost sounding like a classic 70s prog band with a little extra guitar distortion. They were indeed formed by Swanö with the intention of being a pure prog band, a goal which they complete admirably.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Their music is undeniably progressive, showing distinct Yes/Genesis influence but also managing to channel it into a great modern prog sound.

See also:

- Another Life
- Dan Swäno
- Edge of Sanity
- Godsend
- Karaboudjan
- Odyssey
- Pan.Thy.Monium
- Route Nine
- Unicorn

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RetributionRetribution
Import
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NIGHTINGALE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NIGHTINGALE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 25 ratings
The Breathing Shadow
1995
3.34 | 27 ratings
The Closing Chronicles
1996
3.49 | 25 ratings
I
2000
3.34 | 23 ratings
Alive Again: the Breathing Shadow part IV
2003
2.94 | 19 ratings
Invisible
2004
2.94 | 28 ratings
White Darkness
2007
3.95 | 18 ratings
Retribution
2014

NIGHTINGALE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NIGHTINGALE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

NIGHTINGALE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.63 | 19 ratings
Nightfall Overture
2005

NIGHTINGALE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

NIGHTINGALE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Retribution by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.95 | 18 ratings

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Retribution
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Retribution" is the 7th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act Nightingale. The album was released through InsideOut Music in November 2014 and is the successor to "White Darkness" from 2007. 7 years is a pretty long recording break, but the lineup who recorded the last album is still intact. Nightingale has now had a stable lineup since 2000. Dan Swanö (vocals, guitars, keyboards) has as usual been busy with other projects in the years between "White Darkness" and "Retribution". Among other things Witherscape, Demiurg, and his job as a producer.

The long break hasn´t affected the fact that "Retribution" sounds unmistakably like Nightingale. It´s not as such a continuation of the sound on "White Darkness (2007)" though, but more an album which includes a wide varity of the good elements from most of their past releases. The music is still semi-progressive rock/metal with elements from both 70s hard/progressive rock, 80s rock/heavy metal, and a strong dose of keyboards in the neo- progressive vein (Marillion, Pallas, IQ...etc.). The neo-progressive keyboards were actually toned down quite a bit on "White Darkness (2007)" in favor of a more hard rocking organ heavy sound, but they make a return on "Retribution", which is generally more neo-progressive oriented than 70s hard rock influenced. The latter influence is still occasionally strong on "Retribution" too though. Dan Swanö has also changed his vocal approach a bit on "Retribution" and generally sounds less raw and delivers more clean singing than he did on the predecessor.

As always the musicianship is on a high level. Swanö has a distinct sounding voice and a strong and convincing delivery and the rest of the guys in the band (which includes Dan´s older brother Dag Swanö on bass, guitars, and keyboards) also perform their parts with great skill. I especially noticed drummer Tom Björn´s contributions this time around and found his performance quite enjoyable.

The material on the 10 track, 44:36 minutes long album is generally well written and both instantly catchy and memorable in the long run, with strong melodies, and great harmonies. For the most part it´s pretty straight forward vers/chorus structured, but the band often take excursions outside that safe formula to maintain the listener´s attention. And with great success I might add.

Upon conclusion "Retribution" is just the comeback album I had hoped it would be (after 7 years I think comeback is a valid word to use about the album). To my ears Nightingale was always strongest when playing neo-progressive oriented music rather than their more hard rock oriented ditto, and it´s great to hear them embrace that sound again. The album is packed in a clean, professional, and well sounding production too, which further helps the music shine. So all in all "Retribution" is another high quality release by Nightingale and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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 The Breathing Shadow by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.68 | 25 ratings

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The Breathing Shadow
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 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 Swan' 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).

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 The Closing Chronicles by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.34 | 27 ratings

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The Closing Chronicles
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Nightingale seems to have been conceived as a side-project for Dan Swano to get out all the musical ideas he wants to play with which don't fit his main projects; the first Nightigale album, The Breathing Shadow, is reportedly a mildly proggy goth rock album, whereas this time around the goth influence is restricted more or less solely to Swano's vocal delivery. Musically speaking, the rest of The Closing Chronicles is a sort of light prog metal which goes easy on the progginess - there's just enough mainstream prog metal motifs to convince me that the album hasn't been misfiled, but not enough to really satisfy fans who like their prog metal to be really, really proggy - there isn't any technical pyrotechnics to the extent that you'd get even on a Dream Theater album from around this period. For my part, though I'm not into progginess for its own sake, the album seems to be rather half-baked to me - as though it's a collection of ideas which weren't just not stylistically appropriate for Edge of Sanity, but also just plain weren't good enough.

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 White Darkness by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.94 | 28 ratings

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White Darkness
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars White Darkness is the 6th full-length studio album by Swedish melodic/ progressive rock/ metal act Nightingale. The album was released in June 2007 by Black Mark Productions.

The sound on White Darkness continues the more hard rock tinged sound of the predecessor Invisible (2004). The basis in the music is still melodic rock/ metal with a semi-progressive edge but add to that neo-progressive elements ( I´m thinking Marillion here), hard rock riffing and organ playing. Dan Swanö´s vocal delivery and warm voice is as usual one of the main attractions in Nightingale´s music. I´ve followed Dan´s career since the early nineties and the development in his clean vocal skills from the first clean vocal attempts on the early Edge of Sanity albums to his more and more mature and diverse vocal delivery on subsequent Nightingale ( and other projects) albums, and it´s safe to say that he has grown with the task. Today he stands as a great clean vocalist with a personal voice and a skillful delivery. I like the added hard rock vocal dimension he has built into his vocal arsenal during the last couple of Nightingale albums.

The songs on the album are all quality compositions and while the production and some of the choruses are a bit too polished and nice for my personal taste, it´s hard not to acknowledge the songwriting skill involved here. The music is damn catchy and instantly recognisable as the sound of Nightingale. The band have created their own little niche and their music is actually quite unique sounding. A 3.5 star rating is warranted.

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 The Closing Chronicles by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.34 | 27 ratings

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The Closing Chronicles
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars At first I thought that there's something bad with my hearing. And even more with my genre distinction, because I simply hear Neo Prog in this music. OK, they stopped being goth and combinet Neo with Prog Metal and I say: Why not, if it's possible (album is out for many years, it works), then it's alright. And this fact again shows how thin can be line between certain genres.

Tracks are melodic, after all, this album I know because of recommendation I was given in proper thread on forums (and I'm so keen on suggestions that I go first check my collection if I already has this album or not - I'm still not so good to remember them all). Two man band (I suppose they don't go touring.

Except borderline cases of PM / Neo (more on Neo side), there is something like Rock song (however with keyboards flavour) Steal the Moon which is short, but serves its purpose. However Intermezzo is disappointment. Purely narrative tracks without anything musical to offer. If it's intro, it's 1)quite long one 2)not so good one. And Alive Again is better again.

4(-), let's just overlook it's classified as Prog Metal, OK ? For Prog's sake.

EDIT July 2010 - not that bad, added + 0.5.

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 Alive Again: the Breathing Shadow part IV by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.34 | 23 ratings

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Alive Again: the Breathing Shadow part IV
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars The decline of Nightingale goes on. If Alive Again proves one thing it is the apparent lack of Dan Swanö to come up with anything original and challenging. It is a collection of uninspired, formulaic and commercial songs. The previous album at least succeeded to be better then Asia's debut, but this one is possibly worse.

The thing that bothers me with Alive Again is that it fools the fans by implicitly promising a return to old glory, thematically the album hints at the first two Nightingale albums and even reprises some themes of it, but musically this is as far from those albums as possible. The great atmospheric rock has been abandoned and replaced by neo-prog and AOR clichés, and in comparison to the similar albums around it, this one pales in songwriting as well in execution. Mostly, the material consists of bland pop songs, performed with electric guitars in order to sound heavy, but they can't be fooling anyone really. Even tons of heaviness wouldn't be able to cover the liquid cheese at the core of this album.

Apart from the intro and the outro which rehash some of the music from the older albums, there's only average and unexciting music here. I think I've heard about 80% of all albums featuring Dan Swanö and this is sure the weakest of all. For neo-prog listeners only.

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 I by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.49 | 25 ratings

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I
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars Nightingale have taken quite a journey since their charming goth rock flavoured debut. I can't say the journey went into stellar directions. The songs on I are mostly overcooked hard rock clichés with lots of AOR cheese and neo-prog topping. Not my favourite salad.

The first two songs are exemplary. Formulaic hard rockers with a steady pace and catchy melodies. Not failing at what they try to be but just so old and predictable. The pop modulations in the verses don't help either. No, not my taste at all. The Game is one of the few track that brings back some of the magic of the preceding albums. Basically, it's a simple verse chorus rock ballad but the melodies are compelling enough to make it work.

What follows is a procession of half-pleasant but unremarkable hard rock and AOR songs. Only Alonely manages to convince me, even if it is the most sentimental moment of the entire album. Still, I very much doubt if I would like this if Swanö wasn't handling the vocals. His dark and breathy voice is always a feast really. One other song sticks out, Dead Or Alive has some nicely processed clean chorus guitar effects in the verses and a heavy riff for the chorus. The song ends a bit abruptly though and could have been developed more thoroughly.

After the tribute to Sisters of Mercy on the debut and the dark neo-prog of the second album, Swanö clearly chose to honour his love for Asia and Dio on his third Nightingale album. Luckily it never gets as bad as Asia's debut, the production is less overstated and the songs are not equally commercial, but it's a narrow escape. This is competent but unchallenging glossy rock. 2.5 stars.

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 The Closing Chronicles by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.34 | 27 ratings

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The Closing Chronicles
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Nightingale's second album shows a considerable growth since the debut. Dan Swanö got assisted by his brother Tom Nouga and all songs now feature live drums from Swanö. These changes led to an album that is less gothic in style and has a greater attention to arrangement, musicality and composition.

The opening track for instance has a decidedly proggy start, with a dramatic piano theme, flutes and strong vocal melodies. On the epic highlights Thoughts From A Stolen Soul and Alive Again, Nightingale really succeed in adding a darker shade to neo-prog. It gives them an original profile in this industrious scene. My favourite of the album would be the gloomy beauty of Intermezzo, featuring nothing but a few solemn keyboard chords and Swanö's vocals that are simultaneously warm, calm, melodious and touching. A rare combination. Neo-prog usually lacks vocalists with pose and punch for me. But with an excellent vocalist as Dan Swanö it can indeed turn out tasty and soulful.

All these elements make this into a decidedly more professional and progressive album then the debut. But is it also better?

Opinions are divided. The current verdict of the legions of Nightingale fans on PA balance each other out: one vote in favour of the debut and one in favour of The Closing Chronicles. For me it's always been the debut. Clumsy as it sometimes sounds, its dark energy has an irresistible charm, one that I only find back here on the two 9 minute songs and on Intermezzo.

In just a year Nightingale evolved from a goth project with proggy undertones into a melodious neo-prog band with only Swanö's warm gloomy baritone as a remaining goth feature. The result is different but still unique and solid. A recommended listen. 3.5 stars

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 The Closing Chronicles by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.34 | 27 ratings

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The Closing Chronicles
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars On NIGHTINGALE's second album Dan Swano gets some help from Tom Nouga who plays bass and adds some guitar and keyboards. He also wrote one track and helped out on a couple of others. Oh, and he also produced this recording. Dan Swano did it all on the debut. I'm in the minority I know, but I prefer the more Gothic sounding debut. The guitar is more out front on that one too, and there is an eighties flavour to it that appeals to me. Less keys too. Anyway I agree with UMUR that it's a small four stars, so I give this one 3.5 stars.

"Deep Inside Of Nowhere" opens with keys as vocals join in. It sounds like flute 1 1/2 minutes in in this melancholic intro. It's more powerful 2 minutes in. Then it changes with spoken vocals followed by full sound with vocals, drums and guitar. Tasteful guitar 5 minutes in. "Revival" opens with some nice heavy guitar then it settles with vocals quickly. Contrasts continue. Good song. "Thoughts From A Stolen Soul" opens with some atmosphere as almost spoken vocals join in. The guitar starts to lead 1 1/2 minutes in. It picks up a minute later. The tempo continues to change. Organ before 7 minutes as the guitar follows. Nice. Vocals are back 8 minutes in.

"So Long (Still I Wonder)" features synths, bass and reserved vocals early. Guitar follows tastefully. Drums after 2 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop. The guitar solos as well here. It's fuller with vocals a minute later. "Steal The Moon" opens with bass and kicks in quickly. Guitar solo 2 minutes in followed by organ. "Intermezzo" is kind of dark with keyboards and almost spoken vocals. "Alive Again" opens with keyboards and synths as vocals join in right away. Drums too.The focus is on the vocals though as usual. It sounds better after 3 1/2 minutes. In fact the best part of the album by far is from this point to the end of this song.That's six minutes worth. Deep bass to start and I like the guitar too.

A good album with perhaps better compositions than the debut, but to my ears it doesn't sound as good as their first record.

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 The Breathing Shadow by NIGHTINGALE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.68 | 25 ratings

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The Breathing Shadow
Nightingale Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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