Progressive Rock isn’t really me but my admiration for a man like Dan Swanö is enough to make me wanna review his latest NIGHTINGALE album entitled “Alive Again” (with the subtitle “The Breathing Shadow Part IV), which to my surprise is a beautiful Prog Rock CD chronicling the fifth part of a continual concept I was completely unaware of. Oh well, you just can’t keep track of all things now can you?
Now, when Swanö releases an album it’s always best to expect the unexpected because this guy is anything but ordinary and predictable, a musical genius that likes to keep himself occupied, a Swedish Devin Townsend sort of.
After playing the album for some time now, I find myself liking it very much. The album has quickly grown on me, there’s a great atmosphere in the songs and melodies seem more important than the presence of usual Rock factors. Swanö’s vocals are inspiring, very emotional with harmonies that’ll stick in your head for some time.
Musically the man gets around quite a bit but he never leaves the Progressive boundaries. There’s some routine song writing in songs that are “simpler” and more to the point with fewer instrumental passages (“State Of Shock”, “Falling” and “Into The Light”), while the more epic and “real” Progressive cuts, like the eleven minute “Eternal”, are thoughtful and well written containing all your cravings if you like Emotional Prog Rock.
I really like the acoustic and clean guitars that are connected with the overall atmosphere; they play an important role in the album, gives it some identity value so to speak and without them it would be rather easy to associate “Alive Again” with other records of this genre.
It’s no secret that Swanö loves the sound of the 70’s; he has created a great sound for this album that’s fresh but somehow retro (thanks to the keyboards).
A great album that surprised me in a lot of ways, anyone who likes the softer side of Prog Rock/Metal should give this album a spin. (Online August 12, 2004)