Night Flight Orchestra – Skyline Whispers 01Way back in 2012, the a little band called Night Flight Orchestra issued an under-the-radar gem called Internal Affairs. Despite having members from two past-their-prime metal bands (Soilwork & Arch Enemy), the music recalled the golden age of ’70s radio rock with passion and quality. Internal Affairs was an absolute blast to listen to, and we at AMG rightly hailed it as a Thing We Might Have Missed (it also made my Top 10ish that year). Fast forward three years, we get word that NFO has released their follow-up, Skyline Whispers…a few days ago. We missed them twice!! (shakes fist at sky).

Anyways, Skyline Whispers opens with “Sail On,” a fist-pumping, somewhat garage-y number that scratches your vintage rock itch, as is expected. Fair enough. From that point on, though, NFO fucks with the space-time continuum even more by channeling what 1970’s-era bands sounded like…in the ’80s. “Living For The Nighttime” is a prime example, with its pulsing keyboard loop and Journey/Foreigner fist-pumping action. This leads into the so-cheesy-it-can’t-be-real “Stiletto,” which veers dangerously into Aldo Nova territory. The fact that this ode to high heels is being sung by the same guy from Steelbath Suicide amuses me greatly.

Speaking of vocals, Bjorn Strid has upped his game significantly on NFO‘s second outing. His performances here are more bluesy and soulful than on Internal Affairs, in a David Coverdale sort of way. And he’s addressed the complaint I heard most often about the debut — “he’s not singing high enough!” — by sprinkling the record with plenty of scrotum-bursting falsetto screeches. If hearing “the guy from Soilwork” attempt this style three years ago was surreal, hearing him finally succeed at it is even more so.

David Andersson continues to provide top-notch guitar work, authentic in tone and well-versed in the lengthy history of rock music. He even throws in a few surprises, including the flamenco guitar on “Spanish Ghosts” (why do all songs with Spanish guitar have to be about Spanish stuff?! Stop it!) But this time around, keyboardist Richard Larsson steals the spotlight on more than one occasion. The dusky synths that kick off “I Ain’t Old, I Ain’t Young” recall the slow jams of the early ’80s, and his keys on the title track say more than any lyrics ever could.

Lyrically, the Orchestra‘s main themes remain the same: travel, partying, and of course, women. Strid pledges his devotion to several females throughout the album, many of whom have stripper-sounding names (see “Lady Jade,” which recalls Deep Purple at their funkiest). On the Steppenwolf-meets-Badfinger anthem “All the Ladies,” the band explores the subtle differences between actually being a rock star and merely having the chicks think you are one.

Night Flight Orchestra – Skyline Whispers 02

The 10-minute finalé “The Heather Reports” strongly implies that our narrator finally finds true love with someone named Heather. Whoever she is, she must be special, since the band pulls out all the stops here. Homages to everyone from Wings to Santana to Chinatown-era Thin Lizzy lurk within this massive track, and while it’s not exactly cohesive by nature, it’s an ultimate statement of intent.

Skyline Whispers isn’t exactly the logical next record for a band like Night Flight Orchestra; it’s more of a logical fast-forward to 3 or 4 albums after that. By splitting the difference between 70’s muscle and ’80s cheese, it recalls a very specific era in music, a time of Trans-Ams and tiny shorts and tall white socks with stripes on them (oh, and probably lots of cocaine). Every track on this record reminds me of the scene in Boogie Nights where Dirk Diggler tries to sell fake drugs to Alfred Molina, and coming from me, that’s a glowing compliment. To put it more bluntly, Skyline Whispers is probably more fun than whatever you’re listening to right now, and you should give it a spin immediately.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
Label: Unsigned
Websites: Facebook.com/NightFlightOrchestra (seriously, that’s all they got)
Release Dates: Out Worldwide: 06.09.2015

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  • El_Cuervo

    Love this

  • Malev Draizhen

    Sounds cool and I’m sure they have already taken the cake for Worst Album Cover 2015

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      Yeah, the cover’s fucking awful. I think they stole one of the “Z”s from the ZZ Top logo.

  • Dr. Scorpion

    No DR score. I will be a doctor. I need DR scores!!

    • sssgadget

      Just listening to the YT video makes me think it’s 6 or so.

      • Whiskeyjack

        I agree this should be a 6 out of 5!

        • sssgadget

          Not about the rating but the DR!

    • El_Cuervo

      Just measured my CD copy. Lossless format at DR of 6-7 on the standard tracks.

      • Dr. Scorpion

        Thanks man

  • I love Sharlee D’Angelo in these musical escapades :D Spiritual Beggars is one of my fav bands ever, so I’ll check this.

  • Kevin Dillon

    I got this album with the new Disarmonia Mundi record, came in some kind of quad pack from the label (Coroner). Anyway, I’ve listened to this far more than any of the other records it came with. It’s so much fun. I know Bjorn’s into this kind of music and it shows, you can tell he has a lot of passion in the cheesy vocal parts. Love it and I’m glad to see it praised here.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      You can tell Bjorn is having a blast. I envision the rest of the band in the room with him, egging him on to sing higher and do more ridiculous stuff.

  • Whiskeyjack

    I have been listening to nothing but Deathspell omega and Thantifaxath for about 2 months now when a friend passed me a copy of this today. One spin of “Stiletto” and I was rescued from Satans clutches! Now please don’t take off your stillettos!

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      No human can feel grim after hearing “Stiletto.” It’s too cheesy.

      • Whiskeyjack

        I’m writing to the NHS to ask if it can be classified as an anti depressant!

    • Kronos

      Why the hell are you not listening to Ad Nauseam?
      Thank me later
      https://lavadome.bandcamp.com/album/nihil-quam-vacuitas-ordinatum-est

      • Whiskeyjack

        ….hello darkness my old friend. Thanks for the recommendation!

      • Hey, wait a minute…I thought I was first on that one…AOTY contender hands down.

        • Kronos

          I’m spreading the good word

          • Kronos, I had an epiphany about us (scary I know): If we combine our everyday playlists, we will have pretty much nailed the end of the world soundtrack. And it’s just good to know when that happens, we’re ready.

      • Luke_22

        Thanks for the tip Kronos, Sounds like interesting stuff. Dense, murky and very intense.

      • Whiskeyjack

        Did AMG ever cover Thantifaxath? Good contender for things you might have missed if not. Sacred white noise is a great album!

        • Did you see my top 10 of 2014? There might be others on there you would dig too if you loved Thantifaxath. Don’t know but I figure I would throw that out there.

          • Whiskeyjack

            Nope, do you have a link? defo be interested in checking it out.

          • I’ve thread crapped a bit too much here and I don’t want to get Fisted by that Andrew Guy (nasty mental image). Google it or use the search on MFi.

          • Whiskeyjack

            Cheers, I found it with Google, Most of it I had already heard and enjoyed throughout last year, but Saor I’d never heard of, one track in and im really liking it. This is the kind of music that makes me close my eyes and escape to lands far off and fantastical.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            That is one great album!
            It’s worth checking out the Panopticon’s ‘Roads to the North’ another best of 2014 release. It has Austin Lunn’s heroic drums as well but with southern folk tinges.

          • Whiskeyjack

            yeah I had a listen to that after hearing they shared a drummer with Saor, good stuff! Have you heard “A Forest of Stars” latest release? Another great Folky black metal album.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Yes indeed! I’m really enjoying “Beware the sword…” I’m slightly disappointed that it isn’t picking up more recognition. It came out amid a tsunami of excellent releases which is probably the reason. It’ll be one of my tops for the year for sure…
            Another recent release that’s turned some heads around here and falls into the “if you like those you will like this” category is the Wilderun album, seriously good metal!

          • Whiskeyjack

            Yeah same here, I was a little surprised by Madam X’s Review of “Beware the Sword” I am absolutely loving it, but she seemed a bit ambivalent.

            I have been listening to Wilderun’s latest since i saw the review on AMG and totally agree! it’s FOLKING awesome! (Sorry)

          • Whiskeyjack

            Ok, Just finished my first spin of Saor………Wow. I have seriously got no work done in the past hour. I’ve just sat at my desk with my eyes closed imagining im sitting on a hill in the scottish highlands watching Braveheart cry…..

          • You sir are welcome!

        • Kronos

          Made my Honorable Mentions last year, but I didn’t get to spend enough time with it to write a review. I’m really loving the modern art-house black metal bands out there: Altar of Plagues, Dodecahedron, Ad Nauseam, etc.

  • Is this the most literal cover design of the year? Why yes, I think it is.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      ha yep thats hilarious

  • I don’t buy it, this was surely and entirely made on 1985 and put on a time capsule set to open this year.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I listen to “Living For The Nighttime” and I start getting visions of big hair and shoulder pads. Even the cheesy conversation in the middle of the song is totally 80s.

  • Gonzalo Salazar

    “We missed them twice!! (shakes fist at sky).”
    As good a reason as any to fist the sky…

  • dblbass23

    I REALLY liked the first album. I’m about to get into this and I’ve got high hopes for it too. From what I’m reading…..seems to be just as good. Let’s hope.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    Sail On put me in good spirits! I wonder what will happen if I listen to Stilleto! An awesome album. Great Album, Great Review….and indeed a shame you missed it!

    • Doomdeathrosh

      And you say these guys are ex-SoilWork and ex-Arch Enemy!

      • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

        They’re actually still in those bands.

  • This is ridiculously fun. “You’re just living for the night time, aren’t you?”

  • Monsterth Goatom

    “Stiletto” is somewhat of a cousin to Lenny Kravitz’s “Dirty White Boots”. Shoe fetish songs rock my world.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      I thought he was going for more of a David Lee Roth “Unchained” thing.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Yes …. yes, that could be.

  • Oberon

    This should be a nice way to change up my plISt for the upcoming patrol. It has to go over better than the Pyrron ep

    • Kronos

      ALWAYS KEEP GROWING AND CHANGING

      NEVER STOP SPREADING

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    Love it. I ordered this plus the previous album. Thanks!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      You won’t be disappointed. This band is on a role.

  • dblbass23

    Very good album. I felt like I was warped right back to 1985. As bad as that sounds….

  • Siege Bantayan

    Bands like this and Aktor are bringing a much needed variety to my playlist. Good review!

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      Yeah, Aktor was awesome too! Surprised I didn’t see/hear more people talking about them.

  • Celaeno

    ohmygoshilovethis!

    • Celaeno

      ok, seriously. those piano solos?!? ^_^

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    “the band explores the subtle differences between actually being a rock star and merely having the chicks think you are one.”

    ha funny great review fisting!

    • Al

      Yea so true. The album is so good because there is that depth

  • Juan Esteban Mendoza

    This is Album of the Year material. It has been my playlist for the past few days, really fun music

  • Al

    Pure gold. The first few minutes of the heather reports are simply the best melodies ive heard. And Sharlee’s bass is amazing

  • Al

    Bjorn’s voice is like smooth silky caramel. Yet he adds gusto to it – truly one of my favs of all time

  • Very late to the party on NFO. They’re taking over my life right now.

  • sir_c

    This sounds like Thin Lizzy on happy pills played by Deep Purple. Which is a compliment, for the record.

  • Nag Dammit

    Thanks for helping me find my inner cheeseball Dr. This is spinning relentlessly in my house and I can’t stop recommending this to all my friends (by whom I mean my poor wife and daughter and the people that sit near me at work). It reminds me of playing Vice City and tuning into the 80’s radio station, minus the mindless killing of pedestrians of course. Though I’ve not listened to this in my car yet, so who knows?

  • Tofu muncher

    this one is a gem. So much better than Rated-X ;-)