夜莺 / Nightingale - 湖中的倒影 / Reflections In The Lake (2009) - A mixed bag with some potential - 65% (11/01/13)
This Beijing based melodic metal band "夜莺" or "Nightingale" mixes harsher tracks with thrash metal riffs reminding me a little bit of a modern version of After Forever thanks to the grounded and mostly well performed female vocals and rather calm rock songs that could also come from bands or artists such as The Cranberries.
The calmer parts are often much more spectacular as the musicians employ simple but emotional riffs. In these moments, the female singer also proves her talent but it's quite a mixed bag with her. In some songs, she sounds grunded and powerful but still full of grace while in some songs, her vocals are rather exchangeable and thin as they don't seem to fit with the music or happen to be buried by the instruments. Overall, she is though the most outstanding factor in this band and she clearly has some talent. She's a little bit like a rough diamond that only shines from time to time. The harsher parts are very powerful from an instrumental point of view but lack of variation and truly catchy riffs. The calmer and the few experimental breaks fit much better to the band. The bass guitar has a few strong moments in the calmer parts while the drums only play a few basis rhythms without producing anything special as I find them rather faceless.
While none of the songs is boring, there is no track that truly stands out and grabs my attention for a while. As most interesting tracks, I might cite the half ballad "草原" that kicks off in a rather introspective way with a focus on the melodic vocals before it turns into a much darker and heavier direction which works very well. The peaceful album closer "送别离" is inspired by a natural ambient sounds and has a very dreamy and floating character which works quite well to end the album with. As another solid track, I might metion the very vivid "战歌" that mixes heavy and thrash metal parts with a few surprising breaks in a more progressive vein. The band unites its two faces in this track and it works well enough without being spectacular. The band should build up on this kind of songs.
This band surely has some talent but sounds sometimes a little bit directionless. Fans of heavy or melodic metal might dislike the calmer and more commcercial passages while radio rock orientated people might feel curious about the few heavier tracks that are definitely there. That's why this band is still some sort of a mixed bag and only interesting for people that like both the natural and introspective nature influenced soft rock parts and the darker, heavier or even thrashier riffs in other passages. For a possible next release, this band needs to chose only one way and should go for the calmer and more progressive passages in my opinion as they appear more thought out and passionate to me even if this kind of music wouldn't have much to do with metal music overall anymore. The band should also work on a more coherent song writing and create a few catchier hooks and gripping choruses. Some songs have their catchy moments but they never last all too long.
In the end, I've tried this band out because I've been stumbling over many intriguing Chinese metal bands in the past but I wouldn't have spent a review on such a release if this kind of music would have come from a different country. It's neither bad nor good but ultimately an entertaining demo featuring a solid singer and musicians with some potential. Time will tell if they may focus on their true strengths and produce an acceptable full length release one day.« My favourite songs and recordsIn Extremo - Auf den Dächern (2011) - Acoustic versions done right this time - 80% (12/01/13) »
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