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Nightwing: Black Summer

One of the more notable groups that sprouted from the NWOBHM scene, Nightwing debuted on the scene in 1981 with their album Something in the Air, but with Ovation Records closing shop, the band was in search for a new record label for their follow-up, Black Summer. Released in 1982 on the Gull label, Black Summer is often considered the highlight of Nightwing's discography, and featured the line-up of bassist Gordon Rowley, singer/guitarist Alec Johnson, keyboard player Kenny Newton, and drummer Steve Bartley. With chugging early heavy metal songs punctuated by prog rock styled keyboards, Nightwing had a very distinct sound that all came together quite nicely on this excellent sophomore release, now being reissued by Prog Temple.

Opening cut "Overnight Sensation" almost sounds like Deep Purple or Gillan fronted by Saxon's Biff Byford, a heavy rocker with a frantic pace and impressive Hammond organ & synth work. "Bird Has Flown" is a more commercial track with great riffs, funky rhythms, and memorable vocal hooks, not unlike the more rocking Queen material from that same time period. Johnson's crunchy riffs carry the heavy "Carry On", while "Long Hard Road" is one of the more prog rock styled songs in the bunch, highlighted by some killer keyboard passages courtesy of Newton. Think early '80s Deep Purple or Uriah Heep for the vibe the band was going for here. "Searching" has those addicting AOR hooks to go along with some solid crunch riffing from Johnson, and the rampaging "Evil Woman" is another snarling heavy metal track with perhaps Johnson's best guitar licks on the album, battling with Newton's Hammond organ every step of the way. The title track again allows the Hammond organ to take center stage, along with some sizzling Moog bursts, for a fiery heavy prog outing. This excellent album closes with the mid-paced rocker "Don't Want to Lose You", a song featuring some great synth passages but otherwise is more of a lengthy, lumbering piece that just never seems to get out of second gear. Decent song but nowhere near as successful as the rest of the tracks on the album.

Within a year the Nightwing line-up would change, with vocalist Max Bacon (GTR) joining as their new dedicated frontman. Though there have been many stops and starts over the years, and numerous personnel changes, the band continues to tour to this day, and even released a studio album back in 2008. This is a killer reissue of one of their best albums, and considering how tough it is to get most of the Nightwing back catalog on CD, hopefully more reissues are on the way so the world can rediscover this very fine band all over again.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1) Overnight Sensation
2) Bird Has Flown
3) Carry On
4) Long Hard Road
5) Searching
6) Evil Woman
7) Black Summer
8) Don't Want to Lose You

Added: October 5th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2412
Language: english

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