Alive Again: The Breathing Shadow Part IV

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In an attempt to lend some historical continuity (where, honestly, there has been none) to his Nightingale project's very sporadic career output, main man Dan Swano decided to name his latest excursion with the group as part IV and number songs starting with 27-- whatever works. But, in truth, despite offering quality music more often than not with each release, Nightingale's trajectory has been anything but cohesive or carefully planned, but rather a convenient side project which has now been seemingly promoted to a major endeavor by Swano. No point nitpicking, however, as The Breathing Shadow continues to explore the same semi-metallic terrain as its predecessors with utmost panache and competence. It's almost never brilliant, rarely flashy, and hardly innovative, mind you, but there's also little to fault with it if that's your musical preference. Standout cuts like "The Glory Days," "Into the Light" and "State of Shock" feature straightforward rock arrangements which recall very melodic, synth-laden, 80's styled AOR, and if there's any real downfall in Nightingale's formula, it's the fact that many tracks ("Falling," "The One," etc.) do tend to plod along rather aimlessly at times. Swano's rather inexpressive (some might say outright dull) vocals don't always sound appropriately suited to the songs either, and just what an 11-minute epic ("Eternal") in this same vein is doing here is anyone's guess.

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