THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA – Internal Affairs (2012)

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA - Internal Affairs (2012)


“The Night Flight Orchestra” started like so many others as an innocent yet serious drunken idea when Björn Strid (Soilwork) and David Andersson (Mean Streak, session Soilwork) were on the road together somewhere in North America in 2007.

Björn and David were bonding over what they considered ‘classic’ or not, from rock ‘n roll conspiracies to being arrested in a lobby with nothing but leather pants on. All those scenarios, fictional or real, needed a soundtrack.

They also came to think that whether you’re on a metal tour or not, a lot of classic rock songs say it all and can really lend you a helping hand and make you forget about everything, especially when in motion or travelling.

The classic escape. The never-ending road trip. The transatlantic night flight. It may sound simple and naive but what it all comes down to is that we all need that soundtrack to feel extra special, whether you have been arrested in a lobby or not.

It didn’t take long before bass player Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars) joined forces as well as keyboard player Richard Larsson (Von Benzo) and drummer Jonas Källsbäck (Mean Streak).

The goal was to reclaim the late ’70s / early ’80s sense for classic melody, the forgotten recipe to a timeless song, preferably a song mentioning a city, street name or an exhilarating alcoholic beverage. Anything that will have you spitting out the word ‘classic’.

From ‘Tarot Woman’ to ‘Badlands’, from ‘Rhiannon’ to ‘Running on Empty’, from ‘Blind Man’ to ‘Night Moves’, from ‘Deuce’ to ‘Separate Ways’, from ‘Elected’ to ‘Set me Free’.

The list goes on. It’s all about reclaiming the “classic”.

This project peeked my interest due to who the band members were.

What intrigued me is that most of these guys come from an extremely heavy metal background yet were calling this side project ‘classic rock / classic hard’. Björn is known for his very aggressive vocal style, I just wasn’t sure how this was going to sound.

Well, their debut CD “Internal Affairs” is indeed Classic Rock, with the band creating a ‘back-to-basics’ rock recalling the era when melodies were the motto in music.

There’s many tributes in the way the songs are composed, arranged and executed, taking the curves very nice with a hard rockin’ swing. Björn has a great voice, and here he really blossom, no growl, just a voice that is incredibly powerful and plenty of colors.

Björn ‘Speed’ Strid and guitarist David Anderson have written thirteen strong tracks that are pretty varied in terms of style, tempo and intensity.

“Siberian Queen” starts with a Zeppelin style riff over a Blackmore-like guitar. First thing I notice is that Bjorn can actually SING and not just roar like I’m used to hearing. This song could easily fit on any Deep Purple album and even on a few Whitesnake ones. Killer melody over some extremely tasty organ playing.

“California Morning” is just infectious. An early Kiss era guitar riff over a song that will have you bobbing your head and tapping your feet. This has summer time jam all over it.

Björn’s vocals really shine on the ELO sounding “Glowing City Madness” that really balances between the guitar, orchestrated keyboards and the rhythm section. Huge sounding vocals on this one.

Then we have “West Ruth Ave”… imagine vintage Foreigner doing a duet with the Bee Gees, that’s basically what you have here. This song would have been a monster hit in the ’70s and should be today as well. Just contagious as hell. Bottom line, it rocks.

“Transatlantic Blues” starts out mellow and builds as it goes along. Some tasty organ and a huge bass groove layered over some more Blackmore style guitars that really smoke in the middle. The middle breakdown section will have you banging your head in that classic ‘Child In Time’ type of way.

“Miami 5:02” is one of my favorites. Very heavy drums and bass start off this hard rocker. Van Halen meets Rainbow. Another song that would have been a monster hit in the ’70 / ’80s.

Next is title track “Internal Affairs”, and this band doesn’t stop to surprise you. The tune is a seventies funky rocker with a monster groove and a shaking R&B rhythm. You can’t believe that heavy metal musicians can pen and execute a song like this with such feeling. Awesome.

“1998” has an American vibe in the Bob Seger style but more juicy, while “Stella Ain’t No Dove” delivers a catchy melody that would be a hit in the Classic Rock FM radio.

Do you want more classic ‘hard’ rock? “Montreal Midnight Supply” blends Deep Purple with a ‘Detroit Rock City’ style bass groove in it. Reminds you .38 Special as well. Another absolutely killer tune.

“Green Hills of Grumslöv” musically reminds you of ’39’ by Queen but with a full band approach, more articulated vocals and an anthemic chorus. A great ‘I’m-Coming-Home’ type of song.

The physical version of the CD includes the bonus “American High”: what a way to end the album. A huge groove rocker with more killer vocals and some great guitar playing. Very awesome breakdown in the middle of the song.

Seriously, I was NOT expecting this quality music when I first heard about this “The Night Flight Orchestra” project.

“Internal Affairs” rocks from beginning to end. There’s simply not a bad track on this thing. These songs are amazing, rock in all the right places, show tons of personality, and are just downright infectious as hell.

One thing that’s funny here is that even though the songs are composed and (perfectly) executed with the mind put in music styles so popular thirty years ago, this material doesn’t sound oudated at all.

Furthermore, kudos to these fine (mostly) Swedish musicians for crafting in 2012 an album in this musical direction and also manage to make it sound fresh and uplifting.

Perhaps unintentionally, “Internal Affairs” is one of the best albums of the year.

Don’t miss this one!

01 – Siberian Queen

02 – California Morning

03 – Glowing City Madness

04 – West Ruth Ave

05 – Transatlantic Blues

06 – Miami 5:02

07 – Internal Affairs

08 – 1998

09 – Stella Ain’t No Dove

10 – Montreal Midnight Supply

11 – Green Hills Of Glumslov

12 – American High (Digipak Bonus Track)

Björn ‘Speed’ Strid: Vocals

David Andersson: Guitars

Rikard Larsson: Keyboards

Sharlee D’Angelo: Bass

Jonas Källsbäck: Drums


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