NEONFLY – Strangers In Paradise (2014)
Three years ago we presented exclusively here the debut from British combo NEONFLY, one of the best albums of that year without a doubt. On the strength of very good sales and successful tours with Magnum, Dragonforce and other major acts, NeonFly’s experience and exposure has been elevated.
And this is reflected on their awesome second CD “Strangers In Paradise“, to be released next December 1, 2014.
“Strangers In Paradise” follows the path of its fantastic predecessor, yet more bombastic and punchy than never before. NeonFly plays classic melodic hard rock, yet reinforced with a metal edge and often performed in an accessible AOR wrapper.
For that metal scenario the instrumental “Aztec Gold” followed by “Fierce Battalions” offers something nearing power metal in it’s pace and kicking package. “Highways To Nowhere” brings the heaviness as well with a thundering bottom end and vocalist Willy Norton shining whith his tough and raspy vocals.
But as said, the album is a great mixture of all three parts; edgy Melodid Hard Rock, rocking AOR and commercial power metal dovetailing together, as with “Chasing The Light” and “Heart of the Sun”, two of the most versatile songs in arrangement, and among my favorites.
Other highlights include the massive opener “Whispered Dreams”, with a big chorus and a soaring, melodic lead vocal line work. Then “Better Angels” is catchy enough to win over casual fans and draw them in at festivals, before discovering the deeper delights this album has to offer.
The use of keyboards and orchestrations on most, if not all of these songs, help to lift them above the norm and add a touch of quality to an otherwise good track. “Sons Of Liberty” has a string section at its heart, superbly arranged at the service of the main melody.
Alternatively, NeonFly is able to calm things down with style without losing the grip.
Filled with beautiful lyrics, “Falling Star” is a massive ballad that any AOR rock band would be proud of, and “Rose In Bloom” moves upon the strength of vocal arrangements (Norton is an exceptional vocalist) carring and intense melody, with the other instruments lifting both.
But these are the strengths of Neonfly, adding Frederick Thunder’s fine song composition and fiery guitar, they bring consistent and entertaining music, solid melodic hard rock tunes with a sharp sound.
It’s easy to see how they’ve found some favor with their peers, touring with them.
I don’t have enough words to praise more this terrific quintet from UK; NeonFly is simply one of the most creative, talented and entertaining bands appeared in the last fifteen years.
“Strangers In Paradise” is another prove that when you have the skills, musically everything is possible; this album is plenty of catchy melodies, melodic refrains, AOR choruses, progressive arrangements, racing instrumentation… and yes, a very good production to enjoy all these awesome songs.
More than HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, very close to a must have.
01 – Whispered Dreams
02 – Highways To Nowhere
03 – Better Angels
04 – Rose In Bloom
05 – Heart Of The Sun
06 – Aztec Gold
07 – Fierce Battalions
08 – Sons Of Liberty
09 – Chasing The Night
10 – Falling Star
Willy Norton – Vocals
Frederick Thunder – Guitars
Patrick Harrington – Guitars
Paul Miller – Bass
Boris Le Gal – Drums