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A Liquid Landscape - "Nightingale Express" (CD)

A Liquid Landscape - "Nightingale Express" CD cover image

"Nightingale Express" track listing:

1. Nightingale Express (12:40)
2. Wanderer's Log - You (0:51)
3. June Fifth (4:08)
4. Phases (4:53)
5. The Unreachable (4:59)
6. Wanderer's Log - Me (0:58)
7. Thieves of Time (6:01)
8. Out of Line (4:35)
9. Come on Home (5:22)
10. Wanderer's Log - Storm (2:36)
11. Secret Isle (5:10)

Reviewed by on February 16, 2012

"Laid back and unhurried, 'Nightingale' is a mostly calm and soothing album there for those times when extreme speed and brutality have gotten old and a little respite is called for."

Providing more of that organic and shifting sound required to scratch the prog itch, A Liquid Landscape’s “Nightingale” is a worthy foray into the realm where rock meets metal, and can potentially appeal to either crowd. Laid back and unhurried, “Nightingale” is a mostly calm and soothing album there for those times when extreme speed and brutality have gotten old and a little respite is called for.

Although completely entrenched in what is labeled as “progressive” music, A Liquid Landscape isn’t a prog metal act in the sense of bands like Opeth or Leprous or even Dream Theater, where rock and unexpected song structures collide with heaviness. Instead, the album is almost entirely prog rock, with an atmosphere that bleeds into the heavy side and creates a sound that open minded metal heads can get into along the lines of Three. The track “Wanderer’s Log: Storm” is the only cut off the album that can truly be considered “heavy metal,” and it still is a more melodic version of metal, rather than something explosive and in your face.

As with many progressive albums, there is an obligatory massive song clocking in at 13 minutes, but that gets out of the way with the opening track. Afterward, the amorphous and fluid songs become much more manageable, averaging around five minutes. There is a strong bass driven groove to the overall sound, and most of the songs are fairly slow moving to mid-paced, giving lots of time to let everything sink ink.

Although the album is very relaxing, it’s not without a few annoying flaws. There are times when “Nightingale” aimlessly rambles and could use more direction, especially in the longer songs. A good deal of patience and attentiveness is required to full appreciate what’s going on, especially with the amount of repetition present. By the time the seventh track “Thieves of Time” rolls around, the band has already repeated the same basic idea many times, and things actually get a bit worse after that, with the final song especially guilty of unnecessarily reiterating the same sounds over and over.

While not the perfect prog rock album that will kill all other progressive bands and end up in your CD player forever, A Liquid Landscape’s latest effort is still a good buy for fans of the genre. What specific genre that actually ends up as is a bit up in the air (alternative art prog quasi-metal?), but suffice it to say that fans of Haken, Riverside, or anything without harsh vocals will likely enjoy this album.

Highs: The organic sound flows well and has a nice soothing effect.

Lows: Lots of repitition and the album tends to meander.

Bottom line: An excursion into prog rock with some metal leanings that will appeal to fans of Haken or Three.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)