Time to dust down the flares…
Released by The Sign Records on 2 March 2018 and reviewed by Andrew Manning
Taking it right back to the early 70’s are Svartanatt with their classic rock look and sound. Starry Eagle Eye is album number two from these back to the future musicians who are based in Stockholm Sweden. A career highlight to date is possibly their appearance at Sweden Rock 2017 and with this new release they will certainly be hoping to use their guitar-driven rock sound to remind us all of a particular era of time. Members from Svartanatt have previously been seen in bands such as the Scrags, John Duva and Beardfish.
There isn’t a hard and fast dictionary definition to apply to music from this long gone period but what we get here is a slice of good old retro rock with influences from many classic artists. It’s almost like playing a game of I-Spy as you try to recognise the numerous influences. However, it must be said that this is not a group of copyists who could be accused of plagiarism. What you get are subtle influences shining through. Even the translation of the band name could be homage to one of their heroes as it apparently means ‘Black Night’ and echoes of the mighty Deep Purple can be heard at times within a few tracks.
Just like back in the day the album is concise with 9 tracks clocking in at about 40 minutes. ‘The Children of Revival’ provides a nice commercial sounding raw opener with Jani Lehtinen (Vocals, Guitar) putting his foot on the pedal with his raspy sounding voice accompanying some interwoven dual guitar playing and a southern rock style solo. Elements of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd shine through in ‘Wrong Side of Time’ with a nice chugging guitar riff complemented by that true 70s guitar sound during the mid-section from Felix Gåsste (Guitar).
Title track ‘Starry Eagle Eye’ is one of the stand out moments with a gentle Eagles style start which then melds nicely into the main body of the tune as the pace picks up. Is that a hint of Iron Maiden we hear with the twin guitars kicking in at moments throughout the song? Maybe their influences stretch further on into the late 70s and early 80s as well.
Musically ‘Duffer’ provides a hint of early Uriah Heep with some swirling keyboards towards the track conclusion and although a fairly short song there is an undercurrent of prog rock throughout. ‘Wolf Blues’ is a ballad type offering which builds to a real up tempo climax.
Hard hitting and pulsating can best describe ‘Hit Him Down’ with a really tight rhythm section provided by Mattias Holmström (Bass) and Daniel Heaster (Drums). This is the highlight of the album with a nicely inspired Sabbath piece blending the track together. ‘Universe Of’ shows off their psychedelic side with more Heep style keyboards courtesy of Martin Borgh (Organ). The lyrics to this have Lehtinen asking us ‘Do you believe in me?’ and in terms of pure nostalgic classic rock throughout this album we certainly do. Keyboard solos alongside fast fret work combine with some raw and passionate vocals as ‘Black Heart’ bring the album to a close with a blend of more kick ass moments.
Never judge a book by its cover they say, and many may feel this is a very dated style of music. However, they would be wrong to write this off as just being from a bygone time. It is a really solid release which matures with repeated plays.
- The Children of Revival
- Wrong Side of Time
- Starry Eagle Eye
- Wolf Blues
- Hit Him Down
- Universe Of
- The Lonesome Ranger
- Black Heart