London based Neonfly, are Willy Norton on vocals, Frederick Thunder on guitars, Patrick Harrington on guitars, Paul Miller on bass and Boris Le Gal on drums.
They have managed to get onto some pretty cool and important supports slots lately, including Power Quest, Magnum, Sonata Arctica and Dragonforce. They lit up the Sophie Lancaster Stage at Bloodstock 2013 and their rapidly rising reputation as a force to be reckoned with live won them an invitation to open for Alice Cooper on the German leg of his Raise The Dead Tour 2013.
Neonfly released their explosive debut album ‘Outshine The Sun’, in September 2011 on Rising Records, to critical acclaim. Now they are back with the ever difficult 2nd release ‘Strangers In Paradise’.
What is clear about this new offering, is that they have used the three year gap in recording time wisely, so many bands get rushed into making their 2nd album that it is generally a poor effort, full of tracks that never made the final cut the first time around, however I am pleased to say that Neonfly have not done this. The new album is a step up both in songwriting, playing and overall production than the debut, so anything left over from the debut will still be on the cutting room floor.
Opening song ‘Whispered Dreams’ is a massive opener, with a big chorus and the soaring melodic vocals of Willy Norton. Both “Better Angels” and “Heart Of The Sun” are 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 and this works really really well.
‘Aztec Gold’ is another track that benefits from the orchestration treatment yet remembers its power metal roots with a great guitar solo trade-off between guitarists Patrick Harrington and Frederick Thunder.
‘Fierce Battalions’ is a fast-paced track allowing drummer Boris Le Gal to show us his skills, a basic yet effective trip down European power metal road.
‘Chasing The Night’ and ‘Falling Star’ are two outstanding tracks, both for different reasons, the former is the longest track on the record and it has a more progressive rock feel to it. It’s also has a great lead guitar solo at the mid-point and plenty of explosive passages throughout. The surprise on the cd is the last track though, a ballad, the lyrics on “Falling Star” are just beautiful, this is a massive ballad and AOR rock band would be proud off.
This is a very complex album that needs quite a few listens to fully experience it: is it Power Metal, is it AOR , is it Progressive?, the simple answer is Yes, it is all these and much more.
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
Paul Miller – Bass
Frederick Thunder – Guitars
Patrick Harrington – Guitars
Boris Le Gal – Drums
Willy Norton – Vocals