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Articles Home » 2014 Articles » Neonfly - 2014 Strangers In Paradise
Neonfly - 2014 Strangers In Paradise

ARTIST: Neonfly
ALBUM: Strangers In Paradise
LABEL: Inner Wound Recordings
YEAR: 2014


LINEUP: Willy Norton - vocals * Frederick Thunder, Patrick Harrington - guitar * Paul Miller - bass * Boris Le Gal - drums * Gunter Werno - guest keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 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



That album title just screams Long Island Records or a blistering album from the latest hotshots from Sweden, but no this is the second full release by the British group called Neonfly and it's on Inner Wound Recordings label although themselves still a relevantly newcomer in terms of record companies, who never seem to release a poor album. If you remember my favourite GDM inspired rock albums of 2014 were from the UK by Night By Night, but hot on the heels with this little beauty, built around a core of musicians who originally forged links while at Music College. Tell you the truth, if George would put his hand in his pocket and develop something as to the equivalent to goal line technology to our choices that this album would have shown that in fact it did appear in my top ten. So Neonfly, why so good? Well they have managed to mix power with melody, and unlike the forefathers of the UK (at least the country where they are based) power metal scene, Dragonforce; they don't rely on one single seam in the rock formation. Not knocking the Force, it's just that their last album is still in the limited edition box, and remains unplayed, (did like the t-shirt though, all for a staggering 9.99). In comparison, Neonfly differ by concentrated on melody rather than extended guitar solos, do you buy an album for guitar solos or songs? Well pick up your joystick and make your choice.

The Songs
'Whispered Dreams' is straight out of there with furious melodies, the double drum kicks as hard as being hit by the old Chelsea hittman, Chopper Harris. This is far from whispers? The tune brings back the memories of classic bands like the great Majestic, Kamelot and Labyrinth.

'Highways To Nowhere', can be summed best up by the spoof Bad News vocalist and lead guitarist' Vim Fuego when he ranted at poor Den (Nigel Planner) 'we're Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal, just like your (expletive!) brain', but there is no comedy value here, this is serious melody, something Skid Row seemed to lose on their 'Slave To The Grind' album. Yes, they are occasions when Neonfly put the emphasis on the heavy, but it's not a case of what happened to Dream Theater during the 'Train Of Thought' stage, where they lost the melodic strain, Neonfly always keep the melody in mind, and to be fair to the Theater, they have redeemed themselves over the last 2 or 3 albums.

I did read from a rock site that the first 3 songs are a slice of power metal, well obviously that guy has trouble counting, or feels by listening to amazon length clips he can gain a feel of an album, because track 3, being 'Better Angels', may start off like the first two even heavier, but it quickly changes, wow, in a pure white melodic bliss. This is AOR with a melodic pulse, plus a jetpack, very much Sturm und Drang, in fact my pen turns into a drumstick while writing, and black ink is now a feature of the upholstery. That chorus is Valentine, Airbourne and those backing vocals, good enough to grace any cathedral.

The AOR love in continues with 'Rose In Bloom', this is an AOR size 12, stamping over this album, here they are creating images of Bon Jovi, when they cared, MTV videos of Alias, The Storm, and Winger before they were taken to the cleaners by 'Beavis and Butthead', although Neonfly would still be too cool to be mocked by the those little herberts. Touches the finer moments of Sonata Arctica.

Mixing Rhapsody Of Fire and Nightwish in just within the introduction to 'Heart Of The Sun', this is pure melodic fire, just love the keyboard together with the orchestration, dipping into the realms of Edguy, but Neonfly do it even better, that's how good this is. This feeds into a short instrumental which just drips of 'Aztec Gold', how the hell do these guys even try to replicate this live?, this could have been used as the soundtrack when they first opened the Pharaoh's tombs in Egypt, only way to describe the intensity.

With 'Fierce Battalions' they have the tendency to uplift the heavy bombardment and break it up with a melodic segment, that has Stratovarius looking at their back catalogue trying to prove this is what they used to do. Similar to what Amoral did on their impressive 'Fallen Leaves And Dead Sparrows' but while Amoral concentrated on Led Zeppelin, Neonfly is probably having the likes of Iron Maiden and Dio stitched to their denims, plus the melody of Journey, although while I would imagine Schon jumping at the chance to play like this, Perry might have issues.

'Sons Of Liberty', very much Dragonforce, but again Neonfly are never afraid to stop, reduce the speed. Finally the keyboards have resurrected the glory days of Royal Hunt, something I haven't heard since 1997, with the Danes, 'Paradox' release.

Willy Norton on 'Chasing The Night' seems to machine gun out the lyrics as quick as a fat bird scoffing the content of a packet of M & M's, even taking out the characters in the adverts too. With this tune, it's the only time they break the four minute barrier, and they show they have the required endurance, and I am reminded of the undervalued Enbound release from 2011, again on the Inner Wound Recordings label.

AOR is resplendent again on the final number 'Falling Star', I would imagine this genre may have not been in their thoughts, but it's a great tune, with that middle section, it's so easily could become a hair metal classic.

In Summary
If you enjoyed the thought of Blind Guardian and Iced Earth, but are put off by the rather rough edges they seem to have, Neonfly use lots of polish to have a cleaner and sharper sound, together with a policy of limiting the length of the tunes, which actually works wonders. After seeing a clip on YouTube for 'Heart Of The Sun', the album finally started to sink in, and this tune is becoming a big favourite. Earlier I mentioned that the latest Dragonforce, has stayed in the box, where Neonfly has gone everyway with me, ok travel wise, may only mean to Kettering to the North and to Kempston to the South, but in my imagination, I am on stage, I am playing air keyboards, I showing Simon Cowell what a good song is! Neonfly have made great strides since their debut recording on the EP, 'Clever Disguise', how big? Well put it this way, compare actress Margot Robbie in her Neighbours role to her appearance in 'The Wolf On Wall Street'.

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#1 | englandashes on March 26 2015 22:12:37
Better Angels have just been released, the video has members of Team GB, just a great melodic rock tune, with lots of AOR intentions.
#2 | swazi on November 16 2015 20:24:21
Very impressive release! And a great review! Thumbs Up
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