NERGARD – A BIT CLOSER TO HEAVEN
Release Date: 12th June 2015
℗ 2015 Battlegod Productions
- Light And Shadows
- Fall From Grace
- On Through The Storm
- Let It Come
- Help Me Through The Night
- I Will Find You
- A Bit Closer To Heaven
- When All I Want Is You
Andreas Nergard is a friend and someone we admire greatly at Silver Tiger Media, however with the veritable plethora of guest performers, I’m quite certain we can produce a reasonably objective album review.
Following the success of Memorial for a Wish the release of A Bit Closer to Heaven is keenly awaited by many throughout the world, and quite frankly, disappointed is a term that will be sans from description. When so many brilliant performers are brought together in a work like this under the guidance of such an insightful composer and visionary as Andreas, the very least to expect is a whirlwind of diversity and musical excellence in homogenised perfectly. A work one can truly call a majestic and splendiferous journey bursting at the seams with outstanding performances and perfect blending of excellence. Each and every track carries its own unique identity due largely to the lyrical feast of vocal diversity, and each performer free to stamp their authority and ownership to each track. Andreas really is all about the complete package, content to be part of the musical journey, rather than the grand creator solely responsible as the visionary supreme.
Track one Light and Shadows moves us with metal malevolence and musical majesty into the works in furiously satisfying form with killer vocals and blistering riffs. This track is a tremendous blending of Dio style old school metal and progressive metal, sure to have something for everyone. The sheer magnitude of this track is due primarily to the blisteringly brilliant performances of Nils K. Rue (Pagan’s Mind), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, ex Gamma Ray), Andi Kravljaca (Aeon Zen) and Ole Martin Moe Thornæs (Rudhira). The keyboards are a little surprising, but fit so very well as the track moves from song into stage format storytelling.
Fall From Grace progresses gently by comparison into the storyline style delivery that is signature Nergard and in typical form this track draws you into the tale, captivated by the delivery of all, vocally and instrumentally. The performance from Thomas Løseth (Tempo) is utterly brilliant and reinforces the master skills of composer Andrea in matching the voice to the story and emotion of the piece.
On Through The Storm is our first aural glimpse of chilling, yet angelic vocal range of the magnificent Elize Ryd (Amaranthe). Her performance is beyond belief and you cannot help but be drawn into the storyline by her choral perfection. The track builds in powerful delivery prompted by guitar solo, seemingly catapulting the vocals to magnificent heights. Another outstanding contribution from Andi Kravljaca, joined this time by the raw skill of Jørn Viggo Lofstad (Pagan’s Mind).
Let It Come celebrates 80’s style heavy rock and Metal, enhanced beautifully by Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus) and Øyvind Voldmo Larsen (Withem).
Help Me Through lift us back to a heavier introduction an truly moving metal track with Andi Kravljaca and the supremely skilled Stig Nergård (Tellus Requiem). The placement of this track is tremendous due to the uplifting qualities of the blistering guitar solos. Amazing stuff drawing listeners further into the work craving more.
I Will Find You has Andi surreptitiously serenading us into melancholy refrain, albeit in tremendous vocal fashion, before launching again with Stig into the title track. Sensual aural delights intertwined with magnificent metal riffs that are signature Nergard, are carried well by all in this penultimate offering, drawing our story to closing in When All I Want Is You. The beautiful and talented Sunniva Unsgård along with Jostein Svarstad (Tony Carey, The Jan Holberg Project) provide superlative performances to this most fitting finale.
This entire work is a torrent of magnificent musical talent, who ultimately bring the work of Andreas Nergard to life by instilling emotion into the individual pieces, vocally and musically and blending the elements into a wondrous, majestic collection.
With each composition Andreas produces, it seems impossible to create something more moving and powerful, yet with each subsequent work he does not disappoint. Bravura.