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Nightfox - White Cobra

White Cobra
by Chris Hicklin at 18 January 2022, 12:34 PM

Based in Trondheim, Norway, NIGHTFOX somewhat curiously describe themselves as a “fictional band project”. To some this might worryingly raise the specter of comedy legends SPINAL TAP, the world’s most famous fictional Rock band, but in this case the description is alluding to the fact this is essentially a one-man project, that man being the all-singing, all-dancing writer and multi-instrumentalist Erik Winther. Playing every instrument, producing, writing, and even co-designing the cover, the project is very definitely Winther’s baby. Originally conceived in 2012 as a Synth-Wave project, the decision was made to switch to Retro Rock in 2017 and the “band” has never looked back.

From the opening chords of “Dream Come True” it is obvious that NIGHTFOX are aiming for a certain sound, specifically that of Hair and Glam metal of the mid 80s, leaning more towards the US variant of this. Indeed “Dream Come True” could be ripped straight from the soundtrack of Nightmare on Elm Street 3, with a feel and sound very similar to DOKKEN’S “Dream Warriors”. This is also true of Winther’s soloing style which has heavy George Lynch vibes.

Next up we have “Resurrection” which plods along rather like DEF LEPPARD after popping ten Xanax. Winther has a solid Rock voice, and a good understanding of how vocal harmonies were built and recorded for this style of music. Still at over 5 minutes, the track drags on far too long without ever really taking off. An epic guitar solo or two may have saved it, but alas, none are offered. “Ride The Sky Tonight” fares a little better in this regard with some impressive twiddling, tapping, liberal whammy bar diving, and a less sluggish pace.

At six minutes long, title track “White Cobra” needs to deliver the goods. Again, though it is just not a diverse or imaginative enough composition to justify itself. The lyrics are awkward and trip over each other at some points, the riffs we’ve heard a hundred times before. “Your Broken Heart” suffers from similar problems, although “Phoenix” belts along with a good pace and manages to muster a few moments of real excitement.
There’s a slightly heavier affair to finish up with in “What Matters In The End”, which represents a definite highlight of the album. It has an excellent Speed Metal type riff in the verses, features a brooding break down and an epic guitar solo. Winther’s vocals are at their most lively and expressive, and everybody (just him really) sounds like they are having great fun.

Across the LP the performances and production are authentic, which is to say the performances are decent and the production is lousy. But that is a deliberate stylistic choice, the recording and mixing is clear and up to modern standards, but one cannot evoke this period without aping the scooped-mids, massively over-produced drums and effects-drenched sounds of the era, which it does so successfully. For that reason, I am unsure how to grade the production, after all it’s not easy to make an album sound so credibly poor, I can just imagine Winther sitting there saying to himself “sounds too good, try again!” Similarly, the song writing is an expert study of the characteristics of the time, but that also means its trappings, lyrical shallowness, and all-round cheesiness. As an exercise in period music-making it brings very little to the table you won’t have heard before, but the musicianship is to a very high standard and genuine fans of the genre should find it satisfying.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Dream Come True
2. Resurrection
3. Ride the Sky Tonight
4. White Cobra
5. Your Broken Heart
6. Phoenix
7. Storm Fighter
8. What Matters in The End
Erik Winther - All Instruments & Programming
Record Label: Lions Pride Music


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