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Niva - Incremental IV Award winner

Incremental IV
by YNGWIEVIKING at 29 July 2014, 6:46 PM

NIVA’s debut album “No Capitulation” was released back in December 1994 by the mighty Japanese label Zero Corporation (RIP), it was recorded with drummer Ian Haugland (EUROPE / exTRILOGY / exBALTIMORE / exBRAZEN ABBOTT) and today it’s a very hard-to-find CD, a real collector item, this disc was back then, a breath of fresh air in this grungy troubled times.

But what we could not imagine, is that we should wait for almost seventeen years, until their second album“Gold From The Future" that was released only in 2011, again it was out in Japan exclusively, but surprisingly it was re-released in 2012 for the European market under the OXYGEN moniker and was titled “Final Warning”… I was in a constant high praise mode while talking about this great album, and I remember have argued repeatedly and fighting with words against the paseist AOR ayatollahs & old cynical defeatists :This was a pure “Scandinavian AOR / Melodic Metal jewel a treat for the starving fans of early EUROPE / FATE / STATE OF MIND / BAD HABIT / TNT and cohort” with an almost instant addictivity risk !

In 2013, “Magnitude” was released by G.Siegl’s AOR Heaven, once again the Japanese edition was differently titled “Gravitation” (?) anyway it was another superb 9.0 Earth-shaking disc (pun intended), a pure Ultra Melodic Metal pearl, performed by a new gang in his full maturity, regrouped and upgraded with skilled musicians and gifted songwriting partners as Roger Ljunggren (exGRAND ILLUSION/exT’BELL) on guitars and Marcus Persson on keys, this was again a triumph, something like the ultimate experience for the MADISON / YALE BATE / TREAT / CRYSTAL BLUE / MASQUERADE / NATION / DREAMHUNTER nostalgics supporters, a tribute to those bands who paved the way for H.E.A.T. / ECLIPSE and SUNSTRIKE and finally a real delight for the demanding experts of Scandinavian Melodic Metal & the enthusiastic specialists.

NIVA is sounding like an incredible time travel capsule with at its helm, a talented Swedish singer, Mr. Tony Niva, who began his musical career in Skövde in mid 80’s, building a solid reputation in fronting many (now) famous and historic bands such as ZANITY / SWEDISH EROTICA or AXIA and and he is probably best known for being the Lead Singer in LION’S SHARE, for their come-back album “Entrance” in 2001…Now it’s summer of 2014 and the new album entitled “Incremental IV” is ready and it will be published at the end of August, and you can copy and paste my previous analysis for “Magnitude”, the genre played by the combo, is still clearly tagged in the Swedish first-class AOR, with a wink to the heritage sound of the golden era, with huge wall of keys, soaring vocals, harmonized backing voices and the spiced uplifting melodies in every songs, a tenet that was also extended to the short but brilliant guitar solo spots (“All By Myself”)

Vocalist Tony Niva is performing some high pitched impressive performances (“Don’t You Know”/ “Lost And Found”) with a great confidence and a perfect set of pipe working at its peak (“Magnitude”), like a convincing mix between Peter Sundell (exPROMOTION / exGRAND ILLUSION / exDECOY)  & Mikael Erlandsson (exCRASH / exL.A.D. / exSALUTE / LOVER UNDER COVER).
The music is filled with hooks and highly infectious melodies with that typical special flavor: an obvious serenity and an attractive AOR / Melodic Rock character with classic overtones, this particular Scandinavian catchiness mania in the silky chorus method (“Crush”) and a convincing anthemic attitude in the strongest 80's fashion .

This new disc, still contains the same exciting mix of heavenly temperament mixed with a real focus on melodic density before anything else, and with a true obsession for the killer hooks of the greatest quality, an awesome revival/trip back to the age of commercial Hard Rock heydays , very comparable to THE POODLES / LOVER UNDER COVER / BAM BAM BOYS / SHA-BOOM but most of all the majesty of GRAND ILLUSION (“Better Just Forgotten”/”The Reason Why”/”Coming Back To You”), with some omnipresent swirling keys with this special Scandinavian smoothness and even a few ABBA cheesy over-the-top moments (“Only You”/”Travel Back In Time”) .

Only negative points are the shortness of the disc and the perfect linear similarity with his predecessor, indeed the suprise effect formula isn’t working anymore but the huge vocal performance, the enchanting harmonies and the irresistible anthemic refrains exposed in a crystal clear production are still functioning more than ever "

4 Star Rating

1. Don’t You Know
2. Crush
3. Better Just Forgotten
4. Magnitude
5. The Reason Why
6. Travel Back In Time
7. Play The Game
8. Only You
9. Lost And Found
10. All By Myself
11. Coming Back To You
Tony Niva – Vocals
Roger Ljunggren – Guitars
Marcus Persson – Keyboards
Jan Stal – Bass
Bengan Andersson – Drums
Record Label: AOR Heaven


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