NIVA is like a Nostalgic time capsule that is coming from the past with at its helm, Mr. Tony Niva, a veteran Hard Rock singer, from mighty Sweden that provides a classy collection of songs, in the strongest, 80s fashion efficiency but in the sweet melodic mood, very much like LAST AUTUMN’S DREAM / CRYSTAL BLUE or early GLORY, with some high profile/up in the frontline keyboards and a few tasty riffage packed with intense and hot lead guitar chops (“Feel So Alone”), Niva is performing some high pitched vocals antics with a great confidence and a perfect working vocal organs at its peak, like a valid mix between Tony Harnell (ex-TNT / WESTWORLD) & Mikael Erlandsson (ex-CRASH / LAD / SALUTE / LOVE UNDER COVER). The music is filled with hooks and highly infectious melodies with that typical special flavor: This sing-along chorus mania reveals an oblivious Swedish catchiness, packed with sugar (”Just Another Heartache”).
NIVA’s debut album “No Capitulation” was released back in 1994 by the famous Japanese label Zero Corporation, the drums was played by EUROPE’s Ian Haugland (ex-TRILOGY / ex-BALTIMORE / ex-BRAZEN ABBOTT) and it’s now a very hard to find collector item, this disc was back then, regarded as another little shining light, in this dark and troubled times, but we have to wait seventeen years (!) until , the band has made a comeback with their second album “Gold From The Future" (Avalon / Marquee -micp 11014-) in 2011. It ended at N°51 in the final-top 100 list- by your truly. This album, again was released in Japan only, but surprisingly it was re-released in 2012 under the OXYGEN moniker and was titled “Final Warning”… I was fighting tooth and nail to promote this great album against the AOR ayatollahs, defeatists, old nihilistic farts and cynical non-believers, I already wrote this a thousand times : This was a pure Scandinavian AOR / Melodic Metal jewel for the EUROPE / FATE / STATE OF MIND / BAD HABIT / TNT hungry fans.
Vocalist Tony Niva, who started his musical career in 1987, in fronting many famous (but always underground) bands such as ZANITY / SWEDISH EROTICA / AXIA and who’s probably best known for being the lead singer in LION’S SHARE, for the come-back album “Entrance” in 2001, but when, he was back to his more familiar AOR / melodic Rock style in resurrecting the NIVA name in 2011, with a new regrouped and upgraded gang that is completed with songwriting partners as Roger Ljunggren on guitars and Marcus Persson on keys, this was again a triumph. The genre played by the combo, is clearly tagged in the Swedish first class AOR with a wink to the sound of the 80s, with huge wall of keys, soaring harmonized backing vocals and the spiced uplifting melodies in every songs, a tenet that was also extended in the short guitar solos spots (“Let It Shine”)!
What was happened exactly on the change of patronymics back and forth, clearly belongs to the business side of things, but what is really important now, it’s that the new release, still contains the same exciting mix of heavenly theme mixed with a real focus on quality before anything else, along with a true obsession for the 'go for the chorus right now' thing. Nothing new of course, but a great trip back to the mastery of commercial Hard Rock’s golden age, a revival like we’re used to listen since a couple of decades, a real delight for the demanding experts of Scandinavian Melodic Metal & the enthusiastic connoisseur.
Openers and killers cuts “Never Too Late” and “Perfect Life” are the most faultless and skilled duo of tracks, to begin with , after this ignition and from that point the music is flawless, with a particularly interesting track named “Do It Again” with a less formulaic sequence and a fresh , more risky structure, enlightened by the regularity of the cleverness and the constant brightness of the arrangements, “Never Say Goodbye” that follow, is the penultimate track of this enchanting album, another adrenaline up-tempo tune with yet another huge vocal performance for an irresistible and anthemic AOR refrain, ultra sticky and well performed , finally improved, as much as the rest of “Magnitude” by the clear production superbly undertaken by axeman Roger Ljunggren (ex-TWILIGHT PROJECT / ex-GRAND ILLUSION).
It's another Melodic Metal pearl, a pure marvel of a release, for the MADISON / ALIEN / TREAT / CRYSTAL BLUE / MASQUERADE / NATION / DREAMHUNTER fans, a tribute to those bands who paved the way for H.E.A.T. / ECLIPSE / THE POODLES and co… If any of the band mentioned in this analysis, rings a bell in a positive note, then, do yourself a favor, go. Let's purchase immediately this 9.0 Earth shaking disc.