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Crossover Prog • United States

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Nightales biography
US act NIGHTALES was formed sometime around 1995, consisting of Mark Walczak (keyboards, bass), Ken Lotz (drums, keyboards) and Ben Jaeger (guitars, keyboards). As the former two had been members of trio Paragone it is generally believed that Nightales was more or less a direct contiunation of that band.

As with Paragone, Nightales remains a mostly unknown entity, the latter sharing the fate with the former of having one full album issued by a foreign label and then disappearing out of sight. For Nightales the label was Italian based Mellow Records, the album was called The Voyage and was released in 1997.

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3.06 | 11 ratings
The Voyage

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Voyage by NIGHTALES album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.06 | 11 ratings

The Voyage
Nightales Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

2 stars The best thing I can say about this album by Nightales is that the bass playing is nice. Otherwise, nothing on it sticks with me, even after repeated listenings. The music itself, all too often ventures way too close to new age, with placid themes and unobtrusive playing.

The band is made up of three core members, who all play keyboards. Mark Walczak also provides the aforementioned fretless bass lines. Ken Lotz also plays drums, and Ben Jaegerdoubles on guitar. For a band with three keyboard players, the synths are far too unassuming, like the washes Tony Banks provided for Genesis mostly in their waning years.

Guitar solos are also too simplistic for my tastes. It appears to me that this band would go over well with the Windham Hill crowd more than true rock fans.

 The Voyage by NIGHTALES album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.06 | 11 ratings

The Voyage
Nightales Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Surprise, surprise! After nearly 15 years, this one-shot all-instrumental sparkler finally sees the entrance gate to Prog recognition beckoning and, to my bewilderment, without any prosaic comment or rating in any form. This is what is known as a golden opportunity that will not pass this serenely patient reviewer by. Thank you, windhawk! In fact, back in the early Prog renaissance circa 1995 when new acts where sprouting globally in abject silence, Italian prog pioneer label Mellow Records encouraged Nightales to record this chiseled instrumental rock and promptly vanished from the scene, unrecognized and unappreciated. This was one of my earliest acquisitions from this period, upon a recommendation from a Prog store I accidently found in Montreal, yes back in 1995. The immediate impression was one of wondrous respect for Camel, a recognizable addiction by American musicians to the sweeping, romantic style proposed by Latimer and Co. Talented guitarist Ben Jaeger, bassist Mark Walczak and drummer Ken Lotz all supply keyboards, giving this work a symphonic edge that packs quite a wallop, including an original wind quartet (2 clarinets, flute and oboe). The hour-long + "The Voyage" finds itself to be an ideal title, as the music begins with a solemn "Departure" and ends with "The Voyage Home".

The material starts off like all voyages with gentle exaltation at the adventure ahead, massive keys soaring tidily along, floating towards the endless horizon. "On The High Seas" proposes a 10 minute guitar -propelled navigation ruddered by some stellar bass that would fit perfectly on any "The Snow Goose" era Camel album. Captain Jaeger shows off his lyrical chops to great effect, his glittering axe strings buffeted by the salty gales, all anchors receding into the hull. The serene mid-section displays a sophistication that is remarkable in its restraint and evocation, crystalline notes played with quixotic splendor until the very end. The brief but dreamy "Morning Light" serves only to introduce the massive "Eventide", a hallmark track that recalls the British dromedary with its looping bass pattern setting the stage for some crisp yet unhurried lines that glimmer and shimmer ferociously bright. The keyboard section uses both organ and synthesizers to Bardensian effect, elevating the guitar currents way above the splashing whitecaps, cruising resolutely ahead. "Wandering Moon" reverts to more ambient climes, again prepping the plank for another musical walk into the ocean with "Endless Days", a wistful lament held together by some inventive drumming and a sultry synth solo. "Distant Encounter" is where the crew really crests above the waves, an acoustic guitar-driven intro leads to a titanic mellotron and bass clarinet surge to absolutely die for that harkens back to Epitaph-era King Crimson. The woodwinds exalt in the rumble in sea-shaking euphoria. One hell of a piece (available as a MP3 sample on PA, so have a listen,!) that truly makes this a genuine winner. The cinematic "Conflict" includes 2 sections, "The Battle" and "March of the Dead", giving this track an epic glow that retains the ever growing slow burn intensity that is ultimately so appealing. There are very little sudden stops and turns here which may turn off some progfans but they would be missing out the reality of the concept here. Theses sailors are in no apparent hurry to let it rip, preferring the hypnotic rippling of the waters on which they chose to travel (the burping bass steering ahead passionately). "Remembrance" again suggests contemplation and reverence, in a reflective expanse of nautical ambiance (the use of tubular bells are quite exquisite and utterly perfect) that solicits the final trip, "The Voyage Home". The galloping homewards treatment is loaded with undisguised joy, cheery exhaustion after the long seafaring, surging symphonic keyboards leading the path towards the final berth, truly amazing and adventurous, to say the least. This one shot recording is a gentle foray into the calm expanses of ambient symphonics , a long lost gem that has been finally raised from the bottom of the progressive ocean.

Easily 4 retrieved sunken treasures

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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