“These renditions will get pulses racing faster than the studio versions, even if not every note is perfectly in place”: Nightingale’s Nightfall Overture, remastered and extended

Updated version of Swedish prog metallers’ 2005 re-recordings comes with live extras that add significant value

Nightingale - Nightfall Overture 2024
(Image: © InsideOut)

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When Dan Swanö began making records under the Nightingale monicker in the mid-1990s, it looked a lot like another side-project; one of the many pies he had his fingers in, from producing Opeth’s first two albums to fronting prog metal pioneers Edge Of Sanity and drumming in Mikael Åkerfeldt’s death metal supergroup Bloodbath.

But Nightingale slowly grew into a more lasting proposition. Debut concept set The Breathing Shadow (1995) was a studio creation which multi-instrumentalist Swanö put it together solo in a week. Then brother Dag came on board for follow-up The Closing Chronicles the following year. 

Since touring third album I (2000) – intended as a narrative prequel to the first two LPs – they’ve been a quartet; and in 2005 they took advantage of that reinforced line-up to re-record songs from their first four albums, released as The Nightfall Overture. That 10-song set is now available for the first time on vinyl, and remastered on two CDs with an extra disc featuring 16 live tracks.

The Dreamreader (Re-Recording 2005, Remaster 2024) - YouTube The Dreamreader (Re-Recording 2005, Remaster 2024) - YouTube
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If the 2005 retakes lent early songs such as The Dreamreader a more widescreen sound that suited Swanö’s maturing, more resonant vocals, then the new remaster succeeds in building a few more rows into the amphitheatre around them.

It also further boosts the propulsive riffing of the defiant Revival – the 2005 version already benefitting from a faster tempo and a higher key, as Swanö’s vocals once again take more powerful charge of the song.

Revival (Re-Recording 2005, Remaster 2024) - YouTube Revival (Re-Recording 2005, Remaster 2024) - YouTube
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Also well worth a listen, though, are the live recordings here. While sound quality on some shows from the mid-2000s has a bootleg feel, with bar chatter clearly audible, the live atmosphere still adds a thrilling frisson to higher-octane rockers such as Steal The Moon, and many of these renditions will get pulses racing faster than the studio versions, even if not every note is perfectly in place.

The re-recordings are worth a punt, for sure, but sometimes there’s nothing to beat a band firing on all cylinders onstage.

Nightfall Overture is on sale now via InsideOut.ifr

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock