Neonfly - Strangers in Paradise

Neonfly Strangers in Paradise cover
Strangers in Paradise
Inner Wound Recordings
Neonfly are a band from the UK that performs modern metal that is generous in dashes of melody. By modern, don’t expect this to be nu-or core-y, it’s just not 80s sounding. It’s modern sounding hard rock with a metal edge that can also completely lose, the traditional shape and form of typical 4/4’s to experiment with drop tunings (on a single occasion) and employ other ideas to keep thing interesting. Usually, things keep into the more melodic side of things – without the feeling at the same time that they betray some “metal fraternity”. Which is kinda cool. Hahaha.
The band had another album a few years ago on Rising Records that was home to quite a few decent acts actually... but seemingly made a jump to the slightly “bigger” Inner Wound Records. At any rate, I can’t profess to remember that one album, although I vaguely remember seeing the cover and maybe listening to a track back in the day. The current sophomore album consists of some ten songs, that keep the listener’s interest piqued throughout… for the most part.
The energetic opener “Whispered Dreams” is catchy, in a poppy way and in no way shape or form can prepare you for the way heavier “Highways to Nowhere”, which is pure power metal, sinister and dark... with some exotic flavors mixing quite tastefully in there.
“Better Angels” opens with a hard driving riff that is maintained, but is softens proceedings down considerably. But it’s got quite a glorious melody so it’s “forgiven”. It’s quirky in-song dynamics make it interesting and a-typical, which is good!
In contrast “Rose in Bloom” is a typical big balled with a big chorus and all, not bad at all, but a little predictable once you’ve heard the verse and chorus.
“Heart of the Sun” had me a little baffled really, as it really shows another side to the band, with more prog elements coming into play... a lot more keys, not bad, by any reckon but, just a little too different all of the sudden – it’s not a huge shock or departure though.
“Aztec Gold” that follows it is this also similar in fashion instrumental that feels like a bit of a continuation of it.
“Fierce Battalions” all of the sudden turns around and shifts the gear into power metal once more all fast and furious initially, only to become proggy and lose momentum – in favor of some atmospheric break midway – complete with sound effects “of a battle” before it comes full circle and picks up the pace again. It’s not bad, but that “middle section” just kills it’s momentum somewhat at least its ending is quite nice!
“Sons of Liberty” is a typical power metal song with hard rock sensibilities that I however found to be a bit less inspired than the rest, I suppose, it has a charming enough chorus and it’s moments, but principally I did like some other songs better.
“Chasing the Night” is really confusing me with its mood swings… it doesn’t know if it wants to be a ballad or a power metal fast-paced song and it ends up being a combination of both, as weird as that sounds! Weird!
“Falling Star”, last but not least, has these issues resolved towards being a ballad, and a nice one at that.
Overall, a nice enough second effort by these Brits, who just sell themselves short by comparing themselves with joke bands like Dragonforce and Power Quest... when they are a hundred times better when it comes to crafting songs. Their singer Willy Norton is certainly a great asset as he’s got a nice range and a quite decent voice, hence making Neonfly quite a serious contender in the modern rock/metal arena. Certainly worth your attention.