Definitely an album worth investigating - just don't expect "pink and fluffy".
'Atmospherical' is Niva's sixth studio album and since 1994 they have manufactured music that has been well received in the AOR/Melodic Rock community. Despite each successive album becoming increasingly more cultured, however, they have never quite hit the heights I'm sure they've been constantly craving for. Maybe this is the album that could possibly recruit more admirers and promote them to the Premiership of this genre. Having said that, some musical alterations have been made, thus making 'Atmospherical' something of a risk. Founding member and vocalist Tony Niva remarks in the album's bio, "I wanted to broaden my horizons. Different production, a heavier sound". So for those of you expecting a comfortable mix of AOR/Melodic Rock tunes with instantly catchy choruses, just be prepared.
Tony Niva is joined here by his old compatriot and renowned producer Lars Chriss (guitars, drums). Both musicians worked closely together in Lion's Share, a Swedish Melodic Metal band with over two decades under their belt. Interestingly, Chriss has produced acts that include Overland, Chris Ousey, Radioactive and Seven, so it stands to reason that melody would not be forsaken altogether. Completing the band is Andy Loos (bass) and Kay Backlund (keys) with additional support from Fredrik Bergh (keys). Interestingly, Nigel Bailey (Bailey, Three Lions, Lifeline) assists with backing vocals.
Unlike previous Niva albums, I initially struggled with 'Atmospherical'. It is undoubtedly heavier and the melodies and choruses are certainly not as immediate. But I suggest if you give it time (as you should always do) you might just be rewarded.
Opening track 'Dressed To Kill' perfectly portrays the new parameters the band are working within. It's an up-tempo, highly-charged Melodic Rock song that verges on Melodic Metal – the keyboards aren't as prominent but they are, at times, Symphonic in nature and temper the intensity somewhat. Tony Niva's vocal range has always been impressive but throughout 'Atmospherical' he soars to altitudes that are, well, stratospheric, even on occasion a little too discerning for my delicate ears. 'Spirit Of The Night', 'Evil Rose', 'Raise Your Voice', Play Our Songs' and 'Wall Of Bricks' all continue this trend.
Thankfully (for me at least), interspersed throughout this "new" sound are some traditional Niva songs. 'Deja Vu', 'Forbidden Lover' and 'The Mountain' are beautifully crafted and epitomise all that we yearn for from a great Melodic Rock tune.
Definitely an album worth investigating – just don't expect "pink and fluffy".