Updated: Jun 3
Kyle and Kieran return once more, and so too does Imogen; The band even bring Chris Harms of Lord Of The Lost to the track 'Holding On'. This album covers a lot of different sound influences, at least to my ear and it is by far one of the most impressive dark rock albums I've heard. Nighthawks flows in and out of melodies, energies, and sound styles with a timeless grace that few but Auger could accomplish. Melt into a blissful void with us as we listen to Nighthawks.
Welcome to Nighthawks, the fourth studio album from Auger and yet, in many ways, the first. After three albums, a plethora of collaborations, covers and singles, Auger have cultivated, carved and solidified their sound. This new album, with inspiration from global art, is the embodiment of that, the piece de resistance.
From fluorescent busy cityscapes to distant romance, this album, combined with melodic, driving guitars and deep, natural vocals is Auger's most proud creation yet.
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'City Never Sleeps' opens a cinematic flash back on tragedy, like the opening of an action film where the hero is on his final legs and the film becomes the days leading up to that terrible moment, this has the same energy of foreboding and quiet acceptance amongst the slow burning rock composition.
'Oxygen' has that oh-so-smooth Auger signature sound of Kyle's slow and deep, deep voice that lends itself perfectly to so many different styles of vocals and song. It is another slow but satisfying piece that touches and acknowledges the listeners' melancholy and turns it into something thoroughly enjoyable. Kieran somehow manages to keeps a very strong and heavy guitar just as smooth as the vocals making for a divine little mixture.
One of the best tracks on this album is 'Forever Mine' and takes a turn in a more synth rock direction which then speeds up in tempo into an energetic and powerful cinematic rock anthem.
Where this song really does excel however is at 2:49 where possibly one of the greatest synthwave style guitar riffs takes over and really adds depth and flavour to the overall track. The rest of the song retains that synthwave feel and I love it.
'This Pain I Compress' is an interesting track that seems to start off simple but then towards the end seems to become two tracks played one on top of the other. 'Libra' kicks up the guitar level a notch and the vocals and musical structure very much reminds me of Gary Numan's more recent releases which makes for a real nice touch of flare especially at 3:02.
'Holding On' features Chris Harms of Lord Of The Lost which is an incredible addition. Having seen both Auger and Lord Of The Lost at HRH Goth and being blown away by both, this track certainly brings a big smile to my face and this is possibly the most Metal release Auger have made; Like a mix between Cell Dweller and Breed 77, it makes for a very different, and very delicious offering from these talented artists.
Next up is 'Sound Of The Machine' which returns to that slow dark rock and deep bass vocals Auger is well known for. It builds up in intensity in the later half but focuses on the lyrics and the story within.
'As The World Falls Apart (ft. Imogen Evans)' is indeed the best track on the album and kicks off with a deliciously deviant and dark guitar rift. Kyle's deep and charismatic vocals take over the scene but are quickly matched in perfection by Imogen who has certainly found a real power in her vocal ability. She was great in the last album's 'Tell Me I'm Wrong'. In this track Imogen has crafted an incredible range of sheer ballad power that also weaves easily in to a softer spoken melody similar in style to Jazmin Bean to my ear and mixed in alongside Kyle's depth, makes for a wonderful duet that is so very rarely done well in the world of industrial and electronics.
The guitar rises and falls like waves, the drums carry your attention, the vocal sweep you away, and before you know it the track has stranded you in the depths of your mind's ocean.
'Smother' very much sounds Linkin Park and Nu-Metal inspired with its riffs and drums. Just when you think you have the song sussed, along comes the chorus which is absolutely beautiful and unexpected. It is easily one of the strongest earworms that has grabbed hold of the corners of my mind for quite some time.
'Angel Dressed In Snow' reminds me of the days when everyone would listen to 'HIM' and what's more this is a 'Christmas' track which is a very rare thing in our alternative world! It brings a touch more of the previous synthwave feel and is a great addition to the album overall.
'Sharing Shadows' finishes the album off in return to the slow and nuanced approach of lyrical importance which has a nice romantic touch.
City Never Sleeps
This Pain I Compress
Holding On (ft. Chris Harms of Lord Of The Lost)
Sound Of The Machine
As The World Falls Apart (ft. Imogen Evans)
Angel Dressed In Snow
A very impressive album from Auger with a selection of diamond tracks placed in amongst the other valuable tracks on offer which also bring a sense of nostalgia mixing with the new world of music making this album a crowning jewel to Auger's journey so far.
Make sure you listen to 'As The World Falls Apart' without fail!
Nighthawks is an immaculate and beautifully crafted display of talent and craftmanship across a range of dark rock that very few could ever hope to match in enjoyment and scale.
Soul factor: 8/10
Re-play value: 9/10
Overall score: 8.6/10
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