The Greek, legendary, Heavy Rockers NIGHTSTALKER have released their sixth full length album, called “As Above, So Below”, after their most successful (until now) “Dead Rock Commandos” (2012). The band is a known act amongst the Stoner Rock fans around the globe and this record was highly anticipated. The height of their popularity is at peak right now and the question one might ask is: Will they continue to rise at fame (“As Above”) or will they gradually fade (“So Below”)?
Time is essential, not only for answering this question but also to get into this band’s music. I‘ve been following NIGHTSTALKER’s steps since “Use” (1996) and I’ve learned that it takes about a year, each time, before their fans start to get into the songs of every new album! Below, I will review the nine songs that are featured in this record track by track in order of appearance and hopefully I will help you, dear reader, to get into the (best) songs sooner.
The first song starts with the sound of Argy’s (vocals) lighter, as he tries to light it up and set a spray on fire. “Naked Fire” that is. A simple and hard rocking track, which serves as a quick opener and tells us that the group continues where they left off, they simply do rock ‘n’ roll, in the same vein they do for almost three decades (the fact is that you won’t find any new musical genre additions in their music in the next songs either). In the second song, named “Space Matter”, the echo in the vocals, the effects that is used on both bass and guitar and the repetitive riff, sounds like a tribute to the great Space Rockers HAWKWIND. If you are a fan of the previous band you probably will enjoy it the most.
“Not the best effort but an album that is capable of keeping their status as the leaders of the Greek Stoner/Heavy Rock scene.”
The next four songs are the best songs in here. “Zombie Hour”, the most probable to become a hit and have a video clip, could easily be an outtake of “Just A Burn” (2004) record. A tasty main guitar riff, a great rocking rhythm on drums by Ntinos, some howling vocals (hence the thriller inspired lyrics) and there you have it, this is the NIGHTSTALKER music that we come to love. Next is a slower song, a song about “The Dog That No-one Wanted”. Andreas, the bass player, lays down one of his exquisite bass lines and the song builds above that. The sing-along back vocals here (the kind that KASABIAN would like to have thought first) are the ones that will be a pleasure for the crowd to sing in the upcoming concerts. “Deeper”, with its characteristic bass solo, is the track I enjoyed most on this album. A groovy, danceable, rock song that should make it through the playlists of Greek DJs and radio stations, if those played new, good rock music… On the other hand “Forever Stoned” could be a new, feel-good, hymn for the stoners. After all, NIGHTSTALKER have never hidden their appreciation for the inspiration coming from the mild drug use and it is a common theme on their lyrics.
In contrast, “We Belong To The Dead”, is a dark song both on lyrics and music. I’d come far along to say that this is the opposite (in mood) of their biggest hit “Children Of The Sun”. Coming next, “My Electric Head” is a long (more than six minutes), doom rock song (cough*filler*cough) that lacks an interesting guitar riff. It’s the song that I will most probably skip on the next times I will listen to this album. The last song “Blue Turns To Black” is another mid-tempo, dark and heavy, song that leaves room for Tolis (guitar) to solo more and he’s very good at it. These last three gloomy songs in the second side of the album are leaving the listener with mixed emotions and maybe they will disappoint some of the casual listeners.
In conclusion, what we have here is not NIGHTSTALKER’s best effort but it is an album that is capable of keeping their status as the leaders of the Greek Stoner/Heavy Rock scene. I don’t believe that it is the album that will take them above but it is good enough since they are not going below.