Coming from a genre which does not bring the greatest excitement to these ears it has to be said the debut album from UK band Neonfly is a rather agreeable piece of melodic metal. It may not manage to offer a serious consideration for album of year choices or possibly is likely to find a constant place on playlists but Outshine The Sun certainly captures the imagination more often than not when given the opportunity. As mentioned the band rides on a core of melodic metal but adds inspired shots of power metal and hard rock, mixtures which do not light up any lanterns for us here but Outshine The Sun persistently entertained and satisfied with a strength and engagement many other bands struggle to achieve.
After forming in 2008 the London based band first drew attention with their first EP Clever Disguise and live shows. Since then the band has gone through line-up changes whilst still exciting audiences and gaining a strong reputation with their live performances. Consisting of vocalist Willy Norton, guitarists Frederick Thunder and Patrick Harrington, bassist Paul Miller, and Boris Le Gal on drums, Neonfly has been building to this album released via Rising Records, and it is hard to imagine anything but positive responses to its well crafted sounds especially from fans of the genre they spring from. For the rest though there is still plenty to keep the ear engaged and interested to make for an enjoyable time together.
The album hits the ground running with opener Broken Wings. The vocals and riffs are as expected strong yet maybe unsurprising whilst the chorus is easily accessible and inviting. It is the underlying groove which really lights the song whilst the guitar solo and interplay as it progresses is absorbing with the bass of Miller a persistent growling presence behind. The bassist proves to be the best thing on the album overall his lines and tones always adding a depth and dark energy to the melodic waves around him.
The infectious rock n roll eagerness of The Enemy holds a catchy grip on the ear and anytime it delves into overplayed melodic escapades the song whether from drummer Le Gal, Miller or some unexpected heavy pitch of metal invention, keeps it all in check. Fine though the song is it did not inspire a personal longevity within something the following Ship With No Sails and its successor A Gift To Remember managed to a much stronger degree. The first is a mix of reserved energy and passion and epic blood pumping grandeur which weaves around the ear with detailed melodic play and enveloping symphonic like keys. The band crafts the two elements of their music well creating a song which earns good attention and respect. The second of the two is a darker toned track with further predatory shadows from bass and rhythms beneath the enflamed melodic invention. The song as with the majority of tracks is inventive veining the somewhat expected sounds and ideas with essences and striking interjections from sterner metal sources.
Tracks like The Revenant with its steely groove metal opening, the power metal Reality Shift, and the mesmeric Morning Star with its opening Middle Eastern flavouring keep things energised and lively ensuring one never truly slips into a presumption of what is to come but it is the mighty Spitting Blood which takes top honours on the release. Many of the tracks on Outshine The Sun come from their debut EP but this song is one of the new ones and sets definite promise for future releases. The song is a feisty brew of thunderous rhythms and riffs amongst an ever twisting flame of melodic imagination. With an intimidating breath and heavily driven energy the song is the most aggressive and rewarding on the album by far its climax a virtual chug fest.
Outshine The Sun is a strong and enjoyable album which will find much more eagerness and appreciation from those favouring their choice of genre. Neonfly did give a good time though whilst offering suggestions of greater things ahead and that is all one wants in any release primarily.