Nighvision are a four piece rock band from Lincolnshire. They can be traced back to 2003, when drummer Daryl Hocking and guitarist Bolda started creating music, they were soon to be joined by Daryls brother Dean on bass guitar. The final piece of the jigsaw came with the introduction of vocalist Dave McKee. The years' of hard graft and commitment have resulted in As The Lights Go Down their debut album.
The opening track of the album "After Dark" sees guitarist Bolda laying into a hook as sharp as the late Randy Rhodes in his Ozzy heyday, this is Nightvision levelling your ears and misconceptions of how a debut album should sound. As well as those sharp, thrashing guitars - Daryl Hockings solid drumming nails the whole thing down tightly. Dave McKee carries the vocals with a mix of rawness and emotion. If you can imagine Muse's Matt Bellamy jamming Judas Priest riffs on his guitar - you will get a sense of the mix of classic and modern guitar assault that is happening here.
The momentum continues with ‘’Sick And Tired’’ a real vent of anger against the restraints of life and its injustices - ’’tired of all your regulations and dos and dont's… I’ve worked my fingers to the bone, I give you everything I own..." this is the tale of the working man, and is pure vitriol, punctuated by some bombastic double bass drum action from Daryl Hocking and some neat time changes.
The pace changes with ‘’Something Better’’ a bass-line reminiscent of Nirvanas ‘Lithium’ and some vulnerable stripped down vocals from McKee offer up a real sense of paranoia and claustrophobia - its dark and brooding - it’s a sign of a band really trying to offer up variety - and prove they can cover a number of musical bases.
The following ‘’Mine All Mine’’ makes a return to the crunching riffing of Bolda and here McKee mixes high pitched screams and all out anger with impressive ease - like an early day Chris Cornell, indeed the sound is akin to Soundgarden or Black Label Society such is its rawness and flesh shredding assault.
Megadeth's Marty Friedman springs to mind with ‘’Love Aint Cheap’’ the main riff sounding not dissimilar to "Symphony Of Destruction’’ but in saying that its by no means hero worshipping on the band's part - it has a unique feel to it, dipping its toe in the past but producing something that is original and fresh. Once again Bolda's guitar solo is classy yet never self indulgent, just the right mix of speed and effects.
One of the album's highlights is ‘’Sentenced To The Gallows’’, a beautifully simple guitar intro by Bolda and some impressive low down funk led bass histrionics by Dean Hocking give the listener a hint of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers but, and here’s the but - it isn’t a ‘funk’ song, Nightvision have cleverly mixed the elements together without a feeling of over-powering the song or showboating. Everything is restrained and held back - whilst it could easily run into a high tempo assault, it doesn’t. It’s a subtle touch and shows a clever musical understanding.
‘’Nightmare’’ hits you round the head with its thrashing guitar sound, very much in Zakk Wylde's territory with its crunching battery of riffs and pinched harmonics. It's punctuated with some welcome guitar breaks that highlight Bolda's ability as a player. Once again the vocals of McKee are raw yet powerful and sound nothing less than fully committed to the cause.
As I have mentioned, Nightvision can mix it up when required and the melancholy that is ‘’Enough Of You’’ demonstrates the bands respect for the alternative side of rock music - tipping the hat to bands like Alice In Chains and Alter Bridge, such is its claustrophobic and introspective feel. ’’I’m seeking the answers to the questions but the questions don’t exist’’ indeed this is a track I can envisage a certain Dave Grohl singing. Its full of passion and feeling, but without ever getting too dark. Bolda's beautifully clear guitar solo adding light to the subject matter's shade.
The heavier side of Nightvision returns with the following tracks ‘’Demons’’ and ‘’King For A Day’’ the former sees some highly impressive drumming from Daryl Hocking and abrasive guitars from Bolda. McKee's vocals are not dissimilar to Pantera's Phil Anselmo - indeed this could be their version of ‘Walk’. Its once again the sign of a band acknowledging its musical influences.
‘’King For A Day’’ with its razor barbed guitars and rock n’ roll lyrics is the sound of the band happy in their own skin, ‘’I’ve got an angel in my head, I’ve got a demon on my brain, one way ticket to a new creation, highway to hell is my only salvation’’ lyrics like this can easily seem clichéd and contrived - yet here they are delivered in a road worn fashion rather than just there as rhyming couplets. McKee delivering the high pitched vocals in a way Rob Halford would be proud of.
Dean Hocking's funk-led bass runs are evident again in the Black Stone Cherry sounding "Carnival", here he demonstrates a Billy Sheehan type master-class in all things low down. Bolda himself is allowed to show his blues tinged guitar side and for a moment we have moved from Lincolnshire to the swamps of the bayou.
The rumbling drums of Daryl Hocking introduce us to the albums final track ‘’Promiscuity’’, this is a what Nightvision do best - mixing elements of thrash, metal, hard rock and alternative music. Like the tracks that preceded it - demonstrates the bands ability to cover all areas of rock music.
As a debut album, this is a very impressive body of work. Nightvision have managed to construct an album that acknowledges its influences, Megadeth, Metallica, Black Label Society, Black Stone Cherry and more alternative bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden - yet still admirably retaining its own identity.
The band seem to know where their strengths lie - yet aren’t afraid to step outside their comfort zones in order to test themselves - or indeed their audience's preconceptions about them. I understand even their own management don’t know how to promote them - such is their diversity. This I feel is a problem that won't hold them back, but merely see them play to wider audiences, and on this evidence they will be suitably impressed. Nightvision are hot on the heels of the leading pack, so catch them while you can still afford the tickets
Tracklisting: After Dark / Sick & Tired / Something Better / Mine All Mine / Love Aint Cheap / Sentenced To The Gallows / Nightmare / Enough Of You / Demons / King For A Day / Carnival / Promiscuity.
You can check out what the band are up to by visiting their website http://www.myspace.com/nightvision1000