Review: Flight – A Leap Through Matter

Flight’s sophomore outing sees the Norwegians doubling down on their 70s rock and roll fantasy.

Like their fellow Scandinavians in Audrey Horne, this retro Norwegian quartet joyfully worship at the Altar of 70s Hard Rock. Tapping into the swaggering might of early Judas Priest, Scorpions and Thin Lizzy, Flight waste zero time trying to obscure their influences. Quite the opposite, their sophomore effort is a dewy-eyed nostalgia trip back to the days of bell bottom jeans, FM radio and pull-top beer cans. While their self-titled 2015 debut showcased a grimy punch-up of thick riffs and sturdy hard rock tempos, the material lacked any unique fingerprints. Like so many denim-swaddled rockers crowding into the retro space, the elements were all there but in Flight’s zeal to sound authentic, they created something both undeniably fun and badly generic. With A Leap Through Matter, the shaggy Norsemen have sanded away the jagged edges of their debut, leaving a highly-polished collection of radio-friendly AOR. Top-notch fretwork abounds, particularly on bangers like Ride On and Leave The Coast, with hammering rhythms and smooth, confident riffing. Where heavier bands tend to build momentum through speed and technical wankery, Flight have set the controls to cruise mode on A Leap Though Matter, allowing ample space for the melodies to gather and shine. What dilutes the potency of the tracks — pick any one — are the vocals. Guitarist/singer Christoffer Bråthen delivers the lyrics with a cool detachment, devoid of the passion or snarl that can really ignite this style of music. He seems to focus so intently on enunciating each and every lyric that the vocals take on a dry, distracting quality. To be fair, it’s an approach that you’ll hear both in newer retro releases as well as many of the originals, but stacked up next to their influences, the difference is stark. Nonetheless, A Leap Through Matter delivers plenty of lighter-raising solos, along with miles and miles of fist-pumping, highway-speed riffage. Worth some stereo time on your next roadtrip.

Rating: 6
For fans of: Judas Priest, The Night Flight Orchestra, Scorpions
Label: High Roller Records