This is the second album from Nergard, a solo project from Norway that features a multitude of guest singers and musicians from bands such as Aeon Zen, Amaranthe, Pagan’s Mind, Primal Fear, Withem and others.
The songs are Melodic/Power Metal with a side of quality Rock.
The combined experience and talent of the various singers means that there’s no issue in the vocal department. The myriad styles of the different vocalists all add something to each track and no guest is wasted or under-used. It’s not a complete testosterone-fest either, as we are also treated to a few female singers whose presence raises the bar.
The multiple singers give the album a diverse feel while the music and production gives it a cohesiveness that is necessary to avoid it sounding like a compilation. The singer of Aeon Zen appears on many of the tracks, either doing main or backing vocals, so he remains a familiar thread throughout, too, helping to keep things stitched together.
The songs are well-written and are chock full of hooks, catchy melodies and harmonies. Each song has its own character and personality, and this is further enhanced by the vocal variety.
The brain behind the outfit plays drums, bass and keyboards, with everything else being handled by one of the many guests. The musicianship is first-rate and there are enough solos included for the guest musicians to get their teeth into.
At 45 minutes in length it doesn’t outstay its welcome and overall A Bit Closer to Heaven is a really enjoyable listen. The songs grow on you even more upon repeated listens and I know I’ll be spinning this again and again in the future.