To call Norway’s FLIGHT “retro” or “vintage” is to miss the point. Since their formation in 2012, the band have walked the fine line between effortless and studious – a throwback to ’70s proto-metal, sure, but done with such vigor and authenticity that even the most skeptical listener would be helpless to resist being whisked away some four decades into the past. Simply, their music exists in that same vacuum when ROCK conquered all. FLIGHT bring the past into the present and write understated-yet-invigorating rockers that draw from a very rich (and idiosyncratic) history. To date, the band’s two full-length records mark specific periods of their patient oeuvre: 2015’s rough ‘n’ ready self-titled debut and 2018’s sci-fi-themed A Leap Through Matter.
Now, FLIGHT continue that patient ascent with LP #3, Echoes of Journeys Past. Presciently titled, Echoes of Journeys Past indeed steps deeper into that mythical, muddied past where genre delineations had yet to be created – and, more so, when “rocking out” was fully based on feel. Retaining that tasteful kinda-clean guitar tone that paradoxically allows their intrinsic grit to hit that much harder, FLIGHT seek a moodier batch of songs that dart in dazzling directions. Each one’s based on a brisk, but-never-rushed pace, and each winds back and forth between hook and lead, rocking and reeling.
There’s an elusive X-factor that makes the album such an enchanting spin, a touch of melancholy, or more so mystery. But most of all, it’s FLIGHT’s synthesis of songwriting and performance that pushes Echoes of Journeys Past into the halls of greatness. Every hit of the drum or strum of the guitar evokes a sensation of warmth, and the vocals adds a layer of pathos to the soundscape. All of this works in service of telling the STORY of the song. Indeed, the album plays out like a story, recalling so much of the 1970s without singly settling on one specific era or sound, before reaching a climax with the ten-minute closer “Mystic Mountain,” which sounds exactly as it’s titled.
The retro-rock game is more crowded than ever, but with roots equally in proto-metal, FLIGHT continue to explore relatively rarefied ground with increasingly powerful results. Strange as it may seem that that power has exploded tenfold by scaling back, Echoes of a Journey Past could yet be the band’s breakthrough record. Those who cherish Gorham/Robertson-era Thin Lizzy, Rainbow’s Down to Earth into Difficult to Cure, or even Blue Öyster Cult at their late ’70s / early ’80s peak, you’ve found your new modern classic.“