Review: Night Hawk – Midnight Hunter
MR Records (July 2021)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Night Hawk is a side project founded by Robert Majd, who many may know as the bassist for the band Captain Black Beard. Here he handles most of the guitar duties and rotates a total of eight singers to perform eleven songs. Some singers I am familiar with (Björn Strid, Linnéa Vikström), others were new to me, but all do a great job on the album.
While there are certainly some strong songs to talk about, there’s a problem with the songs that first needs to be discussed, it’s a problem I noticed by Track 7 and realized it had not even been fifteen minutes since I started listening. Six out of the eleven tracks do not make it past the three minute mark. One song actually clocks in at 1:39. The longest song clocks in at a whopping four minutes. The result of this is that the songs are not allowed to breathe. Everything sounds rushed, like the band was out to write a bunch of theme songs for various shows. The issue lies in either abbreviated verses (first single ’Just Let Go’ has two lines and then goes straight into the chorus), the exclusion of a bridge, or both.
Many of the songs are high octane four on the floor belters and these songs cram in a lot of intensity in a small amount of time, but because of their short time frame, they have the feel (but not the sound) of a punk rock song, which I am not sure was the intention of Mr. Majd. Just when you start to get into the groove of the song, it suddenly and rather unexpectedly ends.
With that out of the way, the opening two tracks are solid and get the album off to a good start. ‘Miracle’ and the aforementioned ‘Just Let Go’ are very reminiscent of Richie Blackmore’s Deep Purple and Rainbow, with that Hammond organ sound at the forefront of the songs alongside the guitar. Producer Jona Tee handles keyboards on several tracks, and as a huge H.e.a.t fan, his contributions are always welcome and are some of my favorite aspects of the album. He even sings lead on song ‘On My Own’ and sings so well it’s surprising he isn’t doing more of this outside of H.e.a.t.
By far, the best track on the album is ‘Firefall’, which is also the longest song on the album. With singer Robin Eriksson carrying notes in the fashion of the best Rainbow singers, he and Robert Majd does the sound of that classic band proud with this track.
There are certainly some good songs to check out on this release, but I can’t recommend purchasing the album. Songs that are 2:11 and 2:14 in length are just too short to be fully enjoyed. It’s a shame because the songs are strong and had the potential to be great. Some of the best tracks are the short ones, with the longer ones being less favorable. I would love to hear more from Mr. Majd, but he needs to work on song structure to really bring out the best of the material he develops.