Italian newcomers Nitehawks popped up on the heavy metal radar screen for the first time in the latter part of 2015. A brand-new band, Nitehawks formed earlier in that same year. Things have obviously happened quickly for the quartet. In the span of a few months, they wrote and recorded their debut album, ‘Vendetta’; signed a deal with the well-respected Skol Records; released ‘Vendetta,’ with an accompanying music video; and did an approximately 20-date European tour. The new year promises to be a whirlwind for Nitehawks as well, with more touring and even a spring European run with amazing labelmates Savage Master rapidly approaching.
Nitehawks have been tagged as a band in the vein of Accept, Enforcer, Judas Priest, Running Wild and so on. Those influences are certainly apparent on ‘Vendetta,’ particularly on faster cuts like the electrifying opener “Into the Wild” (my favorite song on the album), parts of “Blackout in Paradise” or the excellent title track. But there’s also a pervasive bluesy hard rock influence here, especially in the mid-tempo tracks like “Rocketman” or “Dynamite.” A big part of that is the distinctly rock’n’roll voice of Frank Macri, who operates in the gritty, nasal, high-pitched realms reminiscent of the likes of Marc Storace, the guy from Godiva, or maybe even a touch of Vic Hix (Shok Paris). It also shows up in the sometimes Dio/Whitesnake/Pretty Maids-ish riffs of Mike Petrone and the straightforward arrangements that tend to lean heavily on commercial-flecked choruses (see “Never Let You Go”). The band’s willingness to move around a bit within the heavy metal / hard rock landscape will serve them well by allowing for some versatility in the material and giving them more latitude to develop their own sound and style.
Overall, this Nitehawks debut is a worthwhile acquisition for devotees of traditional heavy metal. Most of the songs are enjoyable, the production is quite good, the album does not overstay its welcome (9 songs, 37 minutes), and there’s a freshness to the material that makes it easy to digest. No doubt, Nitehawks are still a work in progress, but this ‘Vendetta’ album is an entertaining spin for sure. My suspicion is that the band will gel with the substantial live experience they are now acquiring, which will only make Nitehawks stronger, more refined and more cohesive when it comes time for album #2, thereby helping them to stand out in a crowded marketplace. For now, I’m going to go blast “Into the Wild” again and strongly encourage you to do the same.
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~