Nightblaze began in 2021 as the brainchild of Italian composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Dario Grillo (Platens, Violet Sun), with the intent to create a solid, up-to-date sound with deep 80’s melodic rock influences. Rising Italian rock star, Damiano Libianchi (Perfect View), was hired on vocals, and the full line-up was completed by the involvement of Dario’s brother, Alex Grillo (Platens, Violet Sun, Verdemela) on drums, and Federica Raschellà (Steel Tyrant, Evil Eyes) on bass.

Release Date: 22/03/24

You can buy/preorder the CD from here.


Damiano Libianchi: Lead Vocals

Dario Grillo: Guitars, Keyboards & Backing Vocals

Federica Raschellà: Bass

Alex Grillo: Drums

Album Review

 “Sudden Blast” opens with sirens and a real blast from those drums. We then enter into a big sound of harmonised vocals and a catchy chorus—think Kiss in their “Crazy Nights” era. I’m taken back to days of arena rock and driving an open-top car through open US roads. It’s a song that does exactly what it’s meant to do: launch this debut album with a bang. My only caveat is the slightly cliched lyrics “all for one and one for all,” etc, hmm. I did like the rocket taking off at the end!

“Take On Me:”  “Love is a battlefield”—a battlefield with keyboards and catchy AOR melodies. This is pure rock candy. It is held firmly by those drums from Alex Grillo, a name I didn’t know but will watch for. Put those drums up in the mix a bit more, and this would have had more edge. As it is, the track moves at a pace, and, again, provides some great driving music.

“You’re Gone:” I liked the vocal delivery here; the song has a slightly different touch and is a little more reflective lyrically. It retains that urgency in the guitar work and seems almost in too much of a hurry in places. But it’s a more than decent album track, and the guitar break midway was inventive and solid. Listening to this a second time, it has a great chorus too. 

“Diana:” All reviews are subjective and personal, of course.  In my personal view, I liked this one! It does something a little different, and the lyrics do more, showing an aptitude for storytelling that I like. It doesn’t have the  obvious single release quality of “Sudden Blast,” but it is a damn good track that would slot into commercial rock radio really well.

“Tell Me” was the single, released in January 2024. The song slips into those popular AOR grooves. It has those keyboards that give the track a lighter feel, and the production is slick. I can see why they released it as a single, as it showcases what they do, but maybe there are others on the album I like better!

“Hold On To Me” would, I suspect, open side B of the vinyl version. It’s a decent listen, driven once more by that chorus and the melody in the guitar sound. There are plenty of little guitar breaks, and I picked out the bass of Federica Raschellà on this one, along with some drum rolls, and, for me, that was a plus.

“Carry On” carries a solid vocal performance from Damiano Libianchi, and the track shows the energy and commercial appeal that are hallmarks of the album. 

“Fading Away” shows the band can change direction a bit. It slips between rock ballads and AOR. A decent track that I think would go well live.

“Fragments of Time” crosses a bit more into the keyboard side of rock, with plenty of those poppy rock sounds. It, again, is well polished and has that open road feel about it.

“Daughter” opens with a piano and a change of tone. I would have placed it earlier in the album. It is a ballad and shows an emotional charge in the vocals that I connected with. It’s an emotional track, and I liked it, quite a lot, actually!

In summary, I think I need an open road and some sunny weather to truly appreciate this album. In the room that I’m decorating, with a rainy northern day outside, it did not really give the album the best chance! On the other hand, with the top down, my foot on the pedal, and this blasting out, YES! It is AOR melodic rock, very radio friendly and takes those 80’s hair metal sounds of Poison and reawakens them for 2024. I did like it, with the caveat that I feel a change in the mix to lift the drums and bass a bit would have delivered a bit more edge in the sound. I like the slick feel, but sometimes I felt it needed a hard edge. 

So, commercial rock radio, pay attention! 

Standout tracks: “Diana” and “Sudden Blast.”

The release of the eponymous debut album is scheduled for March 22, 2024, via Art of Melody Music and Burning Minds Music Group. Ant Heeks (Fireworks Magazine) wrote the introductory liner notes for the CD booklet, and Aeglos Art (Wheels of Fire, Platens, StreetLore, Raintimes, Room Experience) created the cover art and CD graphics. 

Produced, mixed & mastered by:

Dario Grillo

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By Stevie Ritson

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