Reviewed: March, 2018
Released: 2018, M-Theory
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Come for the solos, stay for…more solos.
NovaReign are here with their debut album, Legends. Right from the opening of “Call on the Storm”, they make it perfectly clear what they’re here to do: play loud, proud and unabashedly cheesy power metal. Despite hailing from Los Angeles, the band’s style is more similar to European groups like Lost Horizon, Edguy or HammerFall, or maybe the fast and furious approach of South American groups like Angra and Hibria. The emphasis here is on being very deliberately glorious, and I even got some video game flashbacks listening to this (no bad thing), calling some DragonForce comparisons to mind.
The other big identifying feature of their style is solos. Lots and lots and lots of solos. All the way from start to finish, NovaReign skip, dance and trip the light fantastic up and down the fretboard, spraying hot guitar licks all over your face. Most every song pelts along with guitars duelling back and forth, and flashy, virtuoso lead work dominating as a driving force. It’s a lot of fun if you just let yourself go and ride along with it all, and some of the work here sounds really impressive for a young band.
That said, the epic cheese and constant stream of guitar noodling can wear on the listener as it goes on. It’s good stuff, but some of the songs could do with a trim. Setting aside the interlude “To Wander the Stars”, half the songs here crack the 8.5 minute mark, and the rest are all over 5. The other negative aspect is the vocal work. The vocals aren’t terrible, but when measured up against the over-the-top glory of the guitar work, they’re found wanting, with kind of a nasal quality that doesn’t do it for me. The most enjoyable parts of the album are definitely the parts where the instruments can just do their thing, and honestly, the album as a whole might even be better off as an instrumental piece.
If you’re a power metal fan and like the sound of a real shred-fest of an album, this album can be fun for a spin or two, but the band needs to hone their songcraft up to a level matching the lead work to really shine.
1. Call on the Storm
2. Mace of a Fist
3. Beyond the Cold
4. Heavy Heart
6. To Wander the Stars
7. The Builder
8. Black as the Dead of Night
Paul Contreras – Drums
Balmore – Guitars, backing vocals
Danny Nobel – Guitars, backing vocals
David Marquez – Vocals
Moizilla Galvez – Bass