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Novareign - Legends

Label: M-Theory Audio
Format: download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 7.5/10


Novareign’s 2018 “Legends” album is exactly the dose of new high-energy Power Metal that you need right now. Helloween and Gamma Ray inform the sound, of course, along with Unisonic, Vanden Plas, Iron Maiden, Seven Kingdoms, Symphony X, and a tiny bit of Manowar, but Dragonforce is probably the most prominent influence.

 

The songs range in intensity from hyper to hyper-mega-enhanced fighting edition - - the lone exception being the 2-and-a-half-minute “To Wander the Stars,” which splits its time between small watercraft sound effects and pretty acoustic guitar, accompanied by synth strings. One song wraps, and before you can exhale, the next one jumps in with just as much excitement. Theirs is more of a European sound, not one you’d typically expect from a band out of Southern California, but Novareign tick all of the Power Metal checkboxes. The U.S. is starting to catch up in this sub-genre.
David Marquez is great in his role as lead vocalist. He doesn’t have the most unique voice, but he sings with 110% of the earnestness and animation that the music demands. On drums, Paul Contreras more than holds his own in a genre that demands incredible skill behind the kit. With all due respect to them, however, it’s the guitars of Danny Nobel and Balmar Lemus that really electrify the material. Their solos are creative and heat-seeking - - whether they’re harmonizing, hitting phat bends, or just batting the finger-tapping - - and are usually the best parts of the songs. I don’t omit bassist Moises Galvez out of disrespect, but unfortunately, his parts are mostly buried in the mix.
Overall, this material has a youthful, geeky, nerdy, exuberant energy and feel, like Metal for Anime fans (and the space battle lyrics to boot). Because of the relentless vigor of the tunes, leading one into another, it’s hard to pick out highlights. I think you’ll either like Novareign’s “Legends” as a whole, or you’ll not like it at all. That said, the first track, “Call on the Storm” reeled me in right away on my first listen. “Heavy Heart” is wonderfully Helloweenian with fantastic solos, and “Skyline” opens with ferocity to please any Metal fan.

 
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