Noveria – Risen
Noveria – Risen (2014)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
Noveria is a new Italian five-piece that plays a form of modern progressive metal (occasionally bordering on power) that should sound familiar and, as it did to me, pretty exciting for fans of the style. Symphony X might be the go-to name for comparisons in the world of progressive power metal, and while I can hear that here (especially Paradise Lost/Iconoclast), I would compare Noveria’s sound and feel more closely to a very novel blend of two other Italian greats: DGM and Eldritch.
Those two names might not sound like they go together too readily, but from first glance at the cover of Risen, I think it’s pretty clear we’ve got something fairly dark going on. The speed, complexity, and vocal melodic focus of this album strikes me as similar to the last couple of DGM works, but with a minor intonation and dissonance that reminds me of Eldritch, as well as a more grim lyrical cast that calls to mind the called-out Symphony X albums and perhaps Simone Mularoni’s (of DGM) side project, Empyrios. Small wonder, since bassist Andrea Arcangeli and keyboard player Emanuele Casali also share duties in DGM, and Mularoni himself did the mixing and mastering here.
Enough of comparing Noveria to other things though: this album is a roaster. Everything from the blazing guitar to the excellent drumwork on over to clutch key lines and some tremendous vocal detail from Frank Corigliano screams proficiency, and the melodies from songs like opener “Risen”, the desperate “Ashes”, and desolate closer “Waste” are immediately identifiable and infinitely replayable. While the driving rhythm lines are often reminiscent of beefed-up power metal, there is a definite pre-occupation with churning complexity and syncopated riffing from the guitar department. Of course, this only serves to make Risen all that much more delicious.
Coming back to the album’s cover, I admit that I completely expected this to be a proggy melo-death release when I first cracked it open. However, for as insidious as the imagery and tonality can be, Noveria comes across as very accessible on the whole. There are a few instances of harsh vocals, which do little but to drive home the atmosphere of the songs, but by and large, Corigliano’s approach is high, clear, and capable. He’s absolutely at home with some of his near-screams in songs like “Through The Abyss”. Risen also never subsides into balladry, and doesn’t need to. The soft touches, such as the intro to “Waste”, serve the as brief but necessary reprieves from, and set-up for, the band’s broiling assault.
For the second time this week, I find myself unable to come up with serious criticism for an album – like that’s a bad thing. Risen is a blockbuster power/prog release that, no matter how much I try to stay away from doing so, sits in my head as DGM’s darker younger sibling. I’m buying this one as soon as possible, and I suggest that you consider doing the same.
4.0 // 5