When it comes to progressive power metal the days of a few big outfits maintaining a strong grip around the scene are gone. The last few years has seen a rise in younger outfits armed with plenty of inspiration and technical skills to set things in motion. Los Angeles born NovaReign aims with their debut album Legends to be one such band. With said debut album, the quintet delivers a hook driven set of interesting music, constantly driving and evolving in curious turns and led by the furious guitars, care of Balmore Lemus and Danny Nobel. Taking inspiration from the likes of Symphony X and Queensrÿche, NovaReign has a unique sound, and a level of depth and competence that doesn’t often come across on a debut album – though of course they have been doing their thing for the better part of a decade, and even released demo versions of some of the tracks back in 2014.
Right from the get go it’s full throttle and nonstop intensity. This makes the entire length somewhat daunting, especially since three of the tracks reach around ten minutes playtime. The entire album consists of an hour’s worth of music split into nine intense tracks that span a diverse range of power metal that heavily explores progressive elements and epic scenery delivered through the wealth of masterful guitars. Lemus and Nobel’s guitars seem sometimes dead set on show-off, and there are some truly impressive solo parts strewn across the album - take the very intro of opening track Call On The Storm for instance. It is however the intermittent dual harmonic parts and the myriad of heavy twin riffage that intertwines the intense solo action that truly stand out. There are some definite Angra moments in the guitars, as well as a Kamelot hint here and there, but generally, the music leans toward the guitar driven antics that don’t rely on heavy symphonic elements or keyboards.
The drums, laid to near perfection by Paul Contreras, remain the heavy backbone on which the guitars can rely throughout the album. Progressive and shifting at every turn he never stops, but keeps up with the slick guitars at all times. The short drum solo in Heavy Heart just goes to show that it doesn’t need to be overly complex to be very efficient. Legends by no means a perfect album; though made with competence and delivered with ample inspiration and technical skills it also seems to lack a certain dynamic range in its sound. The deep lows would be better off sounding deeper, to contrast the highs so much better, and a few tracks could do with a shaving down of a minute or two. It is however a wholly interesting album, with loads of talent strewn across the runtime that should sit well with fans of Queensrÿche or even MindMaze, and it counts a few pearls among it ranks, such as Skyline, with its epic vocal lines (and such a delivery by David Marquez!) and the intense mid section that starts low and rumbling with rhythmic riffage and evolves into a furious solo duel. Well worth checking out.
Standout tracks: Call On The Storm, Skyline, Legends