Though their sophomore full length album Forsaken (2016) raised an eyebrow or two, Italian progpower outfit Noveria have worked in relative anonymity. Consisting of members from Ethernity and DGM, their sound is heavy, dark and melodic, and they’re doubling down on everything come their third full length Aequilibrium. Noveria’s style, reminiscent of Symphony X meets DGM and Labÿrinth, lends itself well to the theme the band presents on its third full length. The musicianship is tighter and more confident than ever; proving this isn't a work tossed together at random, everything has its place and the passion comes through in the final product. While there is certainly bombast aplenty, as in opener Waves or following The Awakening that crashes mercilessly in heavy riffing and progressive, crushing drum lines, Noveria introduces a lot of subtle elements to the music, in the weaving in of Julien Spreutels's subtle keyboards and the mature vocals of Francesco Corigliano.
Straight out of the gate, the album opens to massive drums and crushing riffing from Omar Campitelli and Francesco Mattei respectively. Colossal opener Waves proves after the relentless intro a master class in dark progpower; hard edged vocals, angry riffing and sweeping solos trade each other off to set the album off on the absolute right foot. The furious, raging attack of the first couple of tracks soon give way to mid tempo tracks still hard hitting with emotional impact and well utilized keys. Toward the middle of the album, single Broken strikes with a massive, melodic punch and one of the biggest, most catchy choruses on the entire album, slapping the experience with a fresh, reinvigorating feel heading into the second half. While slightly overlong, the album's one hour runtime still proves worthwhile thanks to the overwhelming, heavy atmosphere that permeates its finest moments, and while one or two of the less interesting tracks could have been cut the highlight reel wants for little.
The second half of the album sees more of vocalist Corigliano's higher register, where he sounds fairly similar to Roberto Tiranti (Labÿrinth). His approach and style makes tracks like Losing You and especially the emotional rollercoaster that is closer Darkest Days bittersweet divides as he flawlessly shifts between the controlled, raspier lower register and the highs to fit the tone of the music, where Francesco Mattei's crunchy guitars dance in heavy riffing alongside Spreutels's keys. Aequilibrium proves with repeated listens to be an exciting listen, full of surprises; great hooks, flourishing twists and interesting songwriting that never lets any element get out of hand or outshine others but letting the bigger picture paint broad strokes in the dark, atmospheric soundscape. It may have its flaws here and there, with a couple of plodding moments that never really takes off, but at heart it’s an album that proves once again the power on display and how Noveria is heralding a new reign of Italian progpower.
Standout tracks: Waves, The Awakening, Broken, Collide