Made of up musicians who’d cut their teeth in bands like Exmortus and Warbringer alongside relative newcomers, NovaReign have clearly put in the work for this incredibly polished progressive power metal full-length that is as confident as it is aggressive. In fact to quickly tag a spirited effort like ‘Legends’ as “progressive metal” would do the band a disservice in painting their music into an unfitting box. The music recalls the earliest riff driven speed/power metal of Fates Warning or Pyracanda as much as it does contemporary bands like Firewind or Haken.
What makes or breaks any power metal record for most fans is the vocalist and David Marquez’ vocals here are rooted in traditional power metal melodies but he kicks in into gear enough to avoid the AOR tendencies of modern power metal vocalists. The resulting upbeat, melodic performance is both more skillful and tastefully done than the Dragonforce and Symphony X influenced vocalists that often cheese up modern power metal records. I appreciate that the vocals match the aggressive style of the record and appear written to compliment, rather than outshine, the fantastic guitar work.
Considering the shredding monstrosity that was ‘In Hatred’s Flame‘ I was expecting more of a focus on neoclassical shred but was actually relieved that ‘Legends’ guitar work is first and foremost progressive heavy metal. The writing focuses on melody and extended compositions that evoke Iron Maiden and 80’s US metal like Fates Warning as much as they do classic German power metal pomp. The longer tracks like “Mace of a Fist” and standout track “Skyline” were initially daunting because I hadn’t yet decided if I liked Marquez’ vocals yet or not. Once I’d compared his style to some of my favorites like Savatage and the first Crimson Glory album I warmed up a lot more to ‘Legends’.
In fact this turned out to be the rare album that won me over more with time and repeated listens. It is an exceptional debut that has enough guitar-driven prog-thrashing and power metal melody to strike a really solid balance of aggression and sing-along appeal. I suggest sampling “Heavy Heart” and “Skyline” in succession and if you’re impressed the rest of the record should retain great value.
|Released||February 16, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Novareign on Facebook|
Progressive Power/Thrash Metal
With the radiance of life. 3.75/5.0
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