Review: Noveria – The Gates Of The Underworld

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Noveria The Gates Of The Underworld Scarlet Records

Yesveria

August 25th 2023 will be a day of reckoning for the metal world as Italian, progressive power quintet Noveria will be opening The Gates of the Underworld. Conjured forth via Scarlet Records, Noveria’s 4th full length record serves up high octane choruses, expansive and sprawling soundscapes and mouthwatering instrumentation. In terms of both power metal and progressive metal, this is a release that needs to be heard. Whether you`re a fan of Opeth, Helloween, Dream Theater, or Blind Guardian, The Gates of the Underworld is sure to impress, astonish and make great additions to playlists around the world.

It is uncommon to find bands as tightly locked into each other as Noveria. Francesco Corigliano vocals are multifaceted and span so many different emotions and have many standout moments. Francesco Mattei`s guitarwork brings a sense of grandeur and scope to the affairs and is multiplied tenfold by Julien Spretels keyboards. Spretel’s keys and Mattei’s guitar have this incredible tag-team tendency for piggybacking solos off each other. I could hear them do it multiple times per song and not get tired of it. Of course, Andrea Arcangeli`s bass and Davide Calabretta’s drums provide the backbeat and lay the steady foundations for this all to be possible. While Spretel and Mattei might be the tag team champions, Calabretta and Arcangeli make a pretty great duo themselves (If Spretel and Mattei are “The Legion of Doom”, then Calabretta and Arcangeli would be “Demolition”).

“Heritage” is a crushing, thunderous opening track. The production is crunchy and muddy but it feels intentional. The keys and guitars work brilliantly together punctuated by fill heavy, technically dazzling drums. “Origins” is a complex and stunning combination of driving drums built on spiraling keys, operatic and chaotic guitars and underlying bass. It’s a multilayered assault. Why the vocals are a little buried in the mix for my liking, they are cutting and expertly delivered. Prog metal isn`t known for catchy choruses, this song is an outlier.  This track is 9 minutes of majestic and awe inspiring riffage. Its over the top power metal fun plus the pomp and circumstance of prog, and a great way to spend 9 minutes.

“Descent” feels like a great continuation from the previous epic. In short, it’s an Iron Maiden-esqe headbanger. Colored by great vocal work, thumping bass, defined backing vocals. It builds up and progresses well into a thrilling chorus around the 3 minute mark. It’s akin to Journey on steroids. “Venom” is a great vocally driven number. While it lacks the punch of the first few tracks, it has a different kind of appeal. The song writing, rhythm and keys are superbly constructed and are inversely complimented by the interjection of harsh vocals. The execution of this track is on another level. “Revenant” has an ominous key part that unsheathes furious drumming and riffage. Its bouncy bass work and controlled and alternative style vocals make this cut really standout. Its melodic chorus is reminiscent of something Alter Bridge would make. It strikes the perfect balance between progressive and retaining listen ability, one of the standouts.

“The Gates of The Underworld” has an ominous and grandiose beginning. The choral backing vocals transitioned into spoken word vocals into a video game-esqe keyboard is a rollercoaster of an opening that surprisingly hooked me. The vocal delivery is reminiscent of Geoff Tate in the first verse. Its transcendent bridge gives way to the record’s most diverse vocal delivery, soaring into high reaching melodic musings. Yet another killer guitar solo that gives way to a multifaceted key part. The guitarwork takes on a neoclassical edge nearly 7 minutes in and the changes still keep it interesting. This track is a supernova, growing on itself infinitely in mass and scope. It needs to be heard to be believed. “Ascent” is coated by a siren’s wail, piercing guitar and raging drums. The lead vocals take the song in a different direction. The ascendancy of the high reaching vocals is very fitting. What’s impressive about the singing on this record is not just the great range, but the excellent control and dexterity combined with the instrumental cohesion makes it superbly impressive.

“Overlord” is a great continuation. The proficiency of these musicians continues to floor me. Its spectacular vocals are layered onto the guitars, and the rhythms of the drums and bass work masterfully and the keys tie it together. This track might have my favorite solo on the record. “Anima” has this great funk bass type opening bit that explodes in the rest of the track with guitar synth and drums in tight form. From its interesting drum grooves, harmonies, lyrics and solo sections, this album keeps getting better and better. The finale, “Eternal” has a curious opening into one of the strongest verses. It’s probably the best closing note the album could ask for. Frankly, the last third of this album is perfect. If I named every great guitar solo we would be here all day. It’s a triumphant and brilliant ending that left me wanting more.

Noveria’s 4th full length record serves up high octane choruses, expansive and sprawling soundscapes and mouthwatering instrumentation. In terms of both power metal and progressive metal, this is a release that needs to be heard. It’s within a grasp of being a perfect 5. The gripes with this project are very minor. Unlike a lot of progressive records, I feel motivated to revisit it again and again. There’s not just appeal here to average progressive metal fans, but the writing and performances are top notch and have the potential to reach a wider audience. Highly recommend this one.

Top tracks: “Overlord”, “The Gates of the Underworld”, & “Origins”

The Gates Of The Underworld gets 4.5 flaming Toilets ov Hell out of 5

Noveria’s The Gates Of The Underworld is out on August 25th via Scarlet Records.

 

 

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