At first listen, Novareign’s debut album doesn’t sound like a debut album. The self-described “Progressive Power Metal” doesn’t really restrain itself from start to finish. This Southern California metal act is here to make a statement, and the band succeeds in letting the world know it is here to wave the metal flag high. The sound has been refined by the time-tested method of playing a lot of shows, and it comes across very well on each track of the album.
The level of technical proficiency on all of the instruments (including the vocals) is rather astonishing. It is one of the main reasons why this album shines the way it does. Yes, there are influences from groups like Dragonforce, Hammerfall, Iron Maiden and the usual suspects. But for a band releasing a debut album as strong as this is not only thrilling to listen to based on the talent there, but it is also a lot of fun to headbang and bounce around the house playing air guitar to these songs. No, this reviewer didn’t do that. Not at all. Nope.
My only critique of the album is that the songs are fast. I mean, really fast. The only time you get to catch your breath, as it were, is the instrumental song "To Wander The Stars." The acoustic guitar playing is very tasteful and the background noise easily paints a picture in the mind’s eye of some old wizard updating his journal on a cold, rainy day. The album would have benefited from one or two more mid-tempo songs to make it feel slightly more balanced, but from a band whose motto is, “We mean business and have no intentions of taking it slow," it’s understandable why they put the pedal to the metal.
Another thing that makes this album particularly stellar is the way it was mixed. Will Salazar of Avant Guardian did a splendid job keeping everything balanced, as well as being easy to hear each of the instruments if you so desire. This is definitely a band worth paying attention to as it develops. The members obviously love what they do, and at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun. Pay attention to Novareign now, because it is a band bound for success. Then you can say that you’re one of the cool kids that bought the first album. And yes, buy this album!
Label: M-Theory Audio (2018)
1. Call On the Storm
2. Mace of A Fist
3. Beyond the Cold
4. Heavy Heart
6. To Wander the Stars
7. The Builder
8. Black As the Dead of Night