Southern California has a pretty damn good metal scene, and now that scene can boast one more great act because power metalers Novareign are set to release their debut full length album Legends which they’ve described as “an hour-plus of shred-tastic, over-the-top, epic power and progressive metal.” Now I know what you’re asking and why you’re here reading this: “The description sounds great but does the album actually deliver?” Well dear reader, let’s take a look, shall we?
Opener “Call on the Storm” immediately hits with really sweet shredding guitar that tells you that this album is going to kick major ass. The guitar and drums are fantastic right from the get-go, and their assault goes on for more than a minute before the vocals kick in. Vocalist David Marquez‘s voice is perfectly suited to this type of metal, which has very clear Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, and Dragonforce influences. The track is almost seven minutes long, which is about par for the course when it comes to this genre, and honestly the song just kicks so much ass that I don’t care how long it is. Such ass-kickery carries over to “Mace of a Fist”, which has some truly great druming by Paul Contreras as well as galloping riffs and truly epic solos. This track is even longer than the last one, coming in at over ten minutes long, but again, it just sounds so good that the length really doesn’t matter.
“Beyond the Cold” has some seriously mind-blowingly fast guitar playing as soon as it starts. Marquez really shows off his incredible vocal range on this track, which has some pretty impressive drums and bass in it as well. This track is perfectly suited for an epic fantasy battle, and I think that was their intention going in. Now, just by seeing the title of the next track “Heavy Heart” you’d probably think it was going to be a power ballad, but Novareign defied my expectation here as this track is just as heavy and fast as the others. These tracks aren’t as long as the first two, coming in at just over five minutes long each, but they’re every bit as epic and impressive. I can’t remember the last time I heard solos this good.
“Skyline” is another long one and it should come as no surprise that it’s as fast and powerful as every track that has come before it. The chorus really stood out to me on this song, and as a whole it’s a song to listen to and get you psyched. “To Wander the Stars” opens up with a sound clip of some footsteps in a thunderstorm, and from there goes into a light, melodic acoustic guitar piece. The track is about two and a half minutes long and that’s all there is to it. I think this is the only time when this album falls flat as even though this short little acoustic bit isn’t bad and was probably intended to serve as an interlude which is fair enough, when you compare it to the rest of the album it just seems out of place and an interlude isn’t really necessary.
Getting right back into it, “The Builder” isn’t quite as fast as previous tracks, but it is still very much a heavy metal track. This one goes more for epic pacing than pure speed, but there are some speedy guitar moments in there and the drums are absolutely killer. The speed comes back with “Black as the Dead of Night” which opens with a sweet guitar solo and blast beats, and the vocals come in at just under two minutes. I’ve already mentioned how impressive David Marquez‘s vocal range is, but I feel like it should be stated again because it’s just that damn good. I really enjoyed the harmony in the chorus, and once again the guitar work is incredibly impressive. You really have to admire anyone who can play like this. Finally, we have the album’s self-titled track, “Legends.” I was reminded of playing old school beat ’em up video games while this song was on, as the instrumentals just had that type of feel to it that you just have to hear to understand what I mean. It really is a great closing track to the album that I could listen to over and over again and not get bored.
Legends is an album that truly lives up to its name; from start to finish it’s incredibly heavy and earns its place amongst the greats, with one minor dip in the middle that really isn’t all that big of a deal. This is heavy metal storytelling at its finest, and I think Novareign are going to have a long and epic career, and if the fact that they were a finalist in the battle to get a spot on this year’s Knotfest Meets Ozzfest isn’t enough to convince you of that, then this album definitely will. It drops on February 16 via M-Theory Audio, so be sure and reserve your copy now. Bloodrock Rating: 4 out of 5 axes.
Call on the Storm
Mace of a Fist
Beyond the Cold
To Wander the Stars
Black as the Dead of Night
David Marquez– Vocals
Danny Nobel– Guitars
Balmore Lemus– Guitars
Moises Galvez – Bass
Paul Contreras – Drums
Check out Novareign online:
Written by Mitch Ellerbrock for Bloodrock Media on January 25, 2018