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Nova Orbis - Imago - 35%

Phuling, December 8th, 2009

I have no idea why I received this album, it should be evident with just a quick glimpse of my previous reviews that gothic metal, or pretty much melodic metal whatsoever, is far from my cup of tea. I just really don’t get the appeal of it, if I want metal I want aggression and brutality, something goth is incapable of delivering. But I guess I have to do my best anyway, seeing as how I did in fact receive the album. "Imago" is the band’s self-released debut album. I don’t know if they couldn’t find a fitting label or if they just wanted full control of their end product, but they seem to have gone all-out in getting an aesthetically appealing album.

The sound is ok, that’s all. It’s fairly heavy and clean but it lacks soul, I just can’t find any vividness in it. What is evident though is the vast variation in song-writing as each track has a structure and sound very much of its own. It still comes together as a whole in the end. The main vocals are delivered by a clean-voiced woman, and she does so very well. Her voice is beautiful and strong, but is unfortunately backed up by some sup-bar male vocals. Two guys do backups, and one of them should definitely not do clean vocals as it just doesn’t sound good enough. And I don’t like the gnarly attempts at screams either, it doesn’t sound like he lets himself fully growl, but somehow swallows the scream instead. Since I’m rarely a fan of keyboards, unless used sparsely or extremely cleverly, I find the keyboard to be too dominant in Nova Orbis’ sound. And in a track like "Ancient guardian" it’s just plain redundant most of the time.

I can’t really say much about the riffing, the guitars are hidden behind the vocals and keys so not much is let lose to make an impact on the listener. But the acoustic guitar (or maybe it’s that bandola I’ve read about) in the beginning of "Change" is great as it adds tons of beautiful atmosphere. Tempo-wise it’s pretty much on a constant slow and there are hardly any moments where the speed picks up. That’s a drag, as a little faster tempo at times would bring energy to the mix.

Ok, so I’ve done my best at giving this a fair review, but it still sounds like everything else in my book. Like a younger Lacuna Coil mixed with Within Temptation and Nightwish, but lacking the adrenaline (except for maybe during "Falling of the empire") the latter band at least possess. It’s soothing music, nothing I would imagine someone putting on during a night of drinking or hanging out with friends. But then again, this is just not my cup of tea, and I have no idea whether it’s good or not, but it doesn’t do anything for me.

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