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Nova Orbis: Imago

In recent years there has been a steady stream of bands coming out of countries that one wouldn't necessarily expect who are producing a surprisingly high standard of music. Well now we can add Colombia to that list as Nova Orbis hail from Bogota. The band themselves describe their sound as Gothic, Progressive Metal and who am I to disagree? Dark themes, atmospheric keyboards and piano interludes interchange with some intricate guitar work and a rock solid rhythm section of Rodolfo Caliz on bass and Jose F. Osorio behind the kit. All good progressive metal acts require a solid base on which to allow the music to grow and evolve and that is exactly what the main strength of Imago is. Together Caliz and Osorio nail every time change and the especially sharp drumming frees up the guitar pairing of Jose David Barajas and Jorge A Gutierrez to expand their songs from massive in your face themes to the smallest most fragile of interludes and then back again. The twin interplay between the pair is hugely effective and reminds of later day Maiden as the guitar lines swoop and dive in unison before splitting and them doubling the impact when they rejoin. Add to that some fantastically refrained keyboard work from David Martinez and Nova Orbis are a musical force to be reckoned with. Martinez' style relies more on mood and feel than flash dexterity and his ability to create some tremendously grandiose themes that evoke Rainbow or even Magnum at their most over blown and then blend into proceedings when the need arises, is a skill indeed and one that compliments the attack the band are aiming for.

So what of the vocals? Well you wouldn't be hugely surprised if you discovered that Nova Orbis employ a female/male attack and alternate between the quite sublime and rich tones of Ana Maria Barajas and the harsher tones employed by the two guitar players who take turns to alter the feel of the tracks with their more testosteroned attack. While on paper this is nothing new or vaguely unique, Ana possesses a voice that sits somewhere between a straight ahead rock singer and the more gothically operatic style that has been so prevalent in the genre recently. This means she has the ability to hit some stunningly high notes and sound angelic in the process, however when aggression is in the music, Ana has enough range to sound absolutely huge and commanding, there is the odd moment where it does sound like she is pushing herself to the limit, however the impression she leaves is one of controlled power.

Not as "flash" as the likes of Dream Theater, Nova Orbis have an altogether more song based approach and their take on progressive metal is engaging and enjoyable. The music challenges in places and is straight ahead in others and with the skill to blend those aspect into one track, the songs have excellent structures and pace.

Imago is a well crafted set of songs which is made all the more impressive when you find out that it is also the band's recorded debut. All six members contributed to the writing process and that in itself may also help to explain the band's enjoyably eclectic approach to prog where choirs are in evidence one moment and traditional Colombian instruments the next.

Bold, brash, emotional and exciting. Imago is very impressive indeed.

Track Listing
1. Castle of Exile
2. Unstable Mind
3. Dark Delusion
4. Ancient Guardian
5. Change
6. Love Remains
7. The Lamp
8. Sarah Deserves To Rest
9. Falling of the Empire
10. Wisdom Hunter

Added: February 20th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 2832
Language: english

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