‘Aequlibrium’ comes to us as the newest effort by Noveria. Frank Corigliano bellows into the mic, Francesco Mattei returns to his helm at guitar, Andrea Arcangeli mans the bass, Julien Spreutels away on the keyboards while Omar Campitelli cracks the bongos. This cast of bandmates covers some of the most beloved bands in progressive metal history in DGM, Ethernity and Epysode.
Mixed by Simone Mularoni in San Marino, Italy of Sweet Oblivion and DGM fame and it shows with how crisp and clean all of the instrumentals and solos come across. Also, a lovely internal booklet and illustrations were crafted by Drake Mefestta, which really presses the cinematic theme that Noveria was going for here. Drake previously worked on art for Cradle of Filth and Symphony X.
So after that introduction, expectations are likely pretty high! Well, why don't we jump into a few of the tracks enlisted in this offering so I can try to explain the score a bit more. 'Waves' opens things with extreme speed and heavy drums marching you into battle! The build is good, the keys accompany the guitars very well and lead nicely into the opening lyrics. Unfortunately, the opening is as good as it gets; the chorus just falls flat. 'The Awakening' feels all-too familiar, yet well done with keys and complex guitars building to a near Symphony X feeling chorus. A stronger track than 'Waves', for certain.
'New Born' and 'Blind' take the pacing of the first two tracks down a bit and, unfortunately, don't have any real catch to their power cords that one would expect. 'The Nightmare' has strong guitars and a brooding passage that winds up having one of the stronger choruses, thus far. I'm not sure if these big epic climaxes of each song are just missing me here, or if they just fall a bit underwhelming.
Thank Cthugha for 'Broken' because it takes that overall flat theme from the last few tracks and completely kicks everything into high gear. Awesome intro, speedy riffs, classic solos, and a wondrous transition into an excellent chorus. Clearly the best song, thus far! 'Collide' starts off very promising as well, taking it down just a few notches with a slower paced machine gun style build. This track is where I feel the most Ethernity influence; great contrast of soft ambience and terrific epic-sounding chorus.
'Stronger Than Before' is offering up a trifecta of these three tracks being the heart and soul of this album. I love the key changes within the evolution of the chorus as you continue through the song. You don't hear enough of these unique styles in metal anymore. Great stuff! *Sigh* Sadly, things get a little basic with 'Losing You' and it never really recovers. They've fallen off their momentum a bit, even if 'A Long Journey' tries to pick things up a bit more, it's still not quite enough to carry on. 'Darkest Days' closes out the album on a fart. It's an unneeded ballad that never goes anywhere.
After roughly a dozen listens I can't really bring myself to recommend this as highly as I thought I would. It feels like it's lacking any character or soul that can't be found in your general average speed metal offerings. It's not bad by any means, but also fails to stand out in any way. The guitars are crisp and the vocals are clean and obviously well produced, which is commendable.
I think the harshest criticism found here is the choruses for nearly the entire damn album, which just come off as flat and winey. The build is strong, the overall sound feels like it's creating this epic sound about to pounce on us. However, the climax just never arrives. It leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction that almost feels uneasy. Like, I want to love this album, and honestly many likely will, but it just never gets there. Feels average at best and, without 'Broken', 'Collide', and 'Stronger Than Before', ‘Aequilibrium’ would completely fall off my radar.
As their third entry into their young, yet growing discography, I would have expected more depth and a bit more advanced that would help them stand out from other prog metallers in their crowded genre. What we have here is average to good, familiar sounding metal that is pleasing but not groundbreaking. Give it a listen if you're a fan of the band.
Review by Joshua Jaeger
25th October 2019
2) The Awakening
3) New Born
5) The Nightmare
8) Stronger Than Before
9) Losing You
10) A Long Journey
11) Darkest Days
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...average to good, familiar sounding metal that is pleasing but not groundbreaking."