Novallo – Novallo EP

[09/01/12]
[Self Released]

Born and bread from the prog lineage that brought us the likes of Protest the Hero and Periphery, Ohio natives Novallo throw their hats in the ring with their debut self-titled EP. As we’ve all come to expect from this burgeoning music scene, Novallo show all the promise in the world and back it with an intensely processed and mechanical recording that pushes noise gates to their extremes for the tightest of stuttered staccato riffing. Fans of the genre won’t find much issue in the modern production to begin with though, as Novallo is as sleek and stylish as any initial offering from a band of their caliber could possibly be. Their musical chops certainly back them up, with the entirety of their 20-minute EP flowing as one track as they weave in and out of intricate guitar lines and soaring vocal melodies. Novallo borrow heavily from the acts that came before them though, adding very little in the way of innovation to their sound. Perhaps released two years ago, Novallo would surely be a staple by now. Unfortunately, Novallo borders on derivative. The sheer quality makes up for it though, and the group’s collective musicianship makes this EP an engaging listen. It also helps that the band are offering the EP on Bandcamp for free. You can’t go wrong, really. – JR

3.5/5


David Maxim Micic – Bilo 2.0

[05/25/12]
[Self-Released]

The bedroom guitar player scene is flooded with cut-and-paste djent players that do nothing to advance the genre. However, Berklee student David Maxim Micic (who is also guitarist of recently signed Destiny Potato) has been known to push the boundaries of the genre, with his unique, jazz-flavored writing and tasteful keyboards. His first EP, Bilo, was very well-received, and he has continued this momentum with his recent EP, the appropriately-titled Bilo 2.0. Over the album’s five tracks, you’re greeted by interesting electronic uses, horns, great arrangement, and melodies that only sound like “David Maxim Micic”. It seems that David has developed a signature tone and playing style; no matter what he plays, you can always tell it’s him. Unfortunately, some of the melodies sound similar to each other at times, but this is a minor flaw, as enough listens will separate any similarities. He’s also brought in guest musicians: guitar prodigy Jakub Zytecki, saxophone player Carl Carton, and vocalist Vladimir Lalic. All three of these guest musicians provide exceptional parts to the songs in which they are featured. Of particular note on the album is the closer, ‘Mbinguni Amina‘, which is without question one of the strongest tracks of the year, as it features Lalic’s operatic vocals, a powerful horn section, and an extremely powerful middle section which can only be described as Strapping Young Lad meets big band jazz. Overall, this is an incredibly strong release by an extremely talented musician, and you can pick this EP up at David’s official bandcamp.  Hopefully David is able to translate his incredible songwriting over to Destiny Potato, as I’d love to hear a full-length album with this kind of spectacular songwriting. – GR

4.5/5

Sessions – Metacognition

[08/02/12]
[Unsigned]

Sessions’ Metacognition is pretty much exactly what it sounds like; low-tuned groove metal under a ‘Plurals’ moniker that doesn’t really break any new ground. That’s really about all there is to say as an overall perspective. It’s a shame that the effort plays out that way though, because each song has a few brief moments where you realize that the band is perfectly capable of writing original music. The end of ‘Gifts Ungiven’ showcases a fantastic chordal groove that ends too quickly. ‘Haunted Sleep’ and ‘Averisions’ both toy with melodies that never bloom into what they could be. You know when you come out of a boring movie, but there’s that one scene that you still can’t stop talking about? That’s what Metacognition is. Sessions are a band to watch though, even if it’s just to hold on to the hopes that they one day decide to think outside of the box. All that being said, it’s a strong first effort that’s worth a listen. The production lends a very heavy sound, the vocals are strong, and the instrumental tones are quality. Sessions’ might’ve bummed out anyone who came across their debut, but keeping an eye on the young band might be a good idea. Plenty of bands have come from worse first efforts to do later something great. – GK

3/5

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