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Children of Nova - The Complexity of Light CD (album) cover

THE COMPLEXITY OF LIGHT

Children of Nova

 

Neo-Prog

3.97 | 38 ratings

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VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This isn't your typical neo-prog. Come to think of it, this isn't really your typical anything. Having far more in common with bands like The Mars Volta and The Dear Hunter than with Marillion or IQ, Children of Nova present a thoroughly modern sounding release in contrast with a genre that, despite its name, often seems to be hanging onto the past. Nonetheless, this album should have strong appeal with most prog fans and especially fans of the arm of the genre that has moved more towards alt-rock.

'The Complexity of Light' starts off with some tribal-sounding drumming over some slightly distorted guitar drones. These drones eventually coalesce into a riff proper, and vocals enter soon after in a style that references, in varying degrees, many of the aforementioned bands. The instrumental parts of the track stay eclectic throughout, with a very versatile guitar part moving from heavy riffing to psychedelic atmospheres and running the gamut of everything in between. 'The Complexity of Light' is a very, well, complex track, with several themes switching in and out, but melody is never sacrificed. In fact, much of the track feels positively anthemic due to the combination of the excellent vocal melodies and the sheer gusto with which they are delivered.

'Arcaedion' is a bit more of a straightforward track, but it's excellent regardless. Beginning with a driving guitar part, the track quickly develops a strong sense of drama, similar to the style of bands such as Coheed and Cambria, with an epic chorus to match. A very intense vocal freak-out towards the end of the track heavily reminds of the Mars Volta as well, proving quite neatly that this group is not content to merely sit in one style or make anything too easy on themselves.

'The Fall of Aphonia' takes on a more atmospheric approach; though there's definitely still some heavier riffing the guitar is allowed to take on a variety of roles, delving at various points into psychedelic soundscapes and even some very brief post-rock-ish drones. Some understated but effective keyboard shows up as well, helping to give the track a unique, varied sound, and of course the excellent vocal melodies and harmonies keep the song extremely compelling and engaging throughout.

'Second Sight Blackout' delves even further into psychedelia, starting off with some positively Floydian soundscapes and a much more languid vocal delivery that nonetheless retains the excellent sense of harmony that Children of Nova have developed throughout the release. At about the 2 minute mark the song kicks back into overdrive, introducing some falsetto, almost operatic vocals and of course more of the sharp guitar riffs that have pervaded the album. If nothing else you have to be impressed by the sheer compositional and musical skill on display here; though it may not have any extended solo passages or even fit the standard definition of 'prog,' this, (like every other song on the album) is an incredibly engaging listen, compellingly composed and precisely performed.

'The Order' certainly doesn't buck the trend of excellence. With a darker, more ominous sound than some of the other tracks, it maintains the excellent sense of drama on the album, giving the impression that you're listening to an epic story even if you can't quite make out the lyrics. The vocal performance, which of course has been stellar throughout, somehow kicks it up yet another notch for this song, with impressively high falsetto passages, beautiful wordless emoting, and even an incredibly intense scream at one point towards the end of the track. All of this really lifts the track from merely 'good' to completely great, and it works perfectly in this climactic penultimate track.

'We Collide' is the longest track on the album, and it makes for a fine closer, encapsulating everything that's been great about the release as a whole. Virtuosic playing that avoids being show-offish, a variety of different themes and of course, compelling and anthemic melodies make this final track a real treat. Encompassing a greater variety of sounds than perhaps any other track on the album, 'We Collide' feels like an appropriately epic closer and really helps in closing off the album on a high note. Nonstop, complex riffing is used to great effect, providing a perpetual backdrop of sound but never intruding into the spotlight. A great track that ends the album very well.

Overall, this is a very good release having only the minor flaw of homogeneity. As I mentioned, this isn't a huge problem as every song is so strong in its melodies, but there isn't a huge variety of sonic textures. In the grand scope of things, however, that's an incredibly minor complaint, and The Complexity of Light ends up being an incredibly compelling, fresh-sounding release. Highly recommended.

4/5

VanVanVan | 4/5 |

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