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NEPENTHE

Neo-Prog • United States


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Nepenthe biography
The story of NEPENTHE starts in New Jersey when brothers Matt and Todd Mizenko (Bass and Guitars) join their skills with Jamie Boruch (Drums) and start to gig in the New York/New Jersey club area playing in the borderline that divides Euro Pop and Neo Prog under the name ARS NOVA.

Keyboardist Eddie Konczal and vocalist Keith Watlington complete the original lineup in 1992. The next year the band still under the original name releases their debut album "Turning the Tide".

In 1993 Keith Watlington decides to leave the band and is replaced by Jason Rosenfeld, with a new keyboardist and an improved sound, they change their name to NEPENTHE and mark a turning point in their career with an spectacular show at the CBGB in New York.

1994 is a year for touring and making a name in northern USA, and when 1995 comes, they enter to the studio and start to record "Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt" which would be their first official release as NEPENTHE.

But before the album reached the market, a single from it called "The Ugly and the Brave" is included in the "New Brunswick Underground" compilation CD, which gains attention from the critics and audience.

The album is officially released in March 1997 with a good reception of the fans, the sound is clearly inspired in the Neo Prog movement of the early 80's and classic Symphonic with many references to Marillion, Genesis, Yes and even Rush with a powerful guitar work and lush keyboards, which could appeal to fans of Neo Prog, Symphonic and even Heavy Prog or 80's Euro Pop listeners.

In 1998 Rosenfeld leaves the band and they recruit Vince Ascoli as vocalist with whom they release the EP "Mercury" and a "TEARS FOR FEARS" cover version of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" which was included in the compilation CD "Parachute Pants".

In December 1999 the band decides to split, read some rumors about them working on another project, but there's no confirmation.

Iván Melgar-Morey

Nepenthe official website

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Good Morning Baby / Slow It Down (7Good Morning Baby / Slow It Down (7" 45RPM Vinyl Record PROMO Single)
Direction
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NEPENTHE discography


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NEPENTHE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 8 ratings
Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt
1997

NEPENTHE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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NEPENTHE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt  by NEPENTHE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.50 | 8 ratings

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Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt
Nepenthe Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars New Jersey-based US act Nepenthe started as Ars Nova back in 1990, led by brothers Matt Mizenko (bass) and Todd Mizenko (guitar) along with Jamie Boruch (drums).A couple of years later the line-up was expanded to a quintet with Eddie Konczal on keyboards and vocalist Keith Watlington.After they put up the CD ''"Turning the Tide" in 1994, they were renamed to Nepenthe with Jason Rosenfeld in place of Watlington and came up with the album ''Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt'' in 1996 on InEarVisions.

Nepenthe set aside any mark of adventurous and complicated textures and focus on producing atmospheric Progressive/Art Rock, much based on lyrical moments and epic musicianship.Their sound is close to compatriots CATHEDRAL (the 90's band) or a less heavy ENCHANT with careful electric guitars, lovely background piano and supporting synthesizers, sometimes with a nice symphonic sound.Reasonably enough and having a vocalist like Rosenfeld with his pure clean and sensational voice, the compositions contain plenty of vocal-based material with series of great perfomances.These are surrounded by some nice musicianship with short instrumental breaks, even with a spacey synth sound, mostly guided by down-tempo solo explosions by Todd Mizenko and the orchestral synths of Konzal.A couple of tracks have a discreet Neo Progressive sound with more up-tempo feeling and straightforward music like ''Sorrow'' and ''Brethren'' with pretty nice guitar work, good choruses, catchy grooves and light symphonic keys throughout.Some more demanding themes would really have helped the band, which ended up to build just a cult local fame around their name.

A short activity followed the album with Rosenfeld being replaced by Vince Ascoli, formerly of the Yes tribute band Relayer, and Nepenthe recording the EP ''Mercury'' in 1999 along with the cover track ''"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears for the Childlike Records album ''"Parachute Pants''.These would be sadly the last Nepenthe recordings with the band splitting up shortly after.

Do not expect a huge impact on the first listenings of this album as Nepenthe's sole release is definitely a grower with a semi-personal sound and some great atmospheres throughout.Recommended, especially to fans of Neo Prog or modern 90's US Prog along the lines of ENCHANT, TILES or CATHEDRAL.

 Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt  by NEPENTHE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.50 | 8 ratings

BUY
Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt
Nepenthe Neo-Prog

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In 1990 brothers Matt Mizenko and Todd Mizenko formed NEPENTHE together with Jamie Boruch. The bands initially name was ARS NOVA and they are playing a music that can be described as modern progressive rock or progressive pop, comparable to early GENESIS, MARILLION and YES. This could maybe be of interest even for lovers of DREAM THEATER.

In 1993 they released their first CD "Turning The Tide" under the name ARS NOVA and in 1994 they changed their name to NEPENTHE, a word that describes something capable of making one forget grief or suffering.

In 1995 they began the recording of "Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt", that was released in 1997. This is obviously a very talented group with songs containing many atmospheric mood and tempo changes, together with intricate guitars and bass. But it's not only the musicians that are great. The vocalist Jason is a very good singer too. Although this sometimes being a very intricate album the choruses are very catchy.

If you like very beautiful progressive music, this is very good and definitely worth owning. In my opinion this is one of the best albums from 1997.

The band is currently working on their new album that probably will be titled "Thistle, Thorn and Ember". They also got a new lead vocalist in Vince Ascoli who used to sing in the YES tribute band RELAYER.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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