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Ars Nova (JAP) - Seventh Hell CD (album) cover

SEVENTH HELL

Ars Nova (JAP)

 

Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 39 ratings

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TenYearsAfter
3 stars Between 1992 and 2009 female Japanese formation Ars Nova made 7 studio albums, a live CD and a DVD. Most of their earlier albums are keyboard driven symphonic rock with strong hints from UK, ELP and Trace. But later Ars Nova invited guess musicians, like on their album entitled Biogenis Project (2003) featuring Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen on guitar and PFM legend Lucio Fabbri on violin. After these 7 albums Ars Nova disbanded but ... the story is not over (yet). The following years the management released two Official Bootlegs and a CD-DVD box entitled Divine Night (for details see the official website). Meanwhile keyboard player Keiko did a lot of Ars Nova interviews for foreign progrock magazines. This inspired her to re-found Ars Nova in 2015, with former members, but she is the only original member. The new version of Ars Nova started to play gigs, recently late 2017 on a Japanese progrock festival.

On their latest official studio album Seventh Hell the guest musicians are Zoltan Fabian (known from Nemesis) and Satoshi Handa. The theme on this CD is surrealism, the five compositions are based upon paintings by famous artists like Hieronymus Bosch, Magritte and Dali. I was very curious how Ars Nova would incorporate their ideas about these very creative and original legendary painters.

Ars Nova sounds very tight and driven, the fans of ultimate bombastic symphonic rock will enjoy the mindblowing interplay, the cascades of shifting moods and the frequent solos on keyboards and guitar. And also the many interesting musical ideas in the five compositions:.

Dreamy waves of violin-Mellotron and wonderful Grand piano along blistering guitar, dazzling keyboard flights and a swirling rhythm-section in the long opener Seventh Hell,

From orchestral keyboards and biting guitar to a virtuosic acoustic guitar solo in La Venus Endormie.

A surprising break with Spanish guitar and castagnettes in Cazadora De Astros.

And muddy fat guitar riffs with propulsive drums, fiery guitar and a very pleasant keyboard sound in Voice Of Wind.

And then the final track entitled Salvador Syndrome (with Robby Valentine as guest on vocals), never a dull moment, what a variety: a warm accordion sound with Nina Hagen-like opera vocals ... a break with latino bass and an acoustic guitar solo ... a Spanish inspired interlude with guitar and handclapping ... and a splendid final part featuring an ultimate bombastic keyboard sound, heavy guitar and a propulsive rhythm-section. Here we can enjoy the exciting contrast between the classically inspired keyboards and the harder-edged guitar sound, how sensational!

To the 'mainstream' proghead this CD will sound a bit 'over the top', and I also analyse that most tracks tend to sound more as jam-sessions than elaborate compositions. But if you like this kind of heavy and bombastic symphonic rock you will be delighted about Ars Nova, in my opinion this is one of their most exciting efforts (also available as a DVD-R)! My rating: 3,5 star.

TenYearsAfter | 3/5 |

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