Written by: PP on 27/12/2009 22:24:54

After a couple of very difficult albums to review, it's always nice to get a disc like "Nepenthe" by California, US based Nova. I don't want to call them a derivative band from the get go, but the truth is that they're one of the most Deftones-sounding band I've come across...well, ever, so no wonder these guys are attracting major label interest so quickly (word is that Universal are interested). "Perfect Mistake" in particular has an identical vocal dynamic to that used by Chino Moreno, kind of dreamy, fuzzy clean vocals that break into extended croons and screams every now and then. But would it be such a bad thing to be called a Deftones derivative? It's not like there are other bands than maybe Korea who are able to emulate that alternative rock meets experimental nu-metal platform Deftones operates from, at least not successfully enough for it to have locked on my radar. So this gets my stamp of approval, for sure.

Precisely in the same way as Deftones, Nova's sound is based on great vocal harmonies driving the songs forward, which are met by heavy, crushing guitars in appropriate places to create the massive-soundscape necessary for Gabriel McGahee's vocals to really shine in. Because the truth is, McGahee owns an incredible set of pipes that he's not afraid to use, leading into huge vocal melodies and plenty of moments where the songs are held together solely by his floating and powerful vocals dominating and echoing around the soundscape. "You Are Dirty" is probably the best example, but "Our Last Goodbye" works the same principle as well.

"Thought That I Knew You" shows the band's softer and grungier side, justifying some of the Soundgarden comparisons made by the band's biography and promo material. There aren't too many of these, however, and most of the time the band seems content hovering around in Deftones waters. There are a couple of strong cuts on the disc suggesting that a high rating may not be too far away for these guys, but for now, too many of the tracks enter and leave without making much of an impression. Decent stuff, nonetheless.

Download: You Are Dirty Water
For the fans of: Deftones, Korea, A Perfect Circle, Soundgarden
Listen: Myspace

Release date April 2009
Big Nothing

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