If you’re a fan of my colleague Ferry Templeton’s Crusade of Power column – and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you be? – you’ll already be familiar with Greek symphonic metal exponents Neperia.
He featured them in his most recent CoP column, but here in the Sentinel Daily office we felt the band’s new album, Drawing New Worlds was so good it deserved a second look, and a slightly more in-depth appraisal. So here we are. Ferry touched on the raw nature of the sound in his mini-review, and blow me down if he wasn’t spot on. Let me elucidate…
Something he also said – and it’s all part of the same argument, so bear with me – was that a lot of symphonic metal – especially on the bigger independent labels – has gotten disturbingly samey over the last couple of years, which puts Neperia in the box seat as possible leaders of a new wave of female-fronted symphonic metal bands.
Have a listen to penultimate track on Drawing New Worlds, the supremely coruscating Cosmic Balance, for further proof if proof is what you need. It’s all there – the musicianship, the songwriting smarts, the superior soprano warblings of Stella Tzovara – but what’s also there is a pure, unbridled heavy metal thunder that the likes of Nightwish, Epica or Within Temptation, great though all three bands undoubtedly still are, just don’t seem to be able – or, possibly, willing – to muster anymore.
This is still complex, sumptuously satisfying, over-the-top Wagnerian sturm und drang, but with the added bonus that you can really bang your head to the material on offer. The guitars of George Tzahristas and Theofilos Avramidis are deliciously rugged – far rawer than the constricting tenets of symphonic metal usually allow – resulting in supreme air-guitar suitability on tracks like Shattered Light (wherein Tzahristas really works out his death metal growls too) and Leap of Faith; Yet there’s still an Argo load of melody on offer too, the band cramming ideas into songs where none should be expected to dwell… consequently no matter how many times you return to this album you’ll find something new to delight, another source of stimulation to pique the interest.
They may not have the polish commanded by the Gods of their chosen genre, but at this point that’s a bonus rather than a drawback. Drawing New Worlds is a gem of well-structured, delightfully executed heavy metal, and should be enjoyed as such. The future looks bright for Neperia, so why not get in on the ground floor and say you were there?
Drawing New Worlds is out now.