NeBelNest: NoVa eXPReSS (2002)
With its second release (and the first for Cuneiform Records), this French prog-rock quartet charts a direction consisting of expansive sheets of sound, driving rock rhythms, and climactically driven time changes. Unfortunately, the results prove mixed at best.
On the opener, "Blackmail," guitarist Cyril Malderez pursues blaring chord voicings atop keyboardist Olivier Teledor's swarming progressions and subtle synth treatments. It's all about riffs, thumping rhythms and ominous overtones - as evidenced on "Stimpy Bar" and other works. However, the musicians engage in a bit of textural sound sculpting during "Redrum," where Teledor implements some mellotron patches along with bassist Gregory Teledor's steely bass lines.
Drummer Michael Anselmi looms as a powerful force throughout these five pieces, as he diligently pushes and prods the soloists. And other than some affable psychedelic musings and a few captivating sequences, much of the material on this outing is either superfluous or largely forgettable. The band's implied urgency is thus destabilized by a lack of cohesive thematic development. Not that these folks lack talent, but their monolithic approach yields few highlights when viewed upon as a whole. Perhaps next time the band will meld more substance with its fire and brimstone decrees.
Track Listing: 1.Blackmail 2.Stimpy Bar 3.Redrum 4.Cinema 1920 5.Nova Express
Personnel: Michael Anselmi: drums, percussion