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Naikaku no Wa - Shell
Nalbantov, Dimitar - Universe
Narnia - Awakening
Nebelnest - s/t
Nemesis - Eden?
Nemesis - Terra Incognita
Nightscape - Symphony of The Night
Nocet - s/t
Nosound - Sol29
Novela - The Very Best of Novela


Naikaku no Wa - Shell
Poseidon Records
(2006)

You might be going to ask me "what's that?" about this band and its title of the album in this review section. Naikwaku no Wa is quite unique and impressive Japanese prog band that belongs to the excellent Japanese prog label, Poseidon Records releasing quality domestic prog bands/artists while supporting notable prog acts/groups abroad. For instance, Poseidon has introduced prog fans to the quality domestic bands like KBB, Show-en, Asturius, and Side Steps to name just a few. I hope those fans who are into Japanese prog scene will rejoice the sounds and modern approach from Naikaku no Wa. Before checking out this band, I have heard some really good buzz from somewhere else. Indeed, Naikaku showcases really interesting musical world with darker atmospheres and hollow colours. Btw, the name of the band literally means Wave of Inner Core, just in case you are curious. Doesn't it sound like the idea coming from metaphorical or literature thoughts? Anyway, at glance this band seems to be into creating and performing complex progressive rock with deep inner-thoughts and philosophical influence. Mostly, what I've heard from the album is instrumental prog featuring blazing flute solos. The musicianship is really solid and dive into intricate sections quite often. Esp., I really like the intensity of the fourth song. They someties sound really closer to metallic region, but I do not consider them as progressive metal band. Indeed, very sophisticated rhythm structures and flute/guitar solos are quite tasty that might appeal to the fans of complex italian prog rock like Jetlag, Garden Wall, Banco, and Evil Wings. Nevertheless, what they have achieved here is not definitely borrowed from those technical Italian groups stylistically. Just feeling that intensity and complex section have similar vibes like Italian heavy prog groups I mentioned above. Overall, the music they are perfrom here on the album aquire musical tastes from every listner. But, if you are interested in checking out Japanese prog band that is focused on complexity, then it sounds really interesting for you. I have enjoyed this one quite a lot, since I got this. One of best Japanese prog groups I have ever encountered in 2006.

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Nalbantov, Dimitar - Universe

Independent Release
(2006)

According to the information on his official website, Dimitar Nalbantov is from Eastern European. This is obviously my first time to check out Dimitar Nalbantov's music. But his guitar-oriented instrumental music on his cd called 'Universe' is quite fun to hear entirely. Stylistically, the music of some songs like "Purely And Simply" and "HyperSonic" has similar vibes of what Joe Satriani and Steve Vai are good at. After having listened to this cd carefully, the tunes like "Universe", "The Wide", and "Shade" have somewhat progressive feeling and nice fusion elements that I get into. Dimitar Nalbantov handles guitars, basses, keyboards, percussion, drums, and virtually everthing, except for drums handled by John Wooten on 'Orpheus' and 'Unknown Town' that also sound very interesting to my ears. The cd of Universe has friendly atmospheres to every instrumental music lover, and showcases technical and intricate guitar solos that appeal to rock guitar freaks. If you are looking for mind-bogglingly overwhelming instrumental music, then this might not be your favorite music. Nevertheless, Dimitar has carefully composed each track and put together cohesively to my ears. I think he is a quite talented guitarist who is able to balance between technical chops and friendly instrumentations on this cd. The sound production is also very nice and solid, even though this cd is produced within his own independent budgets. Every time I listen to this cd carefully, I find a joy and happy moment from this cd. In particular, the arrangements and instrumental prowess displayed on the progressive fusion "Universe" and very unique guitar/keyboards featured "Shade" are very nice and superb. I wish he keeps up a good work with enthusiasm for next album. Dimitar, you have done good job on this cd.

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Narnia - Awakening
Nuclear Blast Records
(1998)

Awakening is the Swedish neo-classical power metal group's 1st album. In later years, Narnia has become a solid band format, but this album is mostly performed by Christian Liljegren (vocals) and Carljohan Grimmark (guitars/bass/keyboards) as a duo-band with their fellow guest musicians including a guest star Janne Stark of Locomotive Breath who performs his nice guitar solo on the song "No More Shadows From The Past." The name of the band obviously reminds you of a great fantasy writer C.S. Lewis; the lyrics and themes on every song are inspired from Bible and Christian virtues/lessons. Many people who read this until this moment tend to categorize Narnia as Christian Metal band, but their musical style is quite different from the bands like Stryper and Guardians. Musically, this group's music is quite similar to earlier days of Yngwie Malmsteen Rising Force. Nevertheless, their style is focused on rather friendly and catchy neo-classical powerful metal with their unique touch. The star of this band is definitely Carljohan Grimmark's amazing neo-classically driven shred guitar solos and fluid tones. You find lots of moments of what Yngwie Malmsteen are really good at on this album. In other words, many people could possibly feel that there might not have enough original tastes here and there on this first album. To me, they were in the learning stage of musical career, so I do not want to jump bandwagon to ciriticize them harshly. Even though the influence of Yngwie Malmsteen is quite huge, I could feel that Narnia has been trying to find an original style. In that process, what they have showcased here is very pleasant and enjoyable in my opinion. Esp., the epic instrumental track "The Return of Aslan" is quite nicely done, and I think there are some other shining moments including the violin-featured track "Sign of The Time." The originality was a big issue at that time when you looked back their career, but I am glad they keep a good work to find their own charms and characters through their musical careers. If you enjoy Scandinavian melodic power metal and neo-classical metal, then you could find joyful moments while listening to Narnia's 1st album as I do.

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Nebelnest - s/t
The Laser's Edge

Really intense and dense prog rock band from France. Nowadays, the bands from France are really interesting to my ears. Probably, the bands from France evolved in unique way. Nebelnest is playiung all instrumental heavy prog with dark atmospheres. Probably, King Crimson and some Zeuhl music like Magma are good reference points if you want to guess how they sound like. Very spacey and mystical sounds with intensified energy in one album. It is all instrumental, but I am quite impressed with this album.

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Nemesis - Eden
Sensory/The Laser's Edge
(2002)

Nemesis is Hungarian prog metal band. Eden must be their first official album released in English language. On this album, they improved lots of song materials and performance, comparing to their promo cd. In the case of Nemesis, they feature spacey prog metal sounds that are closer to the bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and even Pink Floyd. Lots of impressive keyboard works/solos, and intricate progressive metal instrumentatals. Sensory label constantly releases original sounding complex prog metal bands in recent years. Nemesis is another strong prog metal newcomer in the world-wide scene. Their instrumentation and song-strucres are really mature and impressive. When we talk about Hungarian bands, excellent bands like Stonehenge and Perfect Symmetry come to my mind. Nemesis's potentials are as high as Perfect Symmetry and Stonehenge. I guess that there are some other talented Hungarian Prog Metal bands, so we need to stay tuned in Hungarian prog metal movements. Nemesis is one of hot prog metal bands from Eastern Europe region.

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Nemesis - Terra Incognita
Gyula Records inc.
(WARNING: English version of this album has not been officially released yet)

After releasing Eden album from a well-established prog rock/metal label, Sensory (under The Laser's Edge), a Hungarian prog metal band Nemesis has received a great recognition among prog metal fans all over the world for several years, at least. In addition, we get to know that Nemesis proves that Hungary is a new bright country offering impressive prog metal bands to the scene, such as Stonehenge and Perfect Symmetry. Although their follow-up new album with English lyrics, Psychogeist was not released through Sensory unfortunately, we came to know that Nemesis has released their new album called Terra Incognita domestically in their country. According to the people who bought Terra Incognita, this Hungarian album has been superbly done prog metal masterpiece. Of course, this report from them added my appetite to search Terra Incognita, and finally located this promo cd of English version with help of my prog friend (I owe you quite a lot, and you know who you are).

Their newest offering, Terra Incognita, offers lots of great instrumentation and deep lyrical contents in the manner of progressive metal music. In fact, this is their first concept album that unfolds the story about life and death with mythologic flavors. The story begins with the man who found out the dead body of a woman with a blood-soaked diary. He was tempted to open her diary, and later he is going to learn what happened to her life through this mysterious and transcendant stories of her writing. Each track contains lots of information and liner notes to explain what is gonna happen in diary. Throughout the cd, the girl testifies what happened and being guided by her guardian angel. With her angel, she travels another world so-called "life after death." She learns there is a place of tranquility beyond human's death. This amazing phenomenon about transcendant travel and "life after death" was supposed to being kept secret between the angel and her. However, her boyfriend somehow came to know what she had experienced through his dream. Later on, things are severly changing in the wrong direction. In the grand finale of this story, she's going to decide and choose tragetic ending...her death. This is what I have interpreted from the concept on this album. I can say this is really long and dramatic story with sombre atmospheres and great tensions. Their storylines are well-laid out with detailed information and unique ideas. Their story provides us the ponder thoughts about our being, and where we come from, and where we are heading for. Giving me several different dimentions to think about our life and things we can not explain really well. Anyway, very interesting works Nemesis created.

Without any doubt, Terra Incognita is Nemesis' best achievements and triumphant works. All twelve materials offered on Terra Incognita are shining and burhing brighter with emotional vocal performance of Zoltan Kiss and all bombastic instrumental works by Zoltan Fabien (guitars), Gyorgy Nagy (keyboards), Gabor Krecsmarik (bass), and Laszlo Nagy (drums). Each melody lines and arrangements are thoughtfully well composed. Overall., I am very impressed with very intricate and complex prog metal sections. Nemesis must have worked so hard to make really high-class progressive metal album with lots of energy and hot-burning ensembles. While listening to the album of Terra Incongnita, I am in the state of tranquility and heavenly atmospheres. At the same time, I strongly believe that this masterworks can compete with any prog metal giants and great works in this prog metal scene. One of highlights on the album is Zoltan Fabien's splendid guitar works and Gyorgy Nagy's fabulous progressive style synth/keyboard solos. Their intense odd-time meters and blistering complex ensembles are also incredible to my ears. What a great band they are!!

Simply, I get stunned and awed by this masterpiece. Terra Incognita must be the best work NEMESIS has ever done in my honest opinion. Their songwriting and instrumental parts get connected really well. The story lines of Terra Incognita is very somber and melancholic, yet having sheds of lights and hope. I think the story of 1st song and last song has really strong emotions and statements. Musically and instrumentally, I am totally very impressed with the whole works of Terra Incognita. The album of Terra Incognita is simply superb and excellent prog metal work in recent five years. I think Terra Incognita bring Nemesis in the prog metal hall of fame (in my mind). What I know is Terra Incognita has surpassed the works of Eden? I really thank you for making such a strong album with the beautiful atmospheres and emotional energy. I wish all the best for Zoltan, Nemesis, and a Hungarian Prog Metal scene. I wish one day Terra Incognita would be released all over the world in the near future. Once again, I really appreciate Nemesis who have made superb prog metal music.
[website: http://www.musicofnemesis.com/]

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Nightscape - Symphony of The Night
Lion Music
(2005)

Swedish neo-classically influenced melodic metal band's debut album released from Lion Music. Even though this band is from Sweden, Nightscape's music has somewhat the elements of Finnish bands like Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica. Others said Nightscape's music remind them of Supreme Majesty, but I've never heard of Supereme Majesty's music before, so I can not support what they said (probably, their comparisons seem to make sence). Anyway, this young band is playing speedy and up-tempo melodic metal music with lots of fluid-guitar leads and tasty symphonic keyboard solos. In some songs, you could hear dual solos of both guitars and keyboards. Comparing to other Finnish melodic metal bands, indeed Nightscape's music seem to be very closer to them, rather than closer to other Swedish bands in my honest opinion. Yeah, it's very friendly and catchy metal music for the fans of melodic and symphonic metal in general, but I wanted to hear more technical and complex arrangements and instrumentations on the other hand. Besides my minor complaints, melodic Euro metal fans be aware about this promising new acts from Sweden. As you know that Sweden is the country offering great music and bands, so hopefully Nightscape is gonna release another nice album in the future.

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Nocet - N
Megaheart Records
(1997)

Brazillian neo-prog/hard prog band's first album. Throughout the cd, Nocet plays really outstanding ensemble with intelligent music sensibilities. From the beginning to the end, I am very impressed with their composition and high performance level. Occasionally, you find to hear some Latin rhythms and Brazillian percussion that reminds me of Angra and Sepultura. What they perform on this cd intrigues me. It is unbelievable that Brazil offers several talented prog bands in recent years. I used to have thought that Brazil is the country of Sepultura. But Angra changed my view toward Brazil, then now Nocet and some other talented prog bands pop up in front of my eyes. I am really surprised to encounter Brazillian band each time. Each Brazillian prog band usually give me shivers and enjoyable moments to listen. Highly recommded for the fans of hard neo-prog and lite prog metal style music.

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Nosound - Sol29
Independent Release
(2005)

Italy offers quality prog bands a lot. Nosound can be one of those prog groups that plays contemporary, yet lush rock music. Basically, this group is led by the main musician called Giancarlo Erra, who performs, writes, mix, and produce. Obviously, he is responsible for all songs and most instrumentaions. Esp., the guitar parts and synth swirling sounds are really fantastic for melodic prog without leaning technical interplays. Giancarlo carefully put all music together to move prog listners deeply. Stylistically, you could say that the music can be inspired by Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson related projects/works, and Pink Floyd. Nosound has lots of atmospheric and nice moments in the entire album, 'Sol29'. There are several vocal tracks and non-vocal dreamy tracks. Nosound do not usually go into the realm of bombastic technical interplays; however, they have managed to create really deep and intelligently thoughtful modern symphonic rock sounds. I've been really impressed with each listening session. Additionally, the music of Nosound somehow would appeal to the fans of Chroma Key and O.S.I. as well I hope. Overall, the sound production and intsrumental sections are quite intriguing and unique. Highly recommdned for modern prog and a kind of chill-out music fans.

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Novela - The Very Best Of Novela

Well, this one is kind of some impressive collections of Novela's career. Although I am not a really die-hard fan of Novela, I find interesting tracks. Musically, they fuse some elements of some British symphonic prog rock sounds and Japanese melodic song approaches with some technical keyboard playings and driving rhythms. Novela was kind of the begining that Japanese symphonic rock and Japanese heavy/meal type bands had started flourished. Basically, Novella seems to be influenced by early Judas Priest (in the era of that Judas Priest was kind of in between metal and rock), Renaissance, Genesis, symphonic rock bands, and even Japanese folk/trad artists. Unfortunately, I might not be impressed with a lead singer of Hisakatsu Igarashi who is also a singer of Nuovo Immigrato. I know there are lots of Novela fans really enjoy Hisakatsu's singing style. However, I do not understand this. He is not a bad singer, but I was not too impressed with the way he sings in upper registers. Basically, this band featured Teru's Symphonia's Terutsugu Hirayama, and Gerard's Toshio Egawa. After they disbanded, Toshio started early GERARD. In addition, Terutsugu Hirayama started TERU'S SYMPHONIA to pursue their own projects.

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