Sometimes you get an album to review which leaves you completely blank after only reading the album's inlay and booklet. N.Ex.U.S. self-titled debut album is one of those. With the exception of producer Alessandro Del Vecchio, the band members' names are completely new to me. N.Ex.U.S. is an Italian progressive rock band that was initiated by guitar player Christian Checchin and keyboard player Fausto Tessari. When the duo got together with vocalist Tommaso Galeazzo, bass player Daniele Gallan and drummer Fabio Tomba, the band was ready to record their first effort.
The opener; Loading... might be part of the whole concept of the album, but for me it was two minutes of listening to pointless noises, awaiting for what's to come. Luckily...The System is much more meaningful; a dedicated bass leads in a classic neo progressive composition, which is completely instrumental. During this track, we get a nice insight of the instrumentalists. A powerful, melodic composition is the result, layerd with lush keyboard parts and interesting guitar solos. Empathy is the first vocal track, although the vocal parts are quite bombastic, Tomaso turns out to be a very pleasant vocalist. The track itself sees elements of Queen and classic rock fused into an intelligent progressive song. Continuing, the album sees great progressive tracks like the Vanden Plas reminding Land Of Misery, and the furious Reflections, with sees some elements of Seventh Wonder and Circus Maximus. The ballad Another Shore has a similar intensity as the track Tears For My Father of the aforementioned Seventh Wonder. My personal favourite of the album is the eight and a half minute lasting John Doe, a nicely orchestrated semi ballad that highlights some of the finest keyboards and delicate guitar solos of the album. During the final track, Final Act: A New Humanity the band treats you to more multi-layered vocals, powerful guitars in the darkest track of the album.
N.Ex.U.S. set me off in the wrong direction with their first few songs, but deeper into the album this Italian band reveal a Scandinavian style of melodic progressive rock. A bit more bombastic perhaps, more dedicated keyboard parts and filled with Italian pathos, which gives the band an own identity. N.Ex.U.S. turns out to be a solid interesting album.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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