Nocturna – Lucidity Review

Nocturna LucidityI listen to this self funded EP produced in the wake of Nocturna winning Metal to the Masses in their native East Anglia, which subsequently won them the opportunity to play Bloodstock 2013 on their New Blood stage and I can’t help but get a feel of a genuine, honest up and coming band.

The first three tracks transition seamlessly to introduce a narrative to the music, which has a very prominent orchestral accompaniment, and this orchestration blends dynamically with vocalist James Davis’ powerful, charismatic singing style. I enjoy the musical inspirations the band are displaying through the addition of dramatic choir singing and distorting synthesisers, but it is quite overwhelming at points how much they utilise these tools as it sometimes stifles the core performances of the actual band members and detracts from the heavier and more progressive elements in favour of the power and symphonic side.

Lucidity really embraces the epic cheesiness of old school power metal and the charisma of a symphonic style that mixes together to create immersive, technically impressive guitar solos, other worldly effects and the tough, meaty muscle of almost djenty guitar rhythms, not to mention the ambitious and well executed irregular time signatures on the drums. The tracks for the most part are quite catchy as a result of this cocktail of styles; I had the chorus of Revelations stuck in my head for several hours after first listening, and this bodes well for them in terms of garnering a larger following. My only criticism of following a strict formula would be that I did feel that things got a little samey as they stuck to this model possibly a little too much at times.

The last track takes on a darker, more sinister fairy tale feel than the others and despite the accompaniment still being a little stifling, this is by far the best track on the EP. There is influences of Dream Theater in this fable-esque track and this is the only track I heard that personally evoked emotion and that had a feeling of self expression to it. We are graced with these sudden aggressive, deep vocals, some really low tuning on the guitars, and a resoundingly dark feel that I suspect will be very appealing as it explores interesting perspectives and creates an intriguing atmosphere. The real power of the prog comes through in this one and the distractions of the choir fall away to leave us something that is quite endearing.

It makes almost perfect sense that this track should sound so different to the others as it contains guest vocals from Meyrick De La Fuente their seasonal editorial consultant of Floodgate Audio. The previous tracks feel like a gaggle of children released into a room of new toys, and this final track is the seasoned parent, the one who has lived and learnt, who understands that a subtle, slow burn is the key to presenting a piece of music that appeals to the kind of listeners this band are hoping to hook.

Overall, it is a bit cheesy; there is too much choir, but it has the occasional spark of greatness, the odd moment where the balance in all their influences is found and if they can produce music with a calmer, more mature head next time they come to record, what we hear will truly be something remarkable that will stay with the band as a defining moment. Above all else, this EP left me intrigued and interested to hear more, so in my opinion it does its job as a publicly available stamp of this band’s identity.

7/10

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