NOVAREIGN – Creating Their Own Legend
February 16, 2018, a year ago
“It’s been a long time coming”, expresses David Marquez, vocalist for Cali power/progressive metal act Novareign, about the release of their debut album Legends. The album, out now via M-Theory Audio, is a bombastic mix of epic metal akin to DragonForce, Angra, Dream Theater, and others played with boatloads of energy.
The high-speed metallers have been waiting to release this album for a while now. “2016 is when we started recording and early 2017 is when we finished the album,” explains the singer. “We had actually been talking to Marco Barbieri (head of M-Theory Audio) for quite a while. Marco kind of always had an eye out for us and then after we finished the album, I believe Danny (Nobel, guitarist) sent him a song or two or the whole album and right then and there he’s like, ‘I want to send you guys a contract.’ We were playing a show and then Danny brought it out to us. Two shows later we decided let’s do it, great contract, makes total sense that we’re going to do this, especially with someone that has so many connections.”
It was obviously an incredible feeling to be presented with a record contract, as Marquez expresses, “We were not expecting something so soon especially before the album release because our plan was to release the album without a label. Our plan was to release it independently in 2017, in the summer, and then when Marco signed us then he said we would release it in 2018, but it’s been great. Marco is the man!”
First single “Beyond The Cold” would be a perfect fit for Guitar Hero and was written by guitarist Balmore, who actually didn’t like the song he penned himself! – “When Balmore first brought us this track,” Marquez recalls, “and told us his idea, he didn’t like it. He’s like ‘This is what I’ve written, but I’m not a writer’ and when he brought it to us everyone loved it right off the bat. Super catchy pre-chorus, super catchy verse, catchy chorus and I told him ‘This is going to be a single’ and he didn’t believe it until we signed with M-Theory, the guys at M-Theory told us ‘Beyond The Cold’ should be the single. Balmore was completely blown away.”
“Call On The Storm” is the perfect energetic opener and is about a very power metal topic: achieving your dreams and being able to defeat challenges in your life. Marquez talks about the track: “Completely written by Danny from start to finish. It’s supposed to be about, anything you do in your life you’re going to run into obstacles and you’re going to overcome those obstacles no matter what it takes even if it’s spilling the blood of another, you have to continue on.”
Legends hold a lot of tracks about mythical characters, fantasy, basically all those fun power metal topics. The friendly singer agrees with the assessment, “There are a few songs about warriors, legends basically. I personally like to write about the human brain and its struggles like depression and anxiety. A lot of our songs are about overcoming obstacles and pushing forward and the very typical power metal warriors and dragons you know? (laughs)”
Should be no surprise to hear some DragonForce influences in the music, but as Marquez explains the mechanics of the band, each member like their own niche of music, which makes the way they play standout. “Big one for Danny is DragonForce,” says Marquez about the group’s influences. “Balmore doesn’t really listen to power metal as much; he listens to a lot of traditional heavy metal. Our drummer basically likes the newer death metal, really progressive death metal. He doesn’t listen to power metal at all! He loves his technical, really heavy kicks. Our bassist loves old prog like Rush. Personally for me, I love traditional heavy metal as well as progressive power metal like Angra, Adagio, that’s what I love. Symphony X is a big influence for us as well. All of us are DragonForce fans definitely (laughs).”
Marquez sings with a lot of force and gusto and points to the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford as influences, however it was Angra singer Edu Falaschi that made Marquez want to be a singer. “That guy is my main influence in terms of singing because there are a lot of depth and emotion in it and I do my best to be more of a narrator more than just singing the notes,” says Marquez.
Listeners will find a lot of long, drawn-out songs on Legends, including a 10 minute epic, “Mace Of A Fist” as the second track, which doesn’t happen often. Marquez explains the thinking behind the track stating, “It hooks you right away. We were thinking ‘How do you continue on after ‘Call On The Storm?’’ and it’s such a fast song, super catchy as well. Originally we were going to put ‘Beyond…” second because our set always leads from ‘Call’ to ‘Beyond’ and it fits very well, but we thought starting out with vocals right away, seconds into the track the vocals start right away and we thought that was a good way to continue to hook the listener in.”
And the topic of this robust romper comes from a Marvel comic book. “The song is actually about Marvel’s Siege comic book,” says Marquez. “Danny is a huge, huge, Marvel fan! We all love Marvel, but that guy is a true diehard. If you want to understand the full lyrics of the song, check out that comic book!”
Marquez contends that the long songs come naturally and it’s not something they set out to do. Our song ‘Skyline’, that is the one song that we wrote all-together and we were like, ‘We are going to make this song short, we are going to make it a 3 minute song’ and then it turns into a 9 minute song. It just happens.”
There was concern for the album being too long, but Novareign stuck with it because all the tracks were meant for this debut. “We knew it was different because typically an album now is like 30-40 minutes but we’ll make ours an hour and make it really subversive”, says the singer. “We had these songs done and they were meant really for one album. We actually cut one track that was on the demo because it really doesn’t do justice for the band anymore.”
In this vast ocean of heavy metal, I asked the energetic frontman what sets them apart from everyone else. He was stumped at the question at first, but put together a solid response. “In terms of the new album that will be in the works; that last song we wrote together for this album which was ‘Skyline’; it was all written by us and that song is going to dictate how we sound in the future because it was written by all of us and our plan is to write our music all-together. Basically, we’re mixing traditional sound with new progressive power metal.”
In fact, new music is already in the works, but not much can be said of it right now. “Sounding really heavy and fast. I don’t see any ballads coming from us,” enthuses Marquez.
As for touring, the wheels are spinning, but details can’t be divulged yet. The singer teases, “It would be happening in the fall. It’s with a band we all really enjoy listening to. We’re really stoked but can’t say any details. If it happens I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised.”
And as for a final take, Marquez beckons for people to give them a try and check them out. “Give us a listen; if you like us, hit us up. We’re always open to talk after a show; if you see us chat with us we’ll have a beer, we’ll talk heavy metal, and we’ll talk any music that you want!”