This debut by the Progressive Power Metallers Dark Nova is re-released, fully remastered and available as a digital download by Metal Breed Records (USA). This re-release finally gives everyone the chance to get hands on one of the most important debuts of the Greek Power Metal scene.
The story goes back on 1987 when the band started as Dark Devils, releasing one year later their debut demo -under that name- entitled "Shrinel" which combined Heavy Metal and classical music and can be mentioned as one of the first efforts from a Greek Metal band to explore such musical paths. In 1991 they change their name into Dark Nova as they now got a stable line up. "The Skull Of The Dreamland" live cassette was the first result of the new band that was soon grabbed by the famous Greek label Molon Lave Records and a deal for an official release was arranged. The band entered studio during 1992 to complete what would later be their debut concept album "Dark Rhapsodies" that was finally released in 1993 blasting the Greek Metal scene -which was almost overloaded by extreme Metal releases-.
The very special feature of this album is the ability of the band to balance between their traditional Heavy Metal influences -that were presented through an expanded way of riffing; touching almost the Speed Metal genre- and their neoclassical influences that were clear enough mainly on each and every lead guitar part in here. Getting their music to the very next level they present all those features through song structures that could be straightly described as Progressive Metal. Nothing typical, nothing "as expected" the inspiration in here is used in an adventurous way song by song.
The high class -almost operatic- vocals of John K. are for sure one of the big trademarks of this record. In his melodic yet power and emphatic way of singing he would transform a simple "good" vocal melody to a magical musical moment. The two axemen of the band Elias Koskoris and Athan would balance between silk and steel as Elias would offer his neoclassical approaching into the band while Athan is sure responsible for many of the gorgeous riffs of this album (could his past experience with the Greek Thrash Metallers Flames be a key point in this fact? Maybe). Nick Adams on drums and Shrinel on bass complete the puzzle being the ideal rhythm section for the Nova.
I still remember how much I was shocked almost 15 years ago when I first heard this record by this very opening track "The Way In", probably one of the most bombastic opening tracks I have heard on a Metal record. This is a Speed / Prog orgasm for your ears! Going on with the process of picking the favorite tracks of this album I would sure point "Twilight Star" which one of the most mysterious tracks in here thanks to its dark and exotic main themes and the excellent bass lines of Shrinel. "Haunted Forest" is sure in the list thanks to the Cacophony (US) influences and of course "Back Again" which is my ultimate favorite (hey listeners pleasefocus on the vocals in this one). Well I already mentioned half of the album so I guess this is more than enough.
The "ace of spades" in the case of the re-release is the re-mastering that has been done by Dr. Makis Tselentis. Those who own the original vinyl and can compare the original to the remastered I guess
that would understand the difference. The rest would have the great chance to enjoy this masterpiece the way it deserves to be listened: heavy, loud and crystal clear.
Well I guess there is no need to write no more. Those into Greek Metal scene know how important this debut is. The rest got a great chance to enjoy a high class Metal album in here. How many have you heard lately?