1. Kali - Demolition And Massacre
2. Fury - The Daughter And The Simoom, After The Simoom
3. Morgan - The Fate Awaits Inevitable
4. Isis - She Wakes The Dead
5. The Gorgons - Never Look At Her Eyes
It's not often you see all-female bands, let alone instrumental progrock ones. But here we have Ars Nova, a Japanese synth/bass/drums trio in worst EL-Pish way, serving up forty minutes of bombastic, well-played, dark, and rather boring symphonic rock. There's quite a bit of instrumental skill involved, and a few great melodies, harmonies and moods pop up every now and then, but this is a perfect example of music that rapidly grows boring.
Like ELP, these girls have taken a firm grasp of all that is overblown and tried to milk it for every synth trumpet they can get their hands on, but they strike me as lacking that songwriting prowess that is ever-needed for all sorts of bands. Yes, there's certainly fancy harmonies, generally things are compositionally sound and their solos are thankfully rather melodic, but it's just so frigging boring most of the time! The music has a certain commercial flare to it, and keyboard players might find it worth the while, but I have a hard time seeing anyone really coming back to this album for more than a few listens.
On the plus side most of the songs have moments that are truly enjoyable, but when surrounded by so much cheesy pap, those moments just don't make it worth the while. A fair amount of change in tones and patches also helps to keep things a bit diverse, though the music is generally either romantic-ish or supposed to be dark and aided by such ever-amusing tricks like loud screams to bind segments together.
If you really want something in the ELP vein, I would say Le Orme is a better bet, and while Ars Nova is far from the worst thing in the world, they tend to waltz down the middle of the road, making it a bearable listen, but one that yields very few fruits.
Review by Řystein H-O
Review date: 07/2002