You have to be brave and somewhat foolhardy as a band to try and penetrate the world of prog-metal, a genre that is oversaturated with Dream Theater soundalikes and where musical skill, above all else, is valued. It doesn’t pay to simply be good, you have to be brilliant. To be noticed, you have to be better than other more well-known bands, but also achieve your own sound, which is next to impossible for most musicians. Yet, for the love of the music, many still endeavour to make a living out of their beloved genre.
Such a band is Noēsis.
Hailing from Quebec, Noēsis list their influences as “Mastodon, System of a Down, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and even classical music”, although strangely I can hear more of a Haken tone in the singing. Astonishingly, the band have tried to tackle prog-rock without the aid of a keyboardist, opting for a more guitar driven sound instead. This seriously limits their musical landscape but gives them a more old-school feel.
Fortunately, the band is not a one trick pony, with well-written songs that cover a number of dynamic ranges. Opener and shortest song The Prey displays a shift between hard rocking anthemic guitars in the outro and a quieter acoustic sound in the middle section, with gentle rolling drums. The Fall of Barca shows influences of Metallica and Dream Theater straight from the intro. My personal favourite is the longest track Until the Sun, which evokes genuine melancholy with the judicious chords played over its eleven-minute length. The closing track The Thing Called Consciousness displays a startlingly close resemblance to The Beatles’ I Want You (She’s So Heavy) with its outro.
But for all its ingenuity, it will be difficult for this rough diamond to stand out from the crowd. With a lack of keyboard, Noēsis severely reduce the scope of their music and while the band’s playing is above par, it’s nowhere near tight or technical enough to get them noticed. But worst of all, these tunes are simply forgettable, like the throwaways of the bands they admire so much. At 73 minutes, this is quite a lot to take in from a new band. There’s hope for the Canadians yet, but they’ll need to work out how to sound less like everybody else first.
01. The Prey (5:31)
02. On the Edge (6:55)
03. Post Mortem Illness (9:29)
04. Raging Hell (5:47)
05. The Fall of Barca (10:18)
06. Collapsing (6:36)
07. Until the Sun (11:20)
08. Intoxicated (8:38)
09. The Thing Called Consciousness (8:39)
Total Time – 73:07
Jonathan Gagné – Lead Vocals
Charles Lavoie – Guitars
Samy Guenette – Guitars (Not recorded on this album)
Anthony Hébert – Bass, Harsh Vocals
Cédric Lepage – Drums, Vocals
Louis Verreault – Guitars
Antoine Baril – Guitar (track 1)
Nathan Vanheuverzwijn – Keyboard (recording and composition)
Marie-Pascale Gagné – Vocals
Roseline Marois Bernier – Vocals
Marie-Pier Gagné – Cello
Record Label: Independent
Artwork: Keven Stapleton
Country of Origin: Canada
Date of Release: 15th July 2016