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Nexus — Metanoia
(Record Runner RR0330, 2001, CD)

Metanoia Cover art

Argentine symphonic rock quintet Nexus is back with their second album, a conceptual piece that clocks in just short of 72½ minutes. Yes, the album has parts, and the parts have parts, and good god there are a lot of lyrics. In fact, this just about fills all the proggy-prog qualifications: suites, heavy keyboards, and some sort of nebulous new age concept that I'm sure must be very important, but I can't make heads of tails of it. Having not heard the band's debut, except for what was played at NEARfest 2000 (and that music sounded like an 80-minute version of "Tarkus"), I can't make any comments about their steps to this album, although it seems like the overt ELP references have been greatly reduced. Nexus concentrates on Symphonic Prog™ (Genesis, Yes, etc.), and to those well-versed in the style, there is going to be little here to surprise you. They are a competent group of musicians playing a music heavily influenced by the looming shadows of the past, yet it's hard not to feel that you can guess what is coming next at any given moment. Heard a lot of symphonic rock? Can't get enough of it? Then for you, here is all the organ, synths, melodrama, and spiritual profundity that can be mustered. For those who find the genre of symphonic rock to be largely tapped out in the modern age, it will be easy to file this under been there, done that. In summary, Metanoia is both well-worn and well done, although it’s the former quality that stands out for me.

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2001-12-01

In the past few years, Nexus has honed their skills performing at quite of number of the more famous progressive rock festivals. Metanoia follows Detrás del Umbral from 1999 as the group's second release. The instrumental focus of the group is still keyboardist and composer Lalo Huber, with significant melodic contributions from guitarist Carlos Lucena. Like their debut release, Metanoia is filled with long instrumental sections that are suggestive of 70s bands like ELP and Crucis. Lucena's guitar style leans the music in a heavier direction — almost Deep Purple sounding at times. The instrumental title track is a great example of this. Vocalist Mariela Gonzalez sounds great on this release and her smooth, mellow delivery is a nice contrast to the more hectic instrumental musical sections. Even though there are lots of lyrics, it seems like she's only singing on about 10 percent of the album because there are so many long instrumental sections. It's too bad they don't utilize her voice more. As with the first album, the lyrics are in a religious vein and the pieces collectively could again be considered a concept album about spiritual self-realization. Pieces like the multi-section "En las Manos de Dios (In the Hands of God)" are the type of music that symphonic fans love and Nexus continues to represent that style well.

by Mike Grimes, Published 2001-12-01

Second time out for this Argentine symphonic five-piece, and those who enjoyed the band’s 1999 debut Detrás del Umbral will certainly not be disappointed with this one. Their sound is classic symphonic progressive rock all the way, influenced by Genesis, ELP, Hackett, Orme, and Crimson, but with enough originality to sound fresh in an age when so many treading this well-worn style barely rise above mediocrity. Keyboards, guitars, and the golden voice of Mariela Gonzales drive the show, with the rhythm section providing a solid supporting structure. The sound can be big and bombastic, or gentle and delicate, and the band is masterful at both ends of the spectrum, with a penchant for dramatic arrangements and blazing aggressive passages punctuated with guitar and synth soloing. There’s a lot of music here, clocking in at almost maximum CD length, so be prepared for a symphonic overdose, but also be prepared for an exceptional performance that breathes new life into an old style that few bands of late have been able to innovate. Indeed, Nexus adds little new stylistically to the sound, but refines and perfects it in a way that makes it all sound fresh and exciting again.

by Peter Thelen, Published 2001-12-01

Filed under: New releases, Issue 23, 2001 releases

Related artist(s): Nexus, Lalo Huber


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