British prog metallers HeKz made a stunning new album called Terra Nova. It's their fourth after Tabula Rasa (2012, see review), Caerus (2014, see review) and Invicta (2018, see review). After Invicata bandleader, composer, bassist and singer Matt Young “”fired”” his fellow musicians. He had enough of 'doing it all alone' and started doing it all alone, but with some help from a bunch of musical friends. For Terra Nova he formed a core of fabulous musicians: guitar virtuoso Mark Bogert (known for his work with Knight Area and Magoria), the phenomenal Irina Markevich on violin, king of drums Moyano el Buffalo (formerly of 5th Avenue Hamburg) on drums, and a special guest appearance by keyboard maestro Adam Holzman (Miles Davis and Steven Wilson). Also appearing in a few songs are Lucia La Rezza - violin, Nic Weaver - horns and Pieter Beemsterboer on additional keyboards.
Terra Nova is 100% autobiographic. It's a concept album that tells the story how one goes from the darkest of places to the light and becomes the person he belonged to be. Besides a concept album, Terra Nova is a long album, and you're in for a treat for about 90 minutes of the best prog/metal of the century. That good? Yes!
From the first moment this album grabs you and thankfully won't let go. The powerhouse opening of title track Terra Nova hits you in a great way. Massive drums, a thundering bass, glorious vocal melodies and a riff hewn out of granite and subtle violin additions, wow! The Hammond organ of Pieter Beemsterboer dominates Sabotage but the song has an instrumental section in the middle which is pure prog with amazing violin playing by Irina that leads us to a brilliant guitar solo from Mark. It has no use to describe all the musical gems that are on this stunning album. It's not all up tempo prog metal, the beautiful haunting ballad So Far Gone is an amazing track that you will play over and over again. Adam Holzmann's piano and Irina's violin deliver music that goes straight in your heart. Matt Young's vocal performance is impressive. Mark Bogert adds some wonderful guitars, and Adam's keyboard solo is magical!
And yes, there is an epic on Terra Nova. The Silent Man takes us on a musical journey that lasts nearly 25 minutes! Matt's grandiose vocals are fantastic and Mark's guitar is phenomenal. And when you think it can't be any better Adam's keyboard solo proves you wrong. The album ends with Terra Nova II. Irina's violin shines on this beautiful, uplifting and ultimately optimistic piece of music. Matt's vocals are moving and both Adam and Mark deliver their most fabulous solo's. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Terra Nova will absolutely be the no1. on my year list. What an amazing album this is!
***** Arne van Os van den Abeelen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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