Novus Rex is name of the mini band of the multi-instrumentalist J.R. Fernandez. J.R. describes his own music as a cross between Derek Sherinian and Pink Floyd. Do I agree with him? No. I didn’t hear much Pink Floyd or Derek Sherinian. Did I like his first effort? Yes I did-mainly because he is able to create his own musical fantasy with his keyboards and guitars.
First track Look! It’s Coming has a three minute majestic instrumental intro inspired by Vangelis with classical organ. Later on you can hear a kind of Indian chant sung by Anthony Davis.
Old World News has a short acoustic guitar intro followed by fast played synths and Hammond which reminded me of Keith Emerson’s playing on phenomenal albums Tarkus and Pictures of an Exhibition by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. There are several beautiful solos too. Although the vocals and lyrics of J.R. Fernandez are not impressive they are not bad at all. At the end it is a more a guitar orientated song.
Truth seeker starts with a two minute classical piano intro. Majestic guitar waves follow sounding a little bit dark and threatening. Again his vocals with another simple lyric can be heard, then a mix of earlier mentioned E.L.P. mixed with Shadows guitar parts, ending with a nice classical piano solo and finally a Keith Emerson organ solo.
The fourth track is an instrumental one named Belteshazzar’s Dream. Energetic and symphonic highlights of instrumental progressive rock more in the vein of Rick Wakeman and his personal favourite Derek Sherinian are on this track. Lots of fluently played Hammond B3 solos are featured.
Plowshares Into Swords being just over 10 minutes, is the longest track with traditional classical piano and well played drums by Scott Rockenfield of the progressive metal band Queensryche. Although the lyrics sound a little bit simple again, they fit perfect with the synthesizers colors. The pace of the synths get faster and faster until the end.
Locust Swarm-the last and shortest track-has a totally different musical structure more in the style of Tangerine Dream and my personal favourite, the late Michael Garrison, with his floating synths and optimistic rhythm. A very good ending for this musical adventure.
**** Cor Smeets (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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