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Go to the Nova website  Nova - Utopica Musa [Cruel Moon - 2001]

When looking for medieval gothic music, Italy is the place to look. After Ataraxia and Gothica, it doesn't come as a surprise that Nova is also from the country of spaghetti. But if the band live up to its name, we can expect something "new".

Nova is a teamwork of Romeo Cosser (music & lyrics) and Chiara Ferrari (voices) and exists since 1997. After a demo "Voli Sferici" the duo has been picked up by Cruel Moon – a sister label of Cold Meat Industry – where Ataraxia and Gothica are at home as well. Nova fits in perfectly between these two bands. Medieval instruments, soft acoustic drums and soprano female vocals is exactly what the previous mentioned bands do, and what Nova does too. The music is melancholic and emotional and the lyrics are loaded with influences from past aesthetical movements such as romanticism, existentialism, symbolism, the decadents, expressionism, art nouveau and new wave. These are sung in Italian, but are translated in the booklet, for those interested.

So where is that "new" ("nova" in Italian) thing then, you might ask. The new thing is surely there, in the shape of a synthesizer. They don't actually try to make it sound medieval or gothic, but take a more modern approach here. Described by themselves as "electro-ethereal". No, this doesn't sound like L'Ame Immortelle, rather the contrary, this is far from danceable. Instead they fill the empty spaces (when Chiara Ferrari doesn't open her mouth) with calm ethnic / tribal percussion and eerie keyboard drones à la Dead Can Dance. They never reach the quality of the Australian duo nevertheless, and are more influenced by Middle-Eastern sounds. A perfect example of this is the track "Un'Idea Libera", the best track on the album.

According to the biography, Nova has won several prizes for originality and innovation in national music contests. But I think that combining two totally dry bleeding genres is not the way to get some original music. The result thus isn't what I was hoping for, and never reaches the quality I'm used from CMI. Sure, some songs are definitely ok, but in the end I'm left behind with a feeling that this disc contains standard and boring music. Don't get me wrong; this kind of music is my cup of tea and I love Ataraxia, but Nova should concentrate more on their musical capabilities. They do however deserve kudos for their lyrics and vocals.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Justin Faase
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