As soon as you hear the opening riff to Unity, you just know this band is going to shred. I was pleasantly surprised. They managed to keep the groove going as the vocals came in, a clean and understated style to start with but quickly building to a powerful traditional glam metal style high at about the half way mark of the song, giving you a glimpse into what to expect from the rest of the album. The opener ends with a great, tastefully played solo which fades out into the next track. I particularly liked the chunky, heavy riff that kicks off the second track, Ready for War. As the name suggests, the tone and aggression of that first riff does make you feel like you’re going to war, or perhaps a Pantera gig back in the mid 90’s before dropping you right back into a surprisingly calm section which builds back into the hair metal-esque vocals and chugging guitars.
Breaking Bad is the third track in. By now, you’ve got a fair idea of what Nereis do but they still manage to surprise. This song, and the previous one as well, gave me Fear Factory vibes in some of the verses and if you’d showed me this years ago I would have a lot of trouble figuring out if this was from the golden days of glam metal, or something that belonged in the wave of American heavy, groove, borderline industrial metal bands alongside bands like Machine Head. Even the choice of guitar tones and the snare makes you question what year this was released, in a good way. The way it’s produced sounds exactly like the sort of album you’d have sat down to learn the riffs and solos as a kid on your first crappy electric guitar.
Overdrive, now this is where the industrial metal influence really shows through in an undeniable way, reinforcing the hints of it in previous songs with an intro that I feel like anybody who liked Static X at all would dig. The guitars and bass work in sync to bring a filthy low end while the vocals provide the lighter, brighter contrast to this dynamic song, and as the chorus come in and lifts the entire song up, it’s impossible to not get a bit hooked. They bring back the industrial for a while before transforming the end of the song into a sea of tasty lead guitars ending on a heavy note and then launching straight back into the thick riffs for Two Wolves. This track brings a catchy chorus and some more impressive guitar work. I found myself really getting into this track and I feel like it ends too soon, the riffs that carry the song do their task of keeping things flowing so well that you don’t really want it to end.
The vocals in the next track, Now, came in with a clean, layered harmony. At first this really caught me off guard, but it made perfect sense within seconds. The middle section of this song is my favourite part by far and there were points where it felt like this song was really telling a story, and doing it well. It reminded me a lot of Avenged Sevenfold surprisingly, which considering the proficiency of their guitarists, says a lot about the skill of the guys in Nereis.
The song ebbs and flows but there’s never a boring part and there are some parts that just made me feel like I was on this epic adventure, getting fully absorbed into the track. This leads into a piano interlude, One Time Only which brings an element of grace and simplicity back into the album and The Wave continues with a beautifully executed piano intro, and as the gentle vocals float over the piano, the song builds with the addition of more orchestration. This really changes the mood of the album, from high energy to cinematic. They distorted guitars aren’t gone for long though and there’s a lingering piano note before the chords come in and the vocals kicks it up a notch. After a tasteful guitar lead section, the riffs build and there’s a pounding drum beat before every instrument is given free reign. The drum fills and guitar leads forming a sort of “trade off” dynamic. I really loved how this song goes back to the piano and the vocals get softer, with almost choral atmosphere before the song ends, though the final note leaves almost a feeling of forboding.
At this point, the feeling of anticipation (or impending doom) left in the pit of my stomach after that outro was quickly absolved when What is Wrong and What is Right began playing and reassured me that all I was in store for was more groovy riffs, not the apocalypse. They bring back similar soundscapes to Overdrive, the fourth track, here. A fast-paced track with flecks of synth throughout it, and a slightly more sinister vocal delivery than the hair-raising highs of previous songs. This is like PAIN but with added vocal range and a bit more shred, and I can see this being a crowd pleaser live. I found myself almost dancing, but despite how catchy it is, there’s still an undeniable weight to the guitars that keep this song from sounding too commercial or losing its integrity as a solid heavy rock track.
Induced Extinction brings back the orchestral flair from The Wave for the intro to what is another track that features skilful cleans tastefully interwoven. I loved this intro, and I wish it had actually been a song of its own but I was no way disappointed. This song is one you can sit and really groove to, and just keeps you banging your head til the end.
As the album starts to draw to a close, Born To Fly is definitely more of a hard hitting rock track and the almost southern sounding guitar intro and the band bring back more of the old school high vocals making their way back in for this one. This song is riffy, and I could see this band opening for someone like Guns and Roses or Def Leppard with bangers like this. The bass interlude pokes through around the mid-way mark which is a nice touch, and then the riffs continue. Did I mention, RIFFS? This song is all about them, with a solo to top it off at the end.
The closing track, We Stand as One starts with samples and brings back the layered vocal approach. This outro to the album is quite avant-garde in nature, and you can tell they’re not afraid to experiment with sounds. Bohemian Rhapsody style vocals make the end of this album epic and leave you feeling like you’ve got an unfinished quest to embark on. A very dramatic ending to a wonderfully diverse album. Italy continues to produce some amazing hard rock and metal and there’s good reason these guys are label mates with Mushroomhead as well as Australia’s own Naberus and Our Last Enemy.
Grab your copy of Turning Point out now via Eclipse Records HERE!