December 28, 2020

The heavy but melodic rock band NoN (formerly Now Or Never) was formed in 2012 by a couple of musicians formerly with that most superior Danish rock band Pretty Maids with guitarist Ricky Marx (Henrik Mark) with the band between 1989 and 1991 and bassist Kenn Jackson (Kenn Lund Jacobsen) from 1991 to 2010. They then brought in the talented Swiss drummer Ranzo (Fabio Ranzoni) and vocalist Joe Amore (ex-Nightmare) and their eponymous debut being released in 2013. The same line-up was retained for the follow up II which came out in 2016 with both albums being well received and fine examples of hard and heavy rock with influences from, obviously, The Pretty Maids plus the likes of Accept, Dio and even a little old school Deep Purple.

In 2018 the band took the decision to rebrand as ‘NoN’ and this also coincided with a couple of line-up changes too with the Italian/Swiss bassist Claudio Nasuti and the French singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Steph Honde replacing the outgoing Kenn Jackson and Joe Amore respectively. It was whilst living in the US that Honde formed the remarkable Hollywood Monsters which features Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge), Don Airey (Rainbow, Michael Schenker, Deep Purple) and Vinnie Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath) and is a quality team by anyone’s standards so Honde is one hell of a vocalist and very well respected too.

Now we come to the third album by NoN and the name may have changed but the musical style has not as III is a celebration of hard rock but fused with melodic rock to make a metal album suffused with quality and complex arrangements but still very approachable and instantly hitting. The new singer has hit the ground running and has immediately found his own place in the band and this record will further cement his reputation as a quality rock vocalist and, to me at least, he has a little of the powerful delivery of the late, great Joe Cocker about him. Just listen to the raw emotion he pours into the album closing Afterlife, simply magnificent. He actually relocated to the United States in 2012 and he has quickly developed a very definite American style and sound to his singing which gives the band a more trans-Atlantic sound. The former singer Joe Amore was a hard act to follow with his classic metal voice but Steph Honde has brought subtle changes to the bands dynamic so that fans of old will still revel in the style and sound of the band but there is an increased and far more bombastic approach and the intensity has been cranked to the maximum. Ricky Marx is exceptional with is guitar work and he produces crushing riffs and uplifting solos with so much ease and the hard and tenacious drum work of Ranzo has to be recognised too.

There is a lyrical theme to the album which revolve about the relationships we develop in life so the album is more philosophical for those with a keen ear for following lyrics but if you also want hard and heavy metal then NoN deliver this too. So the composition of the band has changed but it still delivers a most pleasing melodic rock that satisfies on so many levels. There is even a great cover of the Duran Duran classic Ordinary World and the song really works well as a heavy rock standard as well as a pop classic, a truly inspired version. This new release will please all of the old fans of the band as well as winning them many more.

III track list

  1. Intro (1:10)
  2. Two Worlds Away (6:50)
  3. Woman In The Dark (3:47)
  4.  Until We Say Goodbye (4:48)
  5. Circle Of Pain (4:50)
  6. Eyes Of A Child (7:23)
  7.  Point Of No Return (5:04)
  8. Another Story (5:16)
  9. Ordinary World (4:20)
  10. Another Chance (5:32)
  11. Afterlife (5:24)