March 26, 2020

Mark the name, as these guys are going to be huge in the progressive rock universe! This is the debut album by this UK progressive metal band formed in 2013 and they already have an outstanding EP in their locker with the quite staggering 32-minute Secondary Genesis featuring three lengthy prog metal tracks – and no, they do not sound like Genesis. The band is made up by some very high quality musicians with Vocalists Ross Jennings (Haken) and Gareth Mason (Slice The Cake) combining with Harrison White (guitar/keyboards), Dan Thornton (guitar), Cameron Spence (drums) and Matthew Lowe (bass). Together, they make a complex and ever evolving prog metal with a base seemingly built on the soundscapes of Haken, Opeth, Pain Of Salvation, Spock’s Beard and It Bites.  Jennings is tremendous on vocals and his crystal clear and focused delivery can be heard to great effect on the sublime Haken albums too. He brings his prodigious talents to Novena and combines perfectly with Mason, whose deeper and darker tones often verge on death metal type growls but just stay on the right side; a real meeting of the light and the dark if you wish.

This is one of those complex albums with so much happening and just so rich and lush that you are continually hearing something new and rewarding. Actually, if you are asked to describe just what is progressive rock then simply point them in the direction of this album as this, to me, seems its perfect summation. At 73 minutes, this is a long album of diverse and provoking rock that is challenging, rewarding and ever changing, and just when you think you have got it sussed then off they go again in another direction. Eleventh Hour is a work of total genius: just listen to Corazón and the gorgeous vocal of Luisa Santiago which closes out the track to see just how much talent this band has, or the extended closing epic Prison Walls, what a roller coaster. Their songwriting skills are immense and they have the intense musical capability to back up their imaginative and ever developing songs. I comfortably predict that this will be an album that you keep coming back to. If you want simple three or four bar rock then look elsewhere, but if you want to be challenged and pushed then get this and you will find that the rewards are so much the greater. Novena is a simply wonderful band and in Eleventh Hour they have produced an exceptional album that is an essential purchase and a future classic.