Dave Imbernön's SCALP: José Rubio's Nova Era, "Nova Era" (Leyenda Records, 2012)

Hello metal mates, I have in my hands the album titled "NOVA ERA", by José Rubio's band... JOSÉ RUBIO'S NOVA ERA. This band, settled in Orense (beautiful Spanish city in the north west of the country) recorded this album with the following line-up: Ronnie Romero (vocals), José Rubio (guitar), José M. Valugo (keyboards), Emilio Bande (bass), Juanjo Pérez (guitar) and Brais Afonso (drums). 

Production and mastering were made by José Rubio himself and the record has been released through the label Leyenda Records.

Well, to the point...
'Pains of Hell' opens the album. We find the essence of a good modern metal track: good vocals, with good choirs and vocal arrangements; warm, surrounding voice melodies; very catchy horuses, I find the production very suitable and there are magistral details in the guitars. Rhythm guitars don't get lost, the guitar solo is a bit short to me but I like it a lot. Very good performance of the track. We start with a fighting spirit...

"My Own God" is the following song, which starts with a keyboard matress that leads the rhythmic walk of powerful guitars. We go on with a richer cadence until Ronnie enters with his characteristic voice... I close my eyes and listen to a powerful German band... I open them and I see great musicians who play in Spain. The melody of the vocals is very nice, the guitar solo is pure Centre-European style, very technical and supported by a good base. I start to believe...

The pleasant sea waves start "Nova Era". It's an instrumental track where they've taken good care of the details, with quite nice bases, long notes and a slow rhythmic-harmonic base, very suitable the sound chosen for the guitars, which create a very pleasant atmosphere. I like this song a lot, it reminds me of Satriani in his most ambient moments. The track becomes powerful, distressing, it gains depth from 3:33 and on, the same speed as the previous one, but doubling the guitars, adding more intensity... A beautiful track with very effective melodic lines. Here is where you realize you're listening to one of the best Spanish guitarists, in spite of some people denying that.

With "Lights And Shadows" I travel to Celtic lands... Great orchestration, real, in the most pure Celtic style. The track follows that line, but with the strength of metal as a releasing motor. The machine works perfectly, a strong structure with good changes, voice melodies match up to these and Celtic details, impressive. I love those changes... Great track...

Darkness makes its way in my room... The fuses of the house blew.

"Time" is a instrumental song that shows the most progressive side of the album, a good track with interesting technical details in guitars. Drums chosen in certain parts of the song don't please me too much, specially in the rhythms where they seem to stay behind. A pity, because everything else in this track is amazing, with all sort of technical details.

"Necromancer" goes into action. Great track where the power of Ronnie's voice shows up again. You can appreciate good creative quality details in keyboards, spectacular riffs, good changes and a spectacular solo which doesn't leave me indifferent. Listen to it and tell me...

"In My Dreams" is the next instrumental track. It starts smooth. I know this can hurt some sensitive ones. Cover your eyes, kids and  expert member of tertulias from 'professional' websites: to me -and I remark, 'to me', it's one of the best instrumental tracks I've ever listened to. I close my eyes and let myself go, I can't explain it and that's the magic of music, the 'not being able to explain' something as simple and so complex at the same time. Tremendous. You have to listen to it, seriously.

"On The Road" is another instrumental song, and this time in the purest 'playful' Satriani's style. A track with a very good taste, with very good details besides the strength in the riffs and specially in those melodies of crybaby and playful guitars. Really, very good.

A keyboard in the mist starts "To The End", guitar starts telling us a story. I like it, I adore the sadness in well-played guitars, a good keyboard plays in a progressive way with a Celtic air. Great performance of keyboards (I connect my 'envy mode'...). A track with heavy riffs -this is metal, gentlemen, there's no room for silly things. Very good vocal lines, I love the tremendous ending in this track, from the solo and on, it's very good in general.

"Galiza (In My Heart)", an atmospherical ambient background is the matress for a beautiful introduction in Galician language by Carlos Reboreda. After this and with a soft, epic, instrumental background, guitar shows its feelings. A good ending to this magnificent album.

I have to say this album has delighted me. Despite it being a project mainly focused to exalt the guitar, I think José Rubio, as a producer, has known how to value the sum of the rest of instruments, creating a very good record. 

The couple José Rubio - Ronnie Romero is spectacular. Tracks with a good punch, even the instrumental ones, being it so hard to make an appealling instrumental song which is not repetitive until the end. Voices... amazing! I think Ronnie has an impressive voice and does an excellent job in the album, he gives even more value to this great record -although, in my opinion, I'd like to see him in some other registers, because I think he can also be very versatile.

Another detail is including luxurious collaborations: Andrés Cuns, Rubén Velázquez with his whistle, Carlos Campos and his great violin, Alfonso Prada and  Carlos Reboreda.

More keyboards would make the album even greater, there are amazing keyboard details in this record. I'm one of those who think you have to make the most of the resources you have: if you have keys, make optimum use of them; that's not going to to make prominence of the voice or the guitars decrease. But I have to say the keyboards I listen to in the album are performed without a flaw -Wish I could play like that some time in my life.

I would like the drums more if they were a bit more emphasized, not in volume, but in depth and pressence.

In short, I honorably recommend the acquisition of this Spanish metal record, and I'm looking forward to seeing these people live and see how they defend this awesome album they've recorded.

Dave Imbernön
Translation: Judith Sáez