With an artistic career spanning more than twenty years, Spanish cult band Las Novias has recently released its fourth long-length album, entitled "Invicto", and after listening to it one thing is clear: its distinctive poetry remains fresh in spite of the time passed, even it has been improved substantially over the years. Besides passion for what they do, the secret is in a particular rock formula comprised of warmly dark and expressive vocals, first-class jangly guitar melodies and rhythmical epicness to the right point, releasing energy when the choruses enter. So "Invicto" ("Undefeated") seems apt title for this record as it's coherent not only in terms of imagery, lyrics and artwork, but also with regard to the state of grace that the Aragonese gladiators are living in. Lyrically, they continue proficient in the use of Castilian (Spanish language), which is one of their strengths, and honoring their live battle-hardened status with each new concert. There are colours for every taste but, in my opinion, this is their most balanced and improvised work to date. In addition to their high level of expertise, there's a better distribution of roles and, thereby, there's enough room for every instrumental line to shine with their own light. Definitely, this has resulted in an enjoyable variety of nuances; more melodic brushstrokes, precise and loose, through which the band manages to increase the suggestive power of the songs, without affecting their anthemical driving. What awaits you here is rock broadcasted in short wave for those that feel nostalgic about the non-lived, offering an interesting contrast between lights and shadows. "Invicto" introduces the album with the batteries fully charged, coming through electrifying - never better said - riffs and Cult-esque rocking yells, while the following tune, "El León Enjaulado", reduces speed for the sake of atmosphere. Toño's signed vocal performing, expanding every syllable like shouting a war cry, as well as the shimmering string figures, make the listener's hair stands on and the rhythmical section roars loud and mournfully from behind. "Hypnos" switches between vigorous phases, commanded by pulsating bass lines, and others more ethereal, based on sleek, metallic tinkles of guitar which are perfect embodiment for the oniric theme. So it's no wonder that enthusiasts of Gothic Rock were likely to be attracted by the sound of Las Novias. As a case in point, "La Bóveda Hundida De Las Retinas" is in no way inferior to the evergreens created by Secret Discovery in the early 90s. Excellent management of the tempos and crescendos following the route marked by rolling bass thrums and addictive percussion patterns, also featuring riffs shot at point-blank range, jagged through distortions, making the counterpoint to delicate strings melodies and deep voices, with some synths giving a gloomy veneer to the whole pic. However, not every track here remains behind the shady haze. For instance, "Postales Envenenadas" (advanced single/videoclip) raises the temperature through groovy bass and danceable electronics and "Calendas De Un Fugaz Invierno" runs delightfully accesible, reminiscent of The Cure's ludic creations. Otherwise, "Venial" shows the band's rock hallmark, including a widescreen mixture of forcefulness, emotion and sonic filigree, and so applies to "Bokeh", melancholy and bleak in its slowest parts, but stirring up dense trails of white dust when the track runs at full gallop. "De Un Sorbo Amargo" conjures bittersweet memories in every verse, with cadences producing a floating sensation and Toño's affected vocalsguiding us through an eerie, yet comforting, musical limbo... There's no waste in the sonnet "Invicto"; just fluent lyricism plunging us into alternative realms and honest rock bewitching with its powerful melody.
Review by Billyphobia