Novallo are an unsigned experimental metal band from Columbus, OH founded in 2006. Their music is a unique fusion of many influences: progressive metal, modern pop, Tesseract, Periphery, and Justin Timberlake or Michael Jackson. Their 2012 self-titled EP earned them a spot on Rock on the Range, the only unsigned band on the bill, playing alongside such acts as Slipknot, Linkin Park, Godsmack and Judas Priest. This may not be for everyone, but it's definitely something you need to hear.
Novallo truly are a veritable melting pot, so much so at times that this fits more into the alternative category than metal. For me, it's kind of like Incubus, Mars Volta, Maroon 5, and Muse collided with the aforementioned Periphery. I thought Good Tiger was an interesting mash-up of lighter styles this year (and they are), but as far as pushing the ante goes, Novallo II takes the cake.
Tracks like "1 AM" with their electronica-infused pop sentiment are perfect for the radio, but the level of technical musicianship and layered songwriting makes me feel getting behind it. These aren't puppets handed a song written and composed by some side party and forced to dance for the music video. These are four dudes who took a bunch of stuff they were passionate about and managed to roll it into one cohesive, and quite frankly, fascinating project.
And those aching for something with a little more "edge" will still have their moments. Songs like "Sideways Bird" and "White Phoenix" tether the Adam Levine vocals to some seriously crunchy Misha Mansoor grooves that get a bit mathy as well. It's a union that shouldn't necessarily work, but definitely does. I mean, if we are really going to think about this, we are basically taking the jazz influences that metal appropriated and putting them back into something closer to their original context.
Ice this cake with a few metalcore vocals, some clunky bass, and a touch of piano and you've got an excellent EP from another young band. I won't lie, the metalhead in me would like to see the heavier elements come forward a bit, but only if it is not at the expense of the more unique approaches at play. In any case, I am looking forward to hearing more from these guys, and I encourage you to dedicate a measly 22 minutes to checking them out. Novallo II is available on bandcamp and costs just $5.