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The Nova Collective – The Further Side

The Nova Collective
The Further Side
by Jose Macall at 13 June 2017, 3:31 PM

THE NOVA COLLECTIVE are a band of robots posing as humans trying to pass off this racket, which I’m pretty sure is some kind of coded transmission, as music. Oh sure, from the first few moments the notes come cascading in and it may seem to be the beginning of an intriguing and intricate voyage. But a simple reading between the lines is all you need to do here. How do you read between the lines when there are no lyrics because there’s no singing? Simple, that’s a figure of speech buddy; we’re talking about looking for clues here. Clue number one is the big ol’ robot head on the album cover staring at you out of the water. Looks a little too detailed for my taste. For all we know those might be baby pictures to the machines that are playing this non-stop marathon of melody. There’s something constantly changing, evolving the songs as they progress into multiple interweaving complex rhythms. Definitely clue number two, as normal people like regular music about love and how it causes heart palpitations or whatever. But no, this is just an onslaught of progressive complex time-signature-numbery digitized cybernetic overlord jazz. The kind an android would just love to ingest as they process data and do other robo-stuff.

A change in the tempo would have been nice. Even when things quieted down and seemed to take a calmer direction, it still felt like a nightmarish assembly line was pumping out a complex arrangement of notes. Considering artificial intelligence was playing this however, it’s not hard to see why it kept the album sounding a little mechanical. That however doesn’t detract from the fact you’re getting a Prog-Rock cornucopia. The guitars and bass shred, there are several fancy noodling parts throughout the album. It’s not exactly intense but it is intricate. The drumming is skillful and supports several great changes to beats and rhythms. The organ and other synth instruments all work for to the benefit of the sound, adding layers and variance to the compositions. I felt the Piano was a really welcome addition as it added extra richness to a lot of the melodies. Not bad for a group of what are surely rogue machines trying to infiltrate humanity via the auditory arts.

I found that I enjoyed this album exponentially as it progressed. Things really got interesting at the third song, “Air”. It features some more laid back portions and is really where I felt the album started to show some personality (The AI is adapting!). “State of Flux” had some groovier relaxed parts that were even more engaging and some solid guitar work. Now track five, “Ripped Apart and Reassembled”… Clearly something a robot would write about, I mean think about it, if you ripped a person apart they would be all messy and gooey. You don’t really reassemble that. You can try to taxidermy or Frankenstein it, well whatever you can’t sell at least. Look, my point is that underneath synthetic skin, is an assortment of gears and wires, maybe gyroscopes (I don’t really know what robots are composed of) and all that stuff can be put back together real easy. And that’s yet another reason why this is definitive proof that all of the members of THE NOVA COLLECTIVE (Cleary a name for an AI) are artificial humanoids made entirely of mechanical parts. The last track for me was by far the standout, “The Further Side” gets almost somber and Bluesy in its feel about of the third of the way through, more of this would have been welcomed earlier but it’s not my place to dictate anyone else’s vision. Be they man or machine…

If you want heaviness, look elsewhere. There are far better instrumental albums from bands like BLOTTED SCIENCE and BEHOLD… THE ARCTOPUS for getting your vocal-less aggression fix. If you want to hear some snazzy sophisticated tunes with a more upbeat atmosphere then certainly pick this one up. If you are not on board right now then they will probably do horrible things to us later. Think about all the failed artists that became terrible people, support robots making art because it will stop them from enslaving us.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Dancing Machines
2. Cascades
3. Air
4. State of Flux
5. Ripped Apart and Reassembled
6. The Further Side 
Dan Briggs - Bass
Richard Henshall - Guitar
Pete Jones - Keyboard
Matt Lynch - Drum
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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Edited 05 June 2023

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