Noxii Arena was founded in 2011 by three friends: Mike Ferrara, Jared Souza and Jon Camelo. In 2013 Noxii started playing as a three-piece, and wanting to expand and improve their sound, the band decided that they needed to search for more members. The band quickly caught the attention of bass player Matt Perreault. As it is with all solid metal bands, finding a vocalist that fits can be a harrowing process. After losing their vocalist for a third time, the band members became distraught and frustrated that they couldn’t reach their goals. Then vocalist Andrew Shea came along in January 2016 and provided the missing piece to complete the sound that is Noxii Arena.
At first listen, the self-titled release from Noxii Arena is what you’d expect from a northeast metal band. It has your crushing break-downs, catchy riffs, soaring solos and viscous vocals. At the outset, it has elements of August Burns Red, Killswitch Engage, Veil of Maya and even early Asking Alexandria.
Noxii Arena come out swinging with “Bred for Annihilation,” the first track on the record. Souza and Ferrara trade blows with sweeping mini solos among crushing breakdowns, giving a unique melodic contrast to Shea’s cutting vocals. It’s a track that takes you deep into a dystopian zombie nightmare. How would you feel if your loved one became a zombie?
“Queen City Inn” takes a different approach. Equally brutal as the first track, this has a more deathcore feel to it.
About 2 minutes in, the song takes a melodic turn, where a nice swelling chorus fills out the rest of the track. I think the song is in need of some vocal harmonies at this point. They would put an otherwise great track over the top.
On a track like “by the heels,” the talent of this band really is in the forefront. You can hear the August Burns Red influence here, and Jon Camelo’s drumming is showcased.
“Ziari” is the strongest track of the record with excellent melodies and songwriting, Shea’s vocals are on point, and the guitar playing is reminiscent of Shadows Fall. I definitely kept this song on repeat, and it is a fine example of where this band can go in the future.
The surprising thing to me about this band is the definite influence of older northeast hardcore. “Incepting Terror” took me back to the days of “Windmills” and “Picking up Change.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, stop reading this review immediately.
“The Pillaging” puts the final nail in the coffin. Noxii Arena has all the tools to develop into a great metal band and this an excellent effort. The talent is there and with time, this band is going to mature into one of the premier metal acts of the northeast. Be sure to catch Noxii Arena at the Fete Music Hall on Nov 19.
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