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Articles Home » 2010 Articles » N.O.W - 2010 Force Of Nature
N.O.W - 2010 Force Of Nature

ALBUM: Force Of Nature
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2010


LINEUP: Alec Mendonca - bass, vocals * Philip Bardowell - lead vocals * Carlos Ivan - rhythm guitars * Caio de Carvalho - lead guitars * Jean Barros - keyboards, programming * Erik Leal - drums

Special Guest: Imre Daun - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Can't Make It (How Can I?) * 02 Listen To Your Heart * 03 Lonely Soul * 04 Once That Feeling Comes Again * 05 You * 06 Idol's Grace * 07 Peace Of Mind * 08 Long Hard Way * 09 Hail Mary * 10 I'm Free (But Not Ready To Go) * 11 Midnight Call * 12 No Time 4 Goodbyes



In keeping with recent Brazilian projects from Auras and Highest Dream, we have another very good package from the project band called N.O.W. Released by Escape Music, it makes a pleasant change from all the Scandi bands that the Brit label has released of late, and though we've only got a handful of notable bands from the South American powerhouse, their rise in recent times for producing quality rock is surely a positive sign. Take this outfit N.O.W, the brainchild of bassist, singer and producer Alec Mendonca. A child prodigy, Alec was not able to commit to music during his formative years, and has only recently gotten back into his love of music. Combining with a bunch of talented Brazilian musicians, Mendonca was on the hunt for a singer who could do justice to his songs. Enter Phillip Bardowell, another singer well covered here at GDAZE through his various band participation plus solo efforts. Bardowell became a fan of Mendonca's material and agreed to sing on them. The end result: 'Force Of Nature', is a well constructed melodic and symphonic hard rock platter that should strike deep and hard into your musical sub-consciousness. However, in saying that, I wasn't totally convinced by all of the material, the latter part of the CD pulling up short in the quality stakes. Despite that, let's take a listen..

The Songs
Some great keyboard effects introduce us to N.O.W via 'Can't Make It (How Can I?)'. It eventually ends up being a pumping melodic rocker in the vein of Cornerstone or Brazen Abbot, the organ work from keyboardist Jean Barros underpins this song. It's pure AOR for the second track 'Listen To Your Heart', tinkly keys interplaying well with guitars, it really is a song that most of the GDAZE readers should take to in droves! Restrained and symphonic, 'Lonely Soul' pours emotion in by the bucketload. Acoustic guitar and piano provide delicate and subtle layers initially, before opening up to a melodic rock style similar to Mastedon. Jean Barros provides a thick backdrop of keys on 'Once That Feeling Comes Again', complimented by some strident guitar lines. Bardowell sounds like Joe Lynn Turner on this one, and in that regard, possibly a comparison to Sunstorm is in order. 'You' is a sweeping symphonic ballad, Bardowell's voice emotive and passionate, as it is on 'Idol's Grace' for a moment at least, until this one breaks out into a fast paced rocker, again JLT's material is a reference point. 'Peace Of Mind' is a longer track, at 6 1/2 minutes approx, with an extended keyboard piece at the start, it's a likeable track but probably should have been cut down a bit. The keyboard motif on 'Long Hard Way' is nice, and builds this song into a lovely construct reminding me of many recent acts. One of the better tracks on the album for sure, if not for the rock/pop interaction, particularly on the chorus. From this point, the album seems to fall away in quality - to my ears at least. I didn't quite catch onto 'Hail Mary', it tended to provide too many contrasts in style. Similarly, I'm Free (But Not Ready To Go)' shuffles along mostly, but the key components such as a strong chorus and interesting solo parts were missing. 'Midnight Call' took an age to get going, and the guitar solo sounded as if it was recorded in a back alley somewhere. In keeping with the Jeff Scott Soto tradition, N.O.W deliver 'No Time 4 Goodbyes'. It's an electric/acoustic hybrid, sort of like a workingman's Tyketto, the crescendo at the end of the solo section was a bit of an earful, especially the OTT guitar soloing going on.

In Summary
There's enough here to suggest that Mendonca and N.O.W have a future. As mentioned, not all of the songs were winners. The fact that Bardowell's vocals were bolted onto this album after all the music was put down suggests that this is not the way to put a record together. By the way, Bardowell sounds great regardless, but still.. When Alec decides to write for album #2, hopefully there are some lessons to be learned from this experience.

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#1 | Jez on May 05 2010 11:12:51
A bit of a mixed bag this one. Some nice tracks 'Peace Of Mind' and 'Midnight Call' spring to mind, but some really un-memorable stuff aswell. Bardowell sounds ok and the whole thing sounds not bad (nice keys throughout) but just lacks anything killer to lift it from the 'Very Ordinary' pile. Not much more to say on it really except not bad, but not great either
#2 | roadrunner158 on March 11 2011 12:58:24
I like this one very much - not your ordinary songwriting, but lots of interesting twists and turns. However, it could benefit from a better production and some more variation, as some of the songs sound too similar to each other.
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