October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Album: The Spiders and the Butterfly EP
Label: Revalve Records
Release Date: 14th December 2011
1. Temptation Flame
2. The spiders and the butterfly
3. Merciless game
4. Forever us
5. When darkness falls
Italian band Sinheresy are a symphonic heavy metal band founded in 2009 and characterized by the use of female vocals and male clean vocals performed by Cecilia Predrini and Stefano Sain. Their music is described as symphonic metal although some material can be simply considered heavy oriented. Their debut EP “The Spiders and the Butterfly”, was recorded at the famous Ravenna’s Studio 73, and is a pure gothic metal release: the patterns of the genre are mixed and meshed up with symphonic, progressive and power elements. The EP was released fall Dec 2011 by the Italian label Revalve Records and it’s currently promoted in Europe by the label in common with K2Agency.
In short from the very beginning we are thrown head first into a wonderful array of melodically textured intros before the rich vocal beauty of Cecilia Petrini comes in with her operatic voice and really expands the musical properties of this track. Combining the gentle Piano’s, Synths, heavy drumming, powerful guitars and the most enlightening solos “Temptation Flame” is really a great opening track to what sounds like it’s going to be an exceptional album.
Jumping straight into the titled track “The spiders and the butterfly” we are introduced to arpeggiated sythns and the powerful mix between Stefano Sain and Cecilia Petrini controlling the vocals and really giving this us depths not often heard. Into the rich solos and well crafted effects “The spiders and the butterfly” gives the listener an interesting look into a cross between Nightwish (Tarja Turunen) and Within Temptation whilst remaining positively unique throughout. As we leave the track it slows down to just Petrini and Pasutto keeping melody before super intense soloing comes in to tear you a new one with a combo of sweep arpeggios and power phrasing. Back into the song for a final blast and all the instruments come back to give you another belting!
“Merciless game” opens with a groovy introduction giving your body and mind something to cling on to before Sain opens up and gives the listener an alternative array of gripping sensations to hold you tight before the beautiful characteristics of Petrini come back in for another blast of spine tingling goodness. The music is high action, fast paced, driving throughout yet keeping the listener hooked throughout.
Slowing down the pace a little we are given the beauty that is “Forever us” with Petrini singing in a highly welcomed tone above the most wonderful played pianos from Girardelli which takes you away from everything you could ever expect. As the song moves forward Sain comes in and adds to the richness of all the textures throughout simply expanding this magnificent track a little further. If we think it couldn’t get any better than this, you’d be mistaken as the solos come in to expand the harmonies beyond anything my mind was expecting to hear.
Leaving with “When darkness falls”, and the haunting melody driven Gothic based atmospheric synths demanding attention from the very start; this is enough to hold you fixed to your seat before the explosion of metal comes out of the floor to blow your head off! Throwing vocal mixes between Petrini and Sain whilst the music demands its own respect this ending song is brilliant from start to finish. There isn’t a moment where you think it’s is going on too long, actually quite the opposite, it leaves you with the “I want more” feeling.
If you enjoy the best parts of Nightwish, Epica, and Within Temptation, then Sinheresy’s “Spiders and the Butterfly” EP is really going to interest you.
Cecilia Petrini – Vocals
Stefano Sain – Vocals
Davide Sportiello – Bass Guitar
Lorenzo Pasutto – Guitar
Alex Vescovi – Drums
Daniele Girardelli – Keyboards
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Label: Bindrune Recordings
Release Date: 31 July 2012
Genre: Apalaci Folk Metal
02 On the Wind
03 Otomen’pe (Our Ancestors)
04 Haniipi-miisi (Elm Tree)
05 He Ya Ho Na
06 Pekikalooletiiwe (Instructions; an Exhoration)
Where previous releases have been rooted in the historic and ancient past, Oto focuses on the guidance our ancestors bringing us into modern times. The album title could be called ‘Ancestor’ in English. Nechochwen say: “We consider this third Nechochwen album to be a “double EP” with Side A taking an organic, acoustic route and Side B shifting to an aggressive metal assault. The focus of this album is quite simple: ancestral wisdom and Native tradition is relevant and important in our overly complex and distracting present world. Never has man been so disconnected from the very soil he walks on. Just as there are two sides to this LP, there are two sides to all of us. One is at peace with our surroundings and the other attempts to conquer them. This album is a tribute to the balanced, ancestral self.” Pohonasin: “Oto, in both conception and inception, is paradoxical in nature. It is the proverbial thread of the past thrust through the eye of the needle that is what we call the present day; a musical time machine that seamlessly shifts between two worlds that could be considered equally shrouded in obscurity. Visually, the title ‘O+O’ invokes a sense of symmetry. Like a human face, it looks equal on both sides. But upon closer inspection, symmetry is but an illusion. Each side holds its own discerning features. Such is the case with this volume of Nechochwen. Two distinctly different notes of the same chord, embraced in a confluence of harmony.”
So, what are we actually left with following that explanation?
Starting with the intro to “Cultivation” is the most well placed use of delay and artificial echoes anyone could ask for in one piece. Followed up by flamenco style playing and effects is brilliantly crazy. If you were or are a fan of Opeth or Agolloch then “On the Wind” will become one of your favourites by far, introducing elements of long choral structures and opening melodies is beautiful in every sense of the word. Taking into account the mystical feel of haunting whispers of native traditions flowing in and out of this song is amazing to hear.
Bringing in the very classical opening of “Otomen’pe (Our Ancestors)” and gentle listening is by far the greatest element here. Introducing choirs alongside a very well played finger-picked classical riff really gives you another insight into the beauty that is or are Nechochwen. Flowing directly into the “Haniipi-miisi (Elm Tree)” with the excellently placed and well written intro riff taking the music into another world and further into yourselves. If that wasn’t enough for you then add to this another well written solo guitar section featuring what feels like two harmonies on top of each other playing a melody line which is just enough to take this piece of music a little further into the soul. Before the song finishes you are given Ancestral and Native chanting to enhance this listening experience a little more, this is beyond beautiful, and is simply magnificent!
So after all the gentleness do not be fooled by the metal creeping out of “He Ya Ho Na” whilst it remains positively heavy it still keeps the Agolloch/Opeth feel to it bringing you to those ancient times. Introducing some interesting elements from the echoed growls to the screams not too distant from the greats in folk metal; this is really a great track to follow up from the rest of the album.
We leave this album with the very fast paced metal track “Pekikalooletiiwe (Instructions; an Exhoration)” bringing in the greatness that folk metal and Black Metal collectively share whilst remaining positively above the rest. From the hypnotic melody motif phrasing, to the blasting of the drums, into the pure raw feel of the vocals, gives the listener a little more to consider before a very obscure but excellently executed solo section comes in to destroy any left false sense of security you may have once held about this album. We are left with a very familiar outro to the intros we once felt coming into this album, full of grace, beauty, delight and substance to open up the listeners mind a little further.
Brilliant in every sense of the word!
Nechochwen: Guitars, vocals, flute, lalawas, hand percussion
Pohonasin: Drums, bass, backing vocals
You can stream OtO in its entirety at this location:
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Label: SBS Records
Date of Release: 31/01/2012
Genre: Galician Heavy Metal
Hometown: Vigo, Spain
1. Perfect Mind
2. Winter’s Hideout
3. Living Hell
4. The Inner Killer
6. Human Void
7. Orphan of the Dark
8. Crossing the North
Founded by Daniel Soengas, in the seaside town of Vigo, north-western Spain, Skydancer defined a unique style featuring Extremely rough vocals, melodic patterns and skilful guitar solos. In the six years Skydancer have been around they have been growing step by step to make themselves a shining name amongst the immense mass of Heavy Metal bands out there today.
With previous albums making waves amongst the global audience, Skydancer are sure set in becoming one of the forerunners of great heavy metal.
Bringing in their third album ‘WinterKiller‘, Skydancer are attempting to shape and perhaps even mould the very fabric of one’s own conscious outlook of winter and the bleak coldness that surrounds it. With the warming, yet haunting introductions featuring rich orchestral melodies and obscure patterns, follows an almost intimidating onslaught of melodic thrash metal from the very beginning.
Keeping in line with many thrash metal bands out there today holding onto the tight gritty sound that is famous within this genre, Skydancer include fast paced driven blasts of melody throughout the album whilst introducing shouts and screaming growls. A lot of the melodic metal seems to be hidden behind heavily driven thrash yet “Perfect Mind” is A-typical of the sort of expressions you would expect to see in power-metal whilst the solos are not far from the genre either. There is a lot going on in this song to slightly alter the perception of the listener.
Into “Winter’s Hideout” and melodic death seems to be missing here, although a very interesting song full of crazy patterns and techniques to confuse even the most experienced listener, this track is very defined throughout. From the super-fast paced thrash soloing to the aggressive movements “Winter’s Hideout” really opens up another possibility in music.
Into something a little more melodic now “Living Hell” with the Celtic style introduction grabbing attention to the listener before the Bach-esq motifs kick in an exemplify the track a little more. Galloping is almost a must in any metal of this sort and we are not disappointed here, whilst jumping back and forth between melodic structures before a wonderful echoed solo section takes over and slows the pace down enough to allow the Neo-Classical driven sweeping to kick in and expand the track a whole lot more than we would have expected from the start.
Into the haunting atmospheric disruptions of “Absinthe” with the well constructed pianos leading throughout before the distorted guitars come in to join this simple yet well executed piece of music. The main issue I have with this piece of music is it all feels a little too MIDI from start to finish; although there are some interesting compositional features going on here it is just lacking any depth and feeling. Bringing in the lead guitars to the mix half way through and I’d have expected a little more than what was given based on the rest of the album thus far.
Dragging you into the mind-set of “Human Void” and the technical obscurities that are going on here is definitely interesting from a guitarist’s point of view, but is it enough? Bring in the vocals after a very yawn worthy motif which by any good guitarist’s standards should have been opened up a little more, yet the vocals do give another textural possibility of an additional madness within. “Orphan of the Dark” has one of those powerful head nodding introduction lines to it which after you get past the ridiculous speed-picking scale run at the start you begin to really appreciate this song as a whole. Brilliantly executed harmony lines and melodic passages opens this song up as being one of the bests on this album so far! As you progress through the “Orphan of the Dark” everything that is good about metal is shown here from the distinctive chopping guitars to the harmonies into the choruses which have very addictive properties to them. As we expect from this track we should be heading to a unique solo and yes we are given something like that, from the delayed pitched harmonics and bar-dives to the alternative arpeggios, it is well created for the best possible effect.
We leave this thrash based melodic metal album with the very harmonic and very melodic “Crossing the North” which features everything that is interesting in this genre from the high speed tremolo picking to the thrash chopping, into the power metal motifs and back into blasts from the drums before picking up again. Add to this a bridge section of interesting broken riffs just to slightly alter things before once again speeding up and chopping through the track a little more. As far as obscure tracks go, this is up there with the best of them! There are some interesting passages throughout yet the definition is sometimes lost by all the timing changes as just as you’ve got used to listening to one part, it all goes nuts and leaves you bewildered in the dark. It could be said this is what Skydancer were trying to achieve and if so, well done, my mind is totally screwed! As we come out of the high octane riffs we are saluted with a very Maiden-esq melody which feels as we are building into something a little more exceptional, and yes, we do! Thrown back into a madness of sorts that are the obscurities of the track with all the madness combined before the inevitable mixed harmony solo sections come in to destroy what sanity you have left, assuming you had any to start with. This is definitely an interesting track!
As far as interesting albums go, this is definitely one of them. It gives you a huge mix of genres to delight your senses with before destroying anysense of understanding you may once have held. Other than that obscurities and effects a lot of the mix feels hidden behind the noise of distorted mayhem and lacks the thumping body shifting I would have come to expect. However, this is one album not to be missed or put aside for any reason.
Daniel Soengas (Guitars / Vocals)
Jose Casal (Guitars)
Daniel Díaz (Drums)
François Mendez (Bass)
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Date of Release: 15th September 2012
1. Electrified Gypsy.
3. Seeds Of Hate.
5. Square Turkey.
6. Desert Rose.
7. Sounds Like Trouble.
8. Halos At Sunrise.
Formed in late 2010, formerly Bison, from Aberdeen UK Played their first gig 13th August 2011; featuring the current and former members of Dredwater, KCHGH, Ablach, Filthpact, Risactonia, and Korpse. After only a few gigs they won both the Best Band 2012 & Best Newcomer 2012 at The Fudge Aberdeen Music Awards. Their debut, self-titled album is set for a September 15th release.
Produced and mixed by Niall Mathewson and Bisongrass at The Mill Studios, Aberdeen, and has been primed as one of the heaviest things coming out this year.
Jumping into the most exciting funky riffage with “Electrified Gypsy” from the likes of White Zombie to Sabbath we enter this first track not too far from the expressive tendencies of Jim Morrison and the Doors with a little metal growing in-between the nuances. Given the influences of this band I’d be surprised not to hear some home-grown metal creeping out of the floor and onto the shelves. “Infected” really gives us some fantastic expressions and gracefulness whilst maintaining a fixture of super-expressive metal. The solo’s are not only well textured but very rich combining all the great techniques you’d expect in heavy metal without losing too much control.
On the first bar of “Seeds Of Hate” you automatically feel your body moving along to this exhausting pounding of metal and depth throughout. The drumming from James Dron really keeps this alive and moving whilst the vocals leave you yearning for more. Again the super-expressive almost destructive soloing takes a new turn opening up another field of masochistic madness for your listening pleasure.
Slowing the pace down a little we’re given the intro to “Square Turkey” featuring rich subtle textures of the blues/rock guitars feel whilst remaining positively as strong as the previous few. For great ‘stoner’ metal this is up there with the best of them. Kicking in to the riffs and we’re thrown head first back into a little madness which is all too familiar but much loved.
From hypnotic opening riffs like “Seeds of Hate” to the “Desert Rose” you are undoubtedly shown what can be achieved with the right amount of texture and expression without going over-the-top. Keeping a perfect balance of obscurity and mayhem whilst remaining positively unique and strong is everything that is good about this album! Throwing in powerful vocal textures and guitar passages whilst the drums glue you to the floor keeping you focussed throughout.
From a not too distant past we were given the absolute best of metal from the likes of Sabbath to Geezer Butler to Rob Zombie, and now as you enter “Sounds like Trouble” you get that distinction of everything you knew and loved whilst remaining positively great in its own standing. Again giving you those superb riffs and powerful structures to the head banging drums and basses, moving you along with this excellent piece of music whilst remaining positively up there with the best of them!
Leaving the album you’re given one more blast of metal with absolutely everything you’ve heard in this album from the subtle hypnotising nuances to the intense vocals and really heavy muting from those guitars. “Halos At Sunrise” is a great way to leave what has been an absolutely great listening experience.
If you’ve never heard them before like myself I’d implore you to give it the album shot. This is slightly beyond the average stoner metal which we all know and yet opens up a few more possibilities of throwing your mind out to the music and letting Bisongrass control everything else.
Bisongrass band line up:
Mark Craig – Vocals.
Aaron Rodger – Guitar.
James Dron – Guitar.
Farmer Giles – Bass.
Taff – Drums
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Artist: Scar for Life
Album: 3 Minute Silence
Label: Infektion Records
Date: Sep 10, 2012
1. Last Crow
3. White Shades
4. Interlude 1948
5. Burn It All feat. Kari Vahakuopus
6. before the Storm
7. One More Day feat. Anne Vitorino d’Almeida
8. 3 Minute Silence
9. The Journey
10. Old Man feat. Anne Vitorino d’Almeida
11. Brave Enough feat. Ged Rylands
12. One More Day (instrumental version)
Melodic Metal band Scar for life was founded by guitarist Alexandre Santos in 2008 following his compositional work with ‘Redstains’. Creating songs from vitriolic, groovy assaults to soft acoustic pieces this band is set to make an emotional yet powerful stand. 3 Minute Silence, is the bands third album to make a shout in the world. Recorded at Pressplay Studio at the begining of 2012, features a new lineup and an handful of guests such as Violinist Anne Vitorino d’Almeidam, Finnish singer Kari Vahakuopus (CATAMENIA) and British keyboardist Ged Ryland (ex-TEN). Drummer Joao Colaco (ex-MORE THAN A THOUSAND) stepped in whilst guitarist Sergio Faria added new depth on live performances.
Starting with an ambient acoustic intro combining Spanish-feel movements we are dragged into the metal beginnings of ‘Last Crow‘ and one could quite easily mistake this for a few other great songs out there. Leonel Silva unmistakably throwing those powerful rough vocal lines in to the mix whilst Dinho and his growls carries forth a pounding of structure and brilliance not often heard in music today; With the breakdown before the exquisite solo sections you almost lose feeling of the metal before. Galloping to an extreme is always good to hear in any metal band and Scar for Life has got it down to a tee on this track. We leave with a very ‘White Zombie-esq‘ outro!
‘Metabolic‘ gives us a great example of technical melodic metal from the very start with the delayed intro to the vocals in the verses being something quite special. The guitars keep an interesting melody flowing all the way through whilst maintaining a positive influence on the music. The mixing is superb and everything is so clear, which makes a change to hear in this type of music. Into the bridge before the beautiful solos come in and open up this track into a new. We are then thrown back into the power after an interesting short ‘Pink Floyd-esq‘ sequence.
‘interlude 1948‘ breaks down the last 3 tracks and gives us a beautiful spine chilling acoustic track to take a breather to before the more inevitable poundings like that of ‘Burn It All‘ with the anthem melody lines carrying this track into its own. Another great fulfilling track full of little oddities and complexities that really makes it stand out from the melodic rhythms and lead to the blasting of the drums and not forgetting those ever-so powerful vocals.
‘Before The Storm‘ is one of “those” tracks you could listen to over and over again. With the pounding rhythms and solos that take you unto an entirely new realm, there really is nothing this song doesn’t have. I loved it, and will be playing it again.
Back into another softer track and this time we’re given the wonderful textural layers of ‘One More Day‘ with the beautiful rhythms and vocals taking you on a journey into yourself. Bring in the violins of Anne Vitorino d’Almeida and everything seems perfectly calming, this has been so well written to encompass everything. The vocals really show how much talent and creativity is flowing through this band as going from metal to this is something quite special.
Into the album track ‘3 Minute Silence‘ and you are given very groovy metal full of distinguishing features and textural expressions from the vocal changes to the musical genius that covers it. I really am beginning to understand this band and what makes them “tick” so to speak, from the gentleness of those beautiful solos to the well crafted insanely textural solos like that in this track. Another superb song on what is becoming one of the best albums I’ve heard this year!
Bring in what is possibly the most beautifully haunting track on this album ‘Old Man‘ with the wondeful expressions from the very talented Anne Vitorino d’Almeida on violins, Nelson Raposo on pianos and the backing vocals from Jane Castro with the ambient and soothing simplicities that make this track into something wonderful. Give us then a little more life and we take the violins onto a new path where the drums kick in and everything goes a little exciting for a moment. It’s always a pleasure to hear lead guitars and violins next to each other, very complimenting instead of destroying each other. The vocals on this track are just enough not to destroy the feeling, whilst the solos are again perfectly fitting throughout, I can’t argue with this at all.
Leaving the album with the last 2 tracks ‘Brave Enough‘ featuring Ged Rylands on the keyboards and the instrumental versrion of ‘One More Day‘ really define how good this band can be, not only technically superior to many bands but with a complete understanding of classical modes and ambient textures. The vocals between Dinho and Silva make this one hell of an album throughout whilst the guitarists Santos and Faria extend the feelings beyond anything you could or would normally expect to hear from one album. Maybe over 3 albums you would come across the beauty and textural intensity that lies here, but “one” album!? It is far from great, it is Brilliant!
Leonel Silva – Vocals
Alexandre Santos – Rhythm, Lead Guitars & Bass
Joao Colaco – Drums
Sergio Faria – Lead Guitars on ‘Before the Storm’ & ‘Brave Enough’
Nelson Raposo – Piano
Leonel Silva – vocals
Alexandre Santos – lead & rhythm guitars, bass
João Colaço – drums
Anne Vitorino d’Almeida – violins on tracks 07 & 10
Sérgio Faria – lead guitars on tracks 06 & 11
Nelson Raposo – piano
Jane Castro – backing vocals
Kari Vähäkuopus (CATAMENIA) – vocals on track 05
Ged Rylands (ex-TEN) – keyboards on track 11
Dinho (NEW MECHANICA) – screams & growls on tracks 01, 03 & 11
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Artist: Blood Mortized
Album: The Key to a Black Heart
Label: FDA Rekotz and Chaos Records
Release Date: November 2011
1. Unleashing The Hounds (Rick Rozz from Massacre, Death, M inc) soloing on this track
2. The Heretic Possession
3. Only Blood Can Tell
4. Dead and Rotten
5. Doomsday Architect (Rick Rozz from Massacre, Death, M inc) soloing on this track
7. To Murder a God
8. Shadow of the Quarter Sun
9. Bringer of Eternal Death
10. The Key to a Black Heart
1. Unleashing the Hounds (Rick Rick Rozz from Massacre, Death, M inc) soloing on this track
3. Only Blood Can Tell
4. Dead and Rotten
6. Doomsday Architect (Rick Rick Rozz from Massacre, Death, M inc) soloing on this track
8. Burn and Die
9. Bringer of Eternal Death
10. The Key to A Black Heart
Founded by vocalist Mattias Parkkila and guitar player Benny Moberg in Stockholm, Sweden late 2007, Blood Mortized are an unpolished Swedish Death Metal band created by veterans of the Swedish old school death metal scene.
In April 2008 guitarist Anders Biazzi (formerly Hansson) joined the band, followed by drummer Mattias Borgh in late August 2008; February 2011 saw Gustav Myrin join the ranks as the new second guitar player and in June Mattias Söderlund was drafted as the new bass player.
Into the album and you’re immediately thrown into intense death metal with a heavy introduction from the drums smashing your mind apart. With the vocal layers and breaks built in, there really is an interesting mix up of melody throughout which a lot of death metal seems to lack. An interesting first track to the album!
Blasting into “The Heretic Possession” with the guitars driving another melodic fusion of intense metal heavy enough to induce involuntary body movements is a great start to another well driven track. With the heaviness and harmonic passages throughout the vocal sections and the combo’s with the bass and drums really opening up this track you couldn’t ask for more.
Into “Only Blood Can Tell” is epic from the very start with the haunting melody lines flowing throughout this track. Even with the vocals coming in and dominating, you don’t lose that purity that could quite easily dissapear. Adding to the mass of intense music you have this overwhelming sensation to move with the music as it progresses, the drums commanding attention throughout until the solos come in which based on the first song could have been over the top, and they aren’t! It’s a “nice” well presented interesting song from start to finish.
As you progress through the album one thing appears apparent throughout and that’s how much time and precision has been taken to make this sound the absolute best it can. There doesn’t seem to be an error or even an incline of one anywhere, which in this sort of music is very easy (generally) to spot. The accuracy contained within demands attention and it’s not difficult to give the band or this album that attention. “The Key to a Black Heart” album really does define what is great about death metal!
“Rekviem” starts with one of those memorable but haunting intro’s that we all love to hear, like that of “Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’” and the classic yet memorable haunting riff that really grabs your attention from the starting pistol. After the intro you are dragged head first through the pits of your very self, and the torment you allow to grow within your minds. An exemplary execution of melodic soloing, with the drumming really expanding everything throughout here is beyond perfect, it is excellent to hear. “Rekviem” is melodically perfect whilst remaining harmonically accurate; to have these two things in one piece of music is very rare and yet brilliant to hear. We leave this track almost like we start it, in the haunting mass of no-nonsense chanting.
Let’s get really heavy now with “Bringer of Eternal Death” and if you weren’t already moving you will be now; this song is everything you’d expect in death metal from the power thumping of the bass and kicks, up to the leading riffs of the guitars into the super heaviness of those intense vocals. This track is a great reminder of how good death metal used to be, especially for the old-school metallers out there. The solo is nothing to be desired but then the song really makes up for where the solos lack depth.
We leave with the album titled track “The Key to a Black Heart” and boy what a track! If you hadn’t had enough of a blasting throughout this album so far, this track will give you your final beating. Combining everything good from the last 9 songs into one mass of madness, which sends you back to a time when music was good, when music was as demanding as it was intense and if you haven’t found it through this album then maybe you never will.
The Blood Mortized album “The Key to a Black Heart” has really brought back that greatness that was heavily driven death metal and I’ve missed it to be honest. The intensity throughout this album shouldn’t be taken with a pinch of salt; it has the means and power to blow your head off!
Blood Mortized is:
Mattias Parkkila: Vocals (Previously with Stigmata, E.G.Y.P.T and Excretion. Session vocals for Excruciate. Current side projects are Birch Mountain and Malfeitor).
Anders Biazzi: Guitar (Biazzi (formerly Hansson) was a member of early death metal bands like Patholog, Scum and Amon Amarth. Biazzi played with Amon Amarth between 1991 and 1998 and performed on the bands demos and the first two official releases).
Gustav Myrin: Guitar (Played with early death metal band Pathalog. Relased demos, three albums and toured with dirty rock & rollers Apes IQ between 2001 until 2010).
Mattias Söderlund: Bass (Recorded albums and toured heavily through Scandinavia with Swedish punk legends Charta 77.)
Mattias Borgh: Drums (A member of early old school bands such as Embryo and the newly resurrected cult phenomen Crypt of Kerberos. He is also well known for his percussive work with Arcana.)
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Artist: Opera Magna
Label: Art Gates Records
Date of Release: 30/03/2010
1. El Cuervo (Intro)
2. El Pozo Y El Péndulo
3. Un Sueño En Un Sueño
4. La Máscara De La Muerte Roja
5. Annabel Lee
6. El Demonio De La Diversidad
7. El Entierro Prematuro
8. El Retrato Oval
9. El Corazón Delator
10. La Caída De La Casa Usher
11. Edgar Allan Poe
Like that out of a fairytale or an enticing horror capturing the hearts and minds of all who dare to enter and witness the carnations from within Opera Magna’s ‘El Cuervo’ starts you off to this powerful Power-Metal album. Bring in the ‘El Pozo Y El Péndulo‘ with the high octane speed picking riffs and neo-classical passages and you could quite easily be listening to ‘Dragonforce‘ or ‘Yngwie J. Malmsteen‘. No Power-Metal album would be complete without the Bach phrasing and just before the solo here it lies, and that’s about as good as it gets. I’d have expected a little more for such a huge build up but there really is nothing special to say about it.
Into ‘Un Sueño En Un Sueño‘ with the combo’s between Synths, Choral passages, and Organs brings this piece of music in with a blast. Again we have very technical playing and techniques are flying in from everywhere, yet there seems to be a constant lack of originality throughout with phrasing taken from everything else. The clever placed choral passages are lifting to here before the gentle section begins and really opens up this piece of music. The Orchestral sequences are magical and really take you into the blast of Neo-Classical madness that comes up next from the hyper-speed picking to the sweeping and the tapping are simply divine to hear. A good track worth a couple of listens!
As you move through the tracks the music just seems to get faster and faster, and yet the one thing that remains is the power behind the vocals. It is always a pleasure to hear originality in vocals with natural accents without the modernisation or adjustment for the over-expected English language. The quality is astonishing!
‘La Máscara De La Muerte Roja‘ gives us a multitude of expressions from the typical sweep patterns but beautifully used with the unfamiliar scales and Tremolo-bar work is exceptional. One of the best songs I’ve heard for a while.
I fell in love with ‘Annabel Lee‘ from the very start with the ambient beauty in vocals combined within a mass of wonderful sounds and feelings; there really are no words for this track except “Beautiful!”
‘El Demonio De La Diversidad‘ comes in with a fury of power with enough force to knock you off your feet and possibly back into the past. Bring in the anthem qualities and you are experiencing quite an interesting song, add then if you will the overlay of the growled vocals and everything changes. I had to smile on the solo section after the initial solo as the tapping comes in; Now if you’ve ever been fortunate enough to hear ‘Sea of Lies – Symphony X‘ this is basically what you’re hearing, but it has been really well done.
In my opinion anyone that understands and can control the Tremolo-Arm with exceptional quality and precision gets a thumbs up in my books and the intro to ‘El Entierro Prematuro‘ does this perfectly. Again we’re hearing an extraordinary mix of classical power melodies with a unique twist combining galloping and muting giving it another feeling and a textural difference. The use of eastern scales and passages here open the song up into an expression of mass intelligence whilst remaining powerful enough not to lose the originality throughout as we are taken into the solo sections. Perhaps not as exciting as previous solo’s on other songs it is well placed not to overdo itself as the song is good enough not to need it. It leaves us with an interesting outro which will be much welcomed by musicians throughout mostly down to the technical side of it.
‘El Retrato Oval‘ is a very interesting use of vocal quality placed gently into one song, with the beautiful contrasts between the male and female vocals whilst the guitars and drums accompany them. Not suprising we are given a solo which if put in that position I’d have done the same, brilliantly played and not to over-the-top as this could easily have happened.
Dive Bombs have never been up there with techniques that impress me but fortunately this doesn’t last long. ‘El Corazón Delator‘ uses some obscure vocal combinations that make you question your own hearing at times whilst the rhythm guitars pound away at your mind leaving you thirsty for more. Into the solo sections of shear sweep madness and obscure sequences before the song comes back in with full force giving you another blast of musical genius. Worth taking a note with everything else that is going on in the background from the Orchestral instruments to the Bass and Drums, right up to the additional Vocals all extending this track beyond anything else.
I suppose expecting not to hear another Bach sequence was asking too much as we enter ‘La Caída De La Casa Usher‘ we are given excerpt from various sources, but put this aside as there is so much more going on. With the multiple voices riding along the drum lines to the guitars playing with harmonies and 5ths is always nice to hear before we are taken into another exceptional solo section which combines synths in a broken half tonal manner, it certainly makes this quite interesting to say the least. Is ever there was an anthem song for Power Metal then this would definitely be up there with the best of them!
Into the final track ‘Edgar Allan Poe‘ which starts of with a creepy wander through a nightmarish scene of mystical creatures and colours, opening your mind up a little further before the eastern scales come in a really give you a blasting from above. The vocal sections again are sitting centre stage with the multitude of instruments breaking in every so often opening the track up a little further. What is interesting is, once in a while you’ll hear something new that you didn’t realise was there from the Celeste to the Choirs to many, many others, that is if you don’t get focused on that perfect tone of the solo guitars which introduce new listeners into the sound and style of Mr Malmsteen and his technical sweeping whilst jumping (skipping) strings. Oh give me so Piano I hear you say, of course, hear it is and it is beautiful! Back into another powerful solo section of multiple techniques and speed picking before the Brass section takes this journey a little further down unto the pits of hell itself. From another high octane solo into the final choral section before the song takes the inevitable jump off this plane of existence we once knew as sanity.
Opera Magna’s “Poe” has it all and more!
Adria Romero – Drums
Henry Mompó – Guitar and orchestral arrangements
Javier Null – Guitar
Jose Vte. Broseta – Voices
Alejandro Penella – Bass
Ruben Casas – Keyboards
Fernando Asensi – Technical Sound and choirs.