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(59:40, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Overture 6:40 2. Sacrifice 5:22 3. Tell Me Your Lies 6:48 4. Dead Or Alive 4:30 5. No Secrets 4:11 6. Little Lies 5:58 7. Fly With Me 4:57 8. One of These Days 6:18 9. Truly Yours 5:31 10. She 6:11 11. Presto 3:14 LINEUP: Andrew Roussak – keyboards; backing vocals Oliver Weislogel – guitars; backing vocals Joe Eisenburger – bass; lead vocals Harry Reischmann – drums
Prolusion. DORIAN OPERA is a German band that was formed in May 2007. They started recording their debut album soon after forming, and in March of 2008 the album was finished. Shortly afterward they were signed to the Russian progressive rock label MALS, which released their debut CD in June 2008. Related review.
Analysis. Describing themselves as a band playing music with one leg in the progressive rock world and the other in progressive metal, Dorian Opera certainly seems to aim towards a rather broad crowd, and stating that their main influences are Dream Theater, Symphony X, ELP, Yes, Queen, Vivaldi and Bach enhances that impression. This band has some development to do to reach the quality level of their influences though, and I'll have to admit that there are quite a few of the artists mentioned I have problems finding elements of in the compositions on "No Secrets" as well. What we are served here is a mostly slow and heavy breed of progressive metal, where the Dream Theater influences in particular are noticeable in the compositions, while the approach also has some similarities with ELP - bombastic being a keyword here. Slow, somewhat quirky riff patterns served by the guitar are a constant and dominating feature on all songs here. The overall sound comes across as gritty and somewhat primitive – when riffing as well as when providing underscoring by drawn-out chords. The guitar also serves melodic licks and melody lines in the mellow passages of the compositions, and in these instances the sound is light and clear, and the atmospheric soloing as well as the neo-classical segments served also come across as clean and mostly undistorted. The keyboards are the other dominating instruments on this release, used to add floating layers in the background of the soundscape, swirling solos with a classical tinge to them, heavy organ underscoring riff patterns and adventurous keyboard soloing partially leading and partially harmonizing with the guitar - quite a few times these two instruments will switch lead back and forth in the solo sections. Drums and bass provide rhythms and to some extent drive as well, but the main facet of the rhythm section is the drum sound: big, bombastic and dominating, a sound many metal acts past and present would have liked to have, I guess. Vocalist Eisenburger has a nice but slightly weak voice, a voice that probably comes across as much weaker than it really is due to the mix and production on this album. And that aspect of this release is probably its major weakness; the mix comes across as somewhat unbalanced, and the production sounds more than a bit on the rough side. This results in a somewhat murky sound overall, hiding the details and nuances in the lower register of the music and highlighting the higher. In addition the keyboards tend to be drowned a bit too much in the overall mix, further eliminating details that would have enhanced the songs on this release.
Conclusion. There's nothing really new or original about these compositions, but the musicians are skilled and there's a lot of promise of better things to come on this release. Fans of classical influenced progressive metal should constitute the main audience for this release, especially if a somewhat weak production isn't regarded as a problem. The slow, heavy style explored should also make this a release of interest to a more generic heavy metal crowd, especially if they don't mind keyboards with their metal.
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