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(38:51, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Le Siege de Verre 4:20 2. Nouveau Jour 4:32 3. L'Armee de la Paresse 8:02 4. Le Singe Malin 7:08 5. L'Homme Sans Fin 6:49 6. Mon Temps et Mon Espace Video 7. L'Armee de la Paresse Video LINEUP: Antoine Cola – keyboards, el. piano Devy Diadema – guitars; vocals Claude Montagnier – drums Jeremy Joubert – bass
Prolusion. OPRAM is a French outfit that was formed in September 2000. Five years later their debut album "Mon Temps Mon Espace" was issued, and in 2007 they released a live DVD and an enhanced live CD, the latter to be re-released in 2008 by Musea Records after they signed the band.
Analysis. It's not often that you come across music that is inventive these days, and even less often is it to discover an act that mixes high-class creativity with top notch performances and compositions. Cue French act Opram, a young and very promising act which deserves much more attention that it's received so far. Musically they move back and forth between hard rock and metal in style, with a distinct progressive and adventurous approach, quite similar to an act like Fromuz in terms of compositional structures, but with an emphasis on hard rock and metal in style and sound. The songs move effortlessly between calmer segments dominated by clean, melodic guitar licks and heavy, distorted riff patterns. In the calmer passages the guitar will even drop out from time to time, allowing the bass guitar and synths to provide the main melody and when active intricate patterns are woven just as often as atmospheric and less complex maneuvers. The metal passages are complex affairs as well, with distorted, staccato riff barrages containing clear and distinct melodic traits appearing just as often as dark, gritty and raw riff patterns, and on quite a few occasions the song will move back and forth between those extremes in style, sometimes utilizing slicker regular riffs and chords to tie these extremes in sonic output together. For a guitar-oriented and dominated affair there's not much soloing on these songs either; a few instances of atmospheric solo bursts and parts with melodic guitar soloing are present, but it seems like this band prefers to create passages where the combination of riffs and melodic guitar licks convey moods and atmospheres rather than extensive guitar soloing. The bass guitar gets its chance to deliver melodic foundations from time to time, but is mostly a part of the rhythm section on these songs. What does get to influence the drive in these compositions quite a lot are quirky and complex drum patterns combining nicely with the guitar work in the more adventurous parts of the songs. Synthesizers and Rhodes are carefully used to add nuances and textures to the songs, most times appearing somewhat subdued and dampened in the back of the mix on these live recordings. I would suspect that Cola's input is more dominant on the studio recordings, but in these live takes it's only in some space-tinged moments where the synths appear up front in the mix on this occasion.
Conclusion. This live effort by the French outfit Opram really impressed me. Those who enjoy inventive and rather complex music of the progressive variety should check out this band and this release. Highly recommended, of course.
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