[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. The Bonfires 4:18 2. Ventis Rem Tradere 5:56 3. A Walk After Dark 6:43 4. Times 8:39 5. Miss Gee 4:41 6. What is That Sound 7:40 7. If I Could Tell You 2:32 8. Mirrorcle 9:46 9. Another Time 5:02 10. The Witnesses 8:42 11. No Change of Place 6:47 All music: by Leif & Kent. All lyrics: by W. H. Auden & Anders. LINE-UP: Leif Olofsson - synthesizers, organ, & electric piano Kent Oloffson - bass, electric, & acoustic guitars Anders Oloffson - drums & percussion Hakan Nilsson - vocals Produced by Opus Est. Engineered by Kjell Andersson at "Radio Blekinge".
Prolusion. Sweden's Opus Est was a short-lived band from the first half of the eighties, and "Opus I" is their only album. However, there are rumors about a reunion, the main purpose of which is to release another album consisting of their old unreleased recordings and new ones as well.
Synopsis. "Opus 1" is a product of its time. Its creators, Opus Est, are among the brightest representatives of the 'new' Progressive Rock generation appearing in the beginning of the 1980s, and all the main tendencies typical for the genre at that time are reflected in the band's music. The album features eleven tracks, almost all of them representing a high-quality theatrically dramatic Neo Symphonic Art-Rock with lots of elements of Classic Progressive. The style is both inspired and influenced by the most influential band in the history of the genre, Genesis, in general and their first two post-Gabriel albums: "A Trick of the Tail" and "Wind & Wuthering" in particular. To be objective, though, the band's approach to composition and arrangement, most of the vocals, organ and synthesizer evoke vivid associations with Genesis, whereas the electric piano solos, and especially those of drums, electric, acoustic, and bass guitars appear to be original. By the way, Kent Oloffson is a much better bassist than Mike Rutherford, while his 'drumming' brother Anders is by all means on par with Phil Collins. I'm not kidding! Furthermore, it goes without saying, I refer to Phil's mastery displayed not only on Genesis's albums, but also those by Brand X. Opus Est is generally quite a masterful band, and the performance they showed on their debut is very solid. Back to "almost all", Times (4) is the only track here that is free of any influences, which, though, isn't the only feature, which distinguishes it from the others. As if composed and performed by some unknown 'titanic' band from the seventies, it is much more complex, diverse, and: heavier than any other track on the album. This cut represents Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with pronounced elements of progressive Hard Rock, making it an absolute winner. Overall, the album doesn't contain any weak tracks.
Conclusion. While Marillion's "Script for a Jester's Tear", "Fugazi" and IQ's "Tales from the Lush Attic" surpass "Opus 1", this effort is nevertheless better than many 'classic' Neo albums released in the first half of the eighties. Those interested in knowing more of the development of Neo Progressive should be much enjoyed with Opus Est's recordings.
VM: December 7, 2003
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]