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(36:52, 'Opus Symbiosis')
TRACK LIST: 1. Solar Clouds 4:59 2. Tales from a Whispering Society 7:17 3. Meanwhile 6:19 4. Empty But Not Completely Infoless 7:50 5. Heads & Tails 4:44 6. Artefacts of the Gardener 5:43 LINEUP: Christine Sten vocals Victor Sagfors guitars Jafet Kackur bass EH Lillkung drums Staffan Stromsholm keyboards
Prolusion. The Finnish band OPUS SYMBIOSIS was formed back in 2003 by Victor Sagfors, Jafet Kackur, Christine Sten, Michael Rosenback and Roger Edstrom. A few line-up changes later and after constantly working towards creating a unique and new sound, the band hit the recording studio to create their first album. The final result was issued as a self-titled album in the spring of 2009.
Analysis. Opus Symbiosis is a band that not many would probably describe as progressive if based on an initial reaction. Their chosen style is heavily inspired by indie and alternative rock, and the dominating elements of their musical endeavors tend to overshadow the aspects of their compositions that mark them down as belonging to the multifaceted progressive family of artists. In this case we're dealing with a band residing in the borderline between pop art and art rock. The guitars dominate the proceedings throughout, with staccato riff bursts and swirling melodic textures as the main expressions utilized. Sound and intensity range from mellow and subdued to rough and energetic, with brief circulating motifs and recurring themes as distinct aspects of the compositional structure. The latter also contain enough shifts in pace, intensity and sound to satisfy most prog fans as far as song constructions go. Spicing up the instrumental part of the proceedings are distinctly psychedelic-inspired guitars, most often given a subservient role both when used as an underlying theme in the vocal parts as well as when providing a harmonic or subtly contrasting layer to the main soloing theme in the instrumental passages. And as far as stylistic expression goes, jazz-influenced sequences are another feature found on a select few occasions, adding a further dimension to this bands chosen style. Soaring on top of the instrumental excursions we find the strong, distinct and high class vocals of Christine Steen. In a band featuring some very good musicians, her contributions are of a high enough quality to stand out, and she should have a bright future ahead of her as a vocalist. The end result is an accomplished and strong debut album, where high quality mix and production underline the high quality of this recording.
Conclusion. Incorporating strong influences from indie and alternative rock within a progressive rock framework, I presume that Opus Symbiosis is a band that will draw attention from both progressive and mainstream-oriented music aficionados. As far as the former goes, I'd imagine that those with a soft spot for bands like Muse, Coheed & Cumbria and Radiohead might be ones who will feel most familiar with the musical proceedings in this case, but fans of contemporary psychedelic progressive rock might also find this band and album to be of interest.
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