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.