Opera IX – Anphisbena

up_070405_operaixI thought the departure of longtime front-woman Cadaveria would have doomed this band, but it looks like I was wrong. She had a very dark and powerful voice. The kind of voice that is not easily replaceable. New vocalist “M the Bard” has a more traditional black metal delivery than his predecessor, but still manages to do an adequate job when harsh vocals are called for. Where the newer material struggles vocally at times is when they attempt clean folkish singing. Neither M the Bard nor the female keyboardist Lunaris seem all that adept at delivering this style of vocals. If they plan to retain this element in their music in the future they might consider hiring some professionals to come into the studio to assist them. Actually, according to the booklet it seems that they have brought some people in to aide them, which would explain why not all of these elements sound amateurish. Another thing that kind of bothers me is that Opera IX are from Italy, yet the folkish moments found on “Anphisbena” sound very Celtic or English in origin, at least to these untrained metal ears. I guess what I am trying to say is that they seem haphazardly placed in the mix just for the sake of adding another dimension to their overall sound, and that really turns me off. Especially when there are bands out there like Skyforger who are so very genuine about it. Anyway, if you take the light airy guitar tone of Emperor or any other early nineties black metal band add the symphonic elements prevalent in mid-nineties black metal and then top it off with the triggered drum sound of many of today’s black metal bands, you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the new Opera IX. That is of course after you add in the Folkish elements mentioned earlier. One final note; “Anphisbena” closes with a nicely done cover of Bathory’s “One Rode to Asa Bay” that should please many of Quorthon’s Viking era fans as well as his old school black metal fans since Opera IX chose to sing this song in the style that Quorthon himself pioneered. – Lance Rogers


~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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