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(53:56, ‘Deafening Opera’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Her Decay 7:26 2. Tatjana 0:48 3. Dripping Hot Chocolate 6:49 4. Blueprint 7:33 5. Jericho I Am 4:53 6. 25.000 Miles 6:54 7. Paralelno 6:57 8. No Man´s Shadow 5:07 9. Porcupine Syndrome 7:29 LINEUP: Thomas Moser – guitars; vocals Moritz Kunkel – guitars; vocals Gerald Marie – keyboards; vocals Christian Eckstein – bass; vocals Adrian Daleore – lead vocals Konrad Gonschorek – drums
Prolusion. The German band DEAFENING OPERA was formed back in 2006 and released their debut album "Synesteria" in 2009, followed by the EP "25.000 Miles" the following year. "Blueprint" is their second full length production, self released by the band in the summer of 2013.
Analysis. The case if Deafening Opera is an intriguing one, at least as they appear on this album. Opening track Her Decay is one of those fairly smooth compositions that most likely would fit into the repertoire of many bands exploring the boundaries between mainstream melodic rock and progressive rock, a nice and accessible feature, but one that ultimately doesn't lave much of an impact. A brief atmospheric interlude later, and we're introduced to Dripping Hot Chocolate, a song that joyfully wanders from a retro-oriented guitars and organ arrangement to staccato, more contemporary guitar driven escapades, intermediate sequences of a more mellow and careful nature and a brief run through what sounds like a 60's garage rock inspired motif explored within a hard rock context. Quite the interesting compositions from a structural point of view, albeit lyrically a song that probably should be kept at a safe distance from any feminist movement out there. This album moved on from here with a great variety in sound, with bits and pieces that made me recall artists as different as Blue Oyster Cult, Rush and Deep Purple. For the final topping we're also treated to a fair few constellations that if not in sound then at least in construction and approach aren't too far away from the likes of Porcupine Tree. Never explored in depth or throughout the full length of a song, and never as detailed or sophisticated as Steve Wilson's main band either, but there are some themes, some arrangements and some lead motifs that contain similarities and utilize a blend of keyboards, effects and guitar riffs that makes it easy to draw such a comparison. Personally I found Deafening Opera to be most intriguing on the alternating ballad and harder edged, metal-tinged affair Paralelno, the contrasts between the two main themes striking because the vocals came across as a better fit on this song than on the rest of this disc. The lead vocals do merit a special mention here. Lead vocalist Daleore has a nice enough voice, and with some variety to his delivery too, but as someone who listens to the vocals as an instrument in its own right rather than as a provider of lyrics his at times theatrical and dramatic delivery didn't always come across as a good fit to the music. This, as so many other details in music, is a question of personal taste, of course. So for those who truly enjoy a dramatic vocalist playing out a role this description should be understood as a recommendation, while those who tend to listen to the vocals more like an instrument may consider that description a warning.
Conclusion. "Blueprint" comes across as a well planned and recorded excursion into the realm of progressive hard rock of a kind that incorporates details from the bands of yesteryear just as much as from bands of a more contemporary nature. Some of the songs also include elements with more of a mainstream hard rock origin however, and on quite a few occasions it is easy to understand that this is a band that strated out playing progressive metal. The lead vocals will most likely limit the overall appeal of this album, but for those who enjoy the dramatic, theatrical style of vocals used here "Blueprint" will come across as a well made progressive hard rock production.
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