Melodic Revolution Records | Featured Album August/September 2015|
Amadeus Awad |Death Is Just A Feeling
Label: Melodic Revolutions Records
Release Year: 2015
Country: Beruit, Lebanon
Genre: Progressive Rock, Metal, Post Rock
Amadeus Awad – Acoustic, Electric & Bass Guitars, Keyboards and Orchestration
Anneke Van Giersbergen (The Gathering, Ayreon, The Gentle Storm) – Vocals
Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Guilt Machine, Stream of Passion, The Gentle Storm) – Vocals
Elia Monsef – Vocals
Marco Minneman (Joe Satriani, Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats) – Drums ( 2, 3, 5 & 6)
James Keegan (Spocks Beard, John Waite, Santana) – Drums (4)
Nareg Nashanikian – Cello
Rafi Nashanikian – Clarinet
Dan Harper – Narration
My first introduction to Amadeus Awad was 2014’s EON – The Book Of Shadows. I walked away so blown away by what I heard I thought this was his opus. Well sometimes what we think and actual reality are two different things. I believe 2015’s Death Is Just A Feeling could be his Magnus Opus. Whereas EON- The Book Of Shadows was more progressive metal in its nature, 2015’s Death Is Just A Feeling carries some of the most progressively diverse character and instrumental content I have heard since 2004’s, Pain Of Salvations – Be or 2000’s Ayreon’s The Universal Migrator Part 1 : where the Dream Sequencer was more the progressive rock side and Part 2: Flight Of The Migrator was the heavier progressive metal half. On Amadeus Awad’s – Death Is Just A Feeling you get a lot of both worlds.
The albums diversity is also properly supported by a very diverse support cast this time around. You have Ayreon himself Arjen Lucassen on vocals, Annke Van Geirsbergen vocals and Eli Monasef on vocals. This one also carries 2 world class drummers in Marco Minneman and James Keegan. With a cast like this Amadeus Awad has allowed himself a lot of creative freedom in Death Is Just A Feeling. This concept is about suicide addiction and what life is like in the one persons world who suffers from drug addiction with suicidal thoughts.This will resonate with the one who listens to it and think of themselves in the same situation.
Opia begins with a power synthesizer and guitar creating a atmospheric signature. This is accompanied by a wonderful narrative piece eloquently done by Dan Harper. The narrative is a person really on a journey of soul searching. The instrumental atmosphere is very Pink Floydian in nature. Annke’s feminine vocal gives it a delicate balance diverse off the heavily brooding narrative the intro produces.
Sleep Paralysis opens with a more progressive metal side with a killer straight away riff compounded with great time signatures and hooks that continue the journey the project takes the listener in. A some points it is almost a neo progressive metal vibe. Lyrically it introduces you to the initial effects of when a stimulant based drug begins to consume the person physically, mentally and spiritually. There are some very old school hammond/mellotron elements in the backdrop that are on point.
Monday Morning begins with a very Ayreon vibe especially carrying elements of The Human Equation and 01011001. With some killer rhythm fills from the dums and the keyboards gradually taking you into the track makes for a very easy yet perplexed listen. At times it carries some Steven Wilson type atmospheres with it.
Tomorrow Lies has a wonderful piano acoustical guitar intro with a heavy brooding bass drum rhythm progression. This carries many Floydian elements. Eli Monsef has a very unique and distinctive vocal. It often reminds me of Jonas Renske later Katatonia albums in its influence. Tomorrow Lies also contains a wonderful thought out and written orchestral section in the middle. This is followed up by a beautiful guitar solo passage. Tomorrows Lies also carries some various vocal effects that perfectly compliment the orchestral sections.
Lonesome Clown a unusual flamingo style acoustical vibe as it opens. This is supported wonderfully by Annke’s chant like vocals that are used more as a instrument. Amadeus Awad executes a double overdubbed vocal of Anneke in this one making her sound like many more than one. The vocal is almost choir like in nature while maintaining the lead vocal integrity. Then the track takes on a various series of neo progressive time signatures and hooks. This is followed by a beautiful bass guitar rhythm drum combination before going into a nice guitar solo. Lyrically it is as if the person is finding a way of escape from their predictimanet.
Temporary effectively ends the concept in the arrangement. It opens with a wonderful cello section on top the semi acoustical vibe. Arjen Lucassen soon comes in with his distinctive voice. Temporary carries a very Beatle-esque atmosphere to it. The clarinet solo is beautiful in the middle section. Temporary is the most orchestral based track on the concept that sounds like a symphony orchestra throughout the track.
There is track 7 – Time of The Equinox and track 8 – Poetry of Time that are pre order bonus tracks that effectively wet the curiosity of the listener waiting on Death Is Just A Feeling. While both are still heavily armed with orchestral atmospheres, Time of The Equinox is strictly instrumental while Poetry of Time contains lyrics.
Not since 2004’s Ayreon – The Human Equation where Me is in a coma for 20 days evaluating his life in his psyche, have I heard such concept with such personal conviction attached to it. Death Is Just A Feeling is a very emotionally driven and heavily atmospherically armed concept with many twists and turns within the human experience. Many feel this is possible Album of The Year material for 2015. I have to agree it is a strong heavy contender for it. I give this a 5/5 .