OPEROSE is a new symphonic progressive metal band from the United Kingdom, featuring the voice of rising opera sensation Jennifer Coleman.
How would you describe your new album Musically? We really took the feedback from the first album on board and as such OCEANS OF STARLIGHT is a lot more commercial and in line with what is expected in the Symphonic Metal genre. The debut possibly tried too hard to be different and it was, therefore, important to transform what was a classical/metal cross over concept into a fully-fledged symphonic outfit. Experienced musicians were added to the line-up and production team and a lot of work went into writing new tracks. The end product is heavier with a lot more symphonic elements and variety. The whole album tells a story from start to finish and work also went into making sure there was space for the listener to take a breather rather than being bombarded with heavy track after heavy track.
And please tell me something about the lyrical concept of the album: One thing that did work well in the debut was the concept story, paying tribute to the Opera theme of the band. We, therefore, wanted to involve the fans and held a vote for them to decide what the lyrical concept should be for our new album. It was a landslide victory for Cleopatra. We then based the whole album on this and focused on the Battle of Actium and subsequent demise of Cleopatra.
How long did it take to record and write this album? The whole process was a little over a year. After identifying that we wanted to work with Markus Teske for the production, we booked a realistic studio slot that gave a year deadline to write and record everything. I actually tend to commission the artwork first as it always inspires me to write music that fits the concept. We recorded the vocals at the end in August 2019 before being mixed and mastered in Germany in September.
What was the goal of making this album? The ultimate goal of this album is to be enjoyed and accepted in a fantastic symphonic metal genre and we really hope it achieves this. The first album was about trying to do something different in a crowded genre, this was about showing we can still be unique but in a way that is true to the genre. We are hoping it resonates with a lot of new fans, especially as the vocals are catchier and layered more with a bigger overall production. The debut deliberately had a solo tracked vocal to be in line with a more classical genre but it has been layered where necessary on this album to add more dynamics and suit the new sound we wanted to achieve. The whole dynamic of guitars and vocals also collaborates more rather than competes, which was a challenge at times in the debut.
What would you say are your musical Influences? The album is maybe not as progressive as the first and was trying to take inspiration from many sources. Prog is my go-to genre but some great symphonic bands such as Nightwish, Kamelot, Amberian Dawn, and Stratovarius no doubt inspired. Many classical composers also played a huge role in the neoclassical instrumental track to close the album.
How have band member changes affected the band’s sound and dynamics i.e. what have the new members brought to the band? The new members made an immediate impact, bringing experience and fresh impetus. We recruited Steve Hauxwell as a new drummer and Mike Bridge in on bass and I felt it very important to give them free reign to add their own stamp onto the tracks and it worked very well. The sound is so much bigger than the debut with regards to production but the performance also benefited from the fact that we each had clear roles, time and space to add value to the tracks.
TRACKLISTING: 1- Battle Swan 2- Oceans of Starlight 3- Lost Horizon 4- This Life of Mine 5- Nothing Left 6- On Sleeping Tides 7- Octavian 8- The Actium Suite
When you hear the word ‘Symphonic’ tied to anything in the progressive metal or rock communities your automatic preconceived notion is something over the top. Other general notions are it is heavy laden with choirs and backed by a orchestra of sorts. While most of those qualities do exist for the majority of ‘Symphonic’ music it is not really the situtaion with Canada’s Evereal. It would appear that the members of Evereal have taken a more basic and modest simplicity in their approach with their self titled debut album. You could say ‘Less is much more’ with their self titled debut.
Since this is a new band on the global music scene here is a brief biography courtesy of the bands official website, Facebook and ArtistEcard profile.
Evereal started as a studio project born of the writing process. Evereal was created by Guitarist Stephen Roberts in 2011. The concept was to recruit musicians to write and record music with emphasis on groove and melodic content utilizing symphonic qualities, The band went through several roster changes over those first couple years, then along came keyboardist David Bevis and singer Stephanie Neufeld. It was now the Evereal project began to take shape. They quickly recruited Drummer Rob Queen and Bassist Gord Esau to solidify the lineup. The group now finds themselves working towards the end goal of creating music of complexity, while retaining groove within the layers of symphonic sound. The end result is Evereal. The band launched a successful kickstarter campaign that saw the band raise $10,000 towards completion of their debut album. This was followed by a worldwide distribution and promotion deal with 7Hard records Germany (part of the 7US media group). The CD is scheduled for release in January 2017.
I believe it was this ‘Grass Roots’ spirit of self financing and fan financing the album that led the band to the appropriate mindset to keep the album in its most modest, simple and humble for. This also allowed the band to have some product by which they could perform on stage in a live setting and perhaps be invited to tour or participate in the global progressive rock/metal or other festivals. Now let me get to some highlights off every track on Evereal’s self titled debut.
Psycho opens up with a very strange spoken word section that is working in tandem with a very abstract guitar chord progression. Then there is some thunderous rhythm section until the vocal comes in. The vocal on the main verse and chorus is very ethereal in nature. This is a straight away modern progressive metal track otherwise. It definitely sets the rest of the album up for a listening journey.
Frost Sign begins with a very beautiful piano before being accompanied by the lead guitar and a full chord progression passage. The vocals remain on point both crystal clear and on perfect pitch. This track is a very rhythm section based track where everything from the vocal to stringed section follow the lead of the rhythm narrative. It even does so when the guitar solo comes in. Stephanie Neufeld – Vocals, sounds like a beautiful hybrid of Liv Kristine meets Sharon Den Adel of Within Temptation.
Caution starts out with a spoken word section. Lyrically this song is loaded with a great deal of social and political commentary. The instrument narrative goes in and out from a down tempo with symphonic atmosphere’s. The harder portions are very rhythm section based driving th track. Both the atmospheric and heavier instrument portions run in a good tight harmony with one another. The guitar solo’s are heavily atmospheric laden as well.
Sinful opens up with a lush isolated piano passage almost ballad like. The track progressively builds towards the heavier elements of the song. There are some nice breaks between heavy and symphonic atmospheres that allow the track to breath for the listener. The bass serves both as a melodic and percussive instrument as well. This track is well executed in the album arrangement as a collective and in the perfect spot.
Veil starts out with some nasty verbal manipulation effects before exploding into a thunderous rhythm section. The down tuned bass and guitar give the track a lot of attitude that sometimes lacks in progressive metal. It is down right crunchy, whereas some modern progressive metal relies more on tales of fantasy and escape. This track does not do that and the attitude is a welcomed change. This reminds me a lot of a progressive version of Lacuna Coil.
Wish opens up with a nice isolated guitar that is met in harmony with the vocal. For a band only relying on five members, this track sounds like it was done with both a heavy orchestra and symphonic choir. David Bevis – Keyboards & Orchestration, really knows the true meaning of minimal effort, maximum distribution. This track gives me the audio appearance that I am sitting in a concert theater listening to its acoustics flow in and out of that hall.
Darkness begins with a keyboard passage in harmony with the lead guitar. The chord progressions develop a passage where the band can begin to build from. This track continues the bands simple symphonic spirit. By time you get to this track you begin to notice that objective. The symphonic orchestration and effects really do give this song a depth of darkness. The addition of the male death growls lend a heavy handed attitude as well.
Anger opens up with a very beautiful Arabic/Middle Eastern Oriental scale. This is met with a thunderous rhythm section. It is almost like listening to a Myrath with a female vocalist. That Arabic scale really carries the backbone of the song. This also goes towards the band executing well with what they have to work with. The band even experiments with various vocal echoes on top that symphonic and Arabic elements.
Scars starts out with a wide open guitar shred. This track is very up tempo almost taking on chord progressions heard in neo-classical power metal. The track drops for a break and lays the vocals over a beautiful keyboard atmosphere. It is simplicity the band really creates a very complex arrangement on this song. Even some light thrash metal elements come into play on this one.
For a band that crowdfunded this album and had very little to work with in way of equipment and production costs, Evereal certainly made a very powerful first statement as a band. This is a band that really knows how to execute quite well with very little. Evereal is a more Euro flavoured metal with a North American sensibility. All its members did a great job for a debut album. This will certainly be a tool to help them get their feet further in the door of the Symphonic Progressive Metal community. I will give this a 4.5/5.
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