Operus - Cenotaph
Toronto, Canada's symphonic/classical-inspired heavy metal titans Operus play heavy, orchestrated metal with no boundaries, with sweeping synth and dual guitar harmonies.
"Cenotaph" is not short of any Othello or Excalibur type of atmospheres with their complex songwriting and arrangements. Musically, they're not out of this world unique, but their material definitely stands close to that of Kamelot, Nightwish and Rhapsody Of Fire. The heavy metal found here is pretty decent, mainly the orchestrated synthesizer passages really give it a nice boost of some originality, but I am waiting to see if there is any sort of a stylistic breakthrough on their next album. I'm hoping Operus will take their symphonic/classical tinged metal to even a higher level of uniqueness, which made Kamelot and Rhapsody Of Fire such big hits within the heavy metal world.
The standout track for me was the title cut "Cenotaph", with its gloomy symphonic passages, while the rhythm guitars and drumming just hammer thoughts of an out worldly realm of bleakness into the listener's consciousness. With this in mind, this six piece should be given plenty of accolades for their tight and solid musicianship throughout the ten songs on offer here. There's not a single flaw within the band's fluid style of playing, as it sounds relaxed, yet just engulfs your spirit like a hellish inferno.
Canada has mainly been known for its death and thrash metal bands: Voivod, Annihilator, Gorguts, Exciter, Razor, Cryptopsy, Blasphemy, Kataklysm, Sacrifice and many others, but Operus is adding another genre of heavy metal from Canada, which should not be overlooked, namely symphonic, classical, orchestrated heavy metal. Judging by the sextet's musical direction found on "Cenotaph", there is a huge potential do something even bigger musically with the raw musical and songwriting talents they all possess.
Overall, I did like this album due to the fact that these dudes covered some inspiring heavy music with their at times ominous-sounding symphonic metal. Highly recommended for fans of Kamelot, Testament, November's Doom, Rhapsody Of Fire, Nightwish and Ashes You Leave. Darkstar Records Sarjoo Devani