Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

rock opera

CD review THERION "Beloved Antichrist"

Veröffentlicht am 12. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Therion, Beloved Antichrist, Rock Opera, Nuclear Blast, News, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal

CD review THERION "Beloved Antichrist"

(7/10) Therion has a long history in metal. Founded by Swedish multi-instrumentalist Christofer Johnsson, Therion began as a death metal band before slowly shifting toward symphonic metal. After having released a debut album in 1991, entitled "Of Darkness...", Therion released another 14 longplayers with number 15 being the brand new "Beloved Antichrist".

Johnsson and friends' newest strike is an ambitious one. "Beloved Antichrist" is not just an album. It's a three CD comprising rock opera, inspired by Vladimir Soloviov's "A Short Tale of the Antichrist". The entire plot is split into three acts, one per CD. To transfer the story in the best possible way, Johnsson was in need of different voices for 30 different roles and characters. To solve this challenge in the best possible way, Johansson worked together with many different singers, vocalists like Thomas Vikström, Lori Lewis and Chiara Malvestiti ... to just mention some.

"Beloved Antichrist" is a masterpiece when it comes to storyline, creativity and complexity. To create such an album is more than just writing songs. It's intensive work that transfers motions of characters into music. Therefor it's also a mission impossible to pick some songs out of the context. It just doesn't make sense since this 3-CD package is a Gesamtkunstwerk and also needs to be seen like that.

No doubt, "Beloved Antichrist" is an epic and ambitious project that grew over the past years to an impressive and challenging milestone. Next to excellent musicians and a perfect production, it's the running time of three hours that is far beyond average. Unfortunately it's the three hours that makes the album a bit lengthy. It's a real challenge to keep listeners excited over such a long time, esp. in a fast moving world with a span of attention that becomes shorter and shorter every year. After having gone through the first CD I had the feeling that I've heard it, but there were two more to go. Again, there is a lot of superb work done that asks for a lot of respect. However, the final spice is missing. "Beloved Antichrist" is like looking on the endless flow of a river surrounded by beautiful nature. The entire picture is an awesome composition but if you focus too long on the river it stays a flow of water that's pretty much of the same thing only different. That's the impression I got while listening to Therion's rock opera.

To sum up: "Beloved Antichrist" became a monumental release that offers a lot of music, composed and performed by exquisite musicians. Each song itself is a little masterpiece, but it's the quantity of music that's overwhelming and a bit too much. A real curveball.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

Act I

01. Turn from Heaven

02. Where Will You Go?

03. Through Dust, Through Rain

04. Signs Are Here

05. Never Again

06. Bring Her Home

07. The Solid Black Beyond

08. The Crowning Of Splendour

09. Morning Has Broken

10. Garden Of Peace

11. Our Destiny

12. Anthem

13. The Palace Ball

14. Jewels From Afar

15. Hail Caesar!

16. What Is Wrong?

17. Nothing but My Name

Act II

01. The Arrival of Apollonius

02. Pledging Loyalty

03. Night Reborn

04. Dagger of God

05. Temple Of New Jerusalem

06. The Lions Roar

07. Bringing the Gospel

08. Laudate Dominum

09. Remaining Silent

10. Behold Antichrist

11. Cursed By the Fallen

12. Resurrection

13. To Where I Weep

14. Astral Sophia

15. Thy Will Be Done!

Act III

01. Shoot Them Down!

02. Beneath the Starry Skies

03. Forgive Me

04. The Wasteland of My Heart

05. Burning the Palace

06. Prelude to War

07. Day of Wrath

08. Rise to War

09. Time Has Come/Final Battle

10. My Voyage Carries On

11. Striking Darkness

12. Seeds of Time

13. To Shine Forever

14. Theme of Antichrist

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Rock Opera

Release Date EU: February 9th, 2018

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ELOY announces a new album

Veröffentlicht am 18. Mai 2017 von Markus W. in Eloy, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, News, Rock, Rock Opera

German progressive rock dinosaur Eloy will return in 2017 with a new album. It's a rock opera called "Jeanne d'Arc" and the album faces a release date on August 25th.

ELOY announces a new album
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AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session

Veröffentlicht am 30. April 2017 von Markus W. in Arjen Lucassen, Ayreon, News, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Mascot, Paagman, Den Haag, Rock, Rock Opera

AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session

Ayreon's mastermind Arjen Lucassen was on a small signing tour through The Netherlands this weekend. After having had a stop in Venlo, Breda and Bergen op Zoom (all Dutch cities), the guitarist invited for a signing session in Den Haag on Sunday April 30st

Before signing all kinds of Aryeon and Star One items, the guitarist talked openly about the effort of creating the newest album - a 365 days and 24/7 exercise that led to a fantastic result entitled "The Source". Also the planned live shows in September have been part of the talk that took place prior to the signing session. In the beginning it was one show at 013 that stood on the list but was quickly extended to three shows - all sold out within no time. Unfortunately no extra shows can be added. This has mainly to do with the fact of an huge organisational pre-work to safeguard a participation of as many as possible Ayreon guests and friends.

Listening to this extra class musician was a pleasure. It's amazing with how much passion and humbleness Lucassen talked about Ayreon and his dedication for music, all very much appreciated by fans that made it to this extraordinary session.

AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session
AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session
AYREON's Arjen Lucassen signing session
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CD review DREAM THEATER "The Astonishing"

Veröffentlicht am 3. Februar 2016 von Markus W. in Dream Theater, News, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Rock Opera, Concept

(8/10) Dream Theater enters almost new territory with their new double header "The Astonishing". It's the second time that the New York-based band releases a concept album that is, this time, spread out over two CD's ("Scenes from a Memory" has been the first concept album). In total 34 songs, some of them are more interludes than full songs, found a spot on the setlist.

The story, told on "The Astonishing", is a kind of futuristic tale that takes place after the breakdown of society. Things developed backwards after such a collapse and old, almost medievil, structures have been re-developed. Such a story of course demands a hero which, in this case, is a young guy that gives hope to the people by music. In this context the new longplayer can stand in line with rock operas like "Tommy" and "The Wall", not only when it comes to the story, but also when it comes to way the tunes are written and put together on the album.

This story is the base for such an ambitious musical package that is combining a lot of Dream Theater moments on one release. The sound and the expertise of the five-piece is predestinated for such a challenging album. Dream Theater increases the width of the their sound on this double CD by even experiementing with bagpipes sounds, electronic moments and James La Brie also discovers the 'evil' spectrum in his vocal range, moments when he sound rough and menacing. I'm not sure if this would have been taken place if the story would have screamed fior it.

All this enriches the album since it unveils new details each time you listen to it. "The Astonishment" is everything, but for sure not musical fast food. The record is more a eight couse dinner that demands time and asks for attention. Some of the dishes are well known, some incrediences are newly combined and some things might not fir your taste. Anyhow, "The Astonishing" unveils various shades of Dream Theater's trademarks.

An introduction called "Descent of the Nomads" opens the first chapter of this more than 2 hours long story, followed by a dramatic number called "Dystopian Overture". It's an instrumental that could be also taken from a movie soundtrack.

After such a non-vocals beginning James LaBrie gets his first 'scene' with "The Gift of Music", a quite melodic moment accompanied by a certain ease. Compared to this more Dream Theater typical song structure, "Lord Nafaryus" has a far more rock musical-like expression. Songs like "Brother, Can You Hear Me?" follows the same pattern which underlines the rock opera atmosphere of this longplayer.

Silent tracks are present on "The Astonishing" (Act of Faythe") as well as electronical interludes that are popping up here and there.

Tunes like "Three Days" combine drama with complexity and very melodic vocallines. "The Road to Revolution" brings together all these elements too and the result is a great tune with big soundscapes.

The main songwriters for "The Astonishing" have been John Petrucci and keyboarder Jordan Rudness. That's something that can be heard back on the album by some quite hard riffs as well as reoccuring piano parts and keyboard foundations. Actually I had a few moments, thinking that some of the songs sound like Dream Theater meets Savatage/TSO.

The sound of "The Astonishing" is very well done. The record got a clean and organic production, in which each of the instruments gets its space. Sometimes the production switsches into being more cold and technical, just as demanded by the storybook.

Dream Theater's new album brings more than 2 hours of finest Dream Theater music to your home. "The Astonishment" is an album that might be perceived controversially but it contains, without any doubt, a lot of great songs. It might became a bit long but if you handle it like a 2 hours movie rather than a 'normal' longplayer, then you will explore, step by step, the beauty of each of the tunes. All in all, the album is a brave step that shows Dream Theater in a partly new manner by still being 100% Dream Theater.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

Disc: 1

  1. Descent of the Nomands
  2. Dystopian Overture
  3. The Gift of Music
  4. The Answer
  5. A Better Life
  6. Lord Nafaryus
  7. A Savior in the Square
  8. When Your Time Has Come
  9. Act of Faythe
  10. Three Days
  11. The Hovering Sojourn
  12. Brother, Can You Hear Me?
  13. A Life Left Behinbd
  14. Ravenskill
  15. Chosen
  16. The Tempting Offer
  17. Digital Dischord
  18. The X Aspect
  19. A New Beginning
  20. The Road to Revolution

Disc: 2

  1. 2285 Entr'acte
  2. Moment of Betrayal
  3. Heaven's Cove
  4. Begin Again
  5. The Path That Divides
  6. Machine Chatter
  7. The Walking Shadow
  8. My Last farewell
  9. Losing Faythe
  10. Whispers on the Wind
  11. Hymn of a thousand Voices
  12. Our New World
  13. Power Down
  14. Astonishing

 

Label: Roadrunner Records

Genre: Prog Metal

Release Date EU: January 29th, 2016

CD review DREAM THEATER "The Astonishing"
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"The great lie" - a new rock-opera from MELTED SPACE

Veröffentlicht am 3. August 2015 von Markus W. in Melted Space, Morbid Angel, Mayhem, Dark Tranquillity, Heavy Metal, Rock Opera, Rock, News, Classic

MELTED SPACE is the creation of French composer Pierre le Pape, who bears a master degree in classical music and movie scores, here creating a modern opera that takes over the classical codes, including numerous characters, scenario, powerful orchestral arrangements and varied ambiances, all set to skilled and catchy songwriting and amazing casting. The new MELTED SPACE album, The Great Lie, features fourteen prestigious and unexpected singers, joined by seven talented guest musicians and The City of Prague Philarmonic Orchestra. Together, this cast has created an epic saga as powerful as moving, and by mixing the tradition of the classic opera with infectious heavy metal, The Great Lie promises to set a new milestone in the genre.

The guestlist is impressive:

David Vincent (Morbid Angel), Attila Csihar (Sunn O))), Mayhem), Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), Ailyn Gimenéz (Sirenia), Kobi Fahri (Orphaned Land), Mariangela Demurtas (Tristania), Guillaume Bideau (Mnemic), Niklas Kvarforth (Shining), Sylvain Coudret (Soilwork), Adrien Grousset (Hacride), Christine Rhoades (Jeff Loomis), Manuel Munoz (The Old Dead Tree), Arnaud Strobl (Carnival In Coal), Clémentine Delauney (Visions Of Atlantis), Virginie Goncalves (Kells)

 

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"Everyman" - a new rock opera with VANDEN PLAS

Veröffentlicht am 18. Februar 2015 von Markus W. in Vanden Plas, Prog Rock, Rock Opera, Rock, Prog Metal, Hardrock, News

Andy Kuntz and Vanden Plas are known for musical excursions into fields of rock opera. The new production is called "Everyman". "Everyman" is more known as "Jedermann" from Hugo von Hofmannsthal, but it actually goes back to 1490. Written by an unkown britsh poet the story builds the base for this production of "Everyman".

Randy Diamond is playing the role as the 'Everyman' while Andy Kuntz slips into the maks of the 'Death'.

The music comes from Vanden Plas and it is Guenther Werno who has the musical lead for this rock opera.

The first night will take place on 11.4.2015 in the Pfalztheater in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Some more shows will follow and the dates are:

15.04.

23.04.

24.04.

03.05.

05.05.

09.05.

15.05.

24.05.

06.06.

14.06.

21.06.

 

Tickets can be bought via:

E-Mail:

vorverkauf@pfalztheater.bv-pfalz.de

Box office:
Tuesday to Friday 11.00-14.00 Uhr and 16.30-18.30 Uhr
Samstag 10.00 bis 13.00 Uhr

or Online: www.pfalztheater.de

 

 

Photo: Promotion

Photo: Promotion

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CD review JORN LANDE & TROND HOLTER present DRACULA "Swing od death"

Veröffentlicht am 21. Januar 2015 von Markus W. in Jorn Lande, Trond Holter, Hardrock, Heavy Metal, Melodic Metal, Rock Opera, CD Review, News

(8/10) Jorn Lande is a well known name in metal. The man with the great voice was part in bands like Masterplan and Lande/Allen where he shared vocals with Russel Allen. But also his faible for Dio brought the Norwegian singer some attention too.

In his newest project he connected with Trond Holter (g) which we know as Teeny from Wig Wam. And since the Norwegian glam rockers from Wig Wam disbanded in spring 2014 Holter had enough time to work together with Lande on a rock opera.

The result of this cooperation is called "Dracula - swing of death". The story goes back into the 15th century and tells the tale of Vlad Dracul(a). And since we are talking about a rock opera Lande shares the vocals with a colleague. Norwegian singer Lena Fløitmoen is representing the character Mina/Lucy and there are four songs in which both vocalists singing together as a duet. The voices are a fit and help a lot to bring over the story.

From a musical point of view Lande and Holter composed tracks that are reflecting heavy hardrock merged with some melodic metal. And the guys did the album without storytellers and narrator which assures a good flow. 

One of the highlights on the album is "River of tears"; not only since it is one of the tracks including a duet. It also reminds in parts to Queen which sounds surprisingly good. But also the demonic opener "Hands of your God" is one of the oustanding tunes on the album. Lande can show his entire vocal range in songs like this and it is a well chosen entry into the album.

With "Walk on water" I had the impression that Lande had a look back to his times with Avantasia since there are some parallels recognisable, esp. in the chorus. 

A heavy pounder is "True love through blood" which shines with its intense riff and the great guitar solo. Good stuff.

All in all I must say that the combination of Lande and Holter works very well. The ten tracks of the album are highly entertaining and well produced. A rock opera that puts a focus on story and songs by avoiding endless instrumental parts and narrations. Well done and to recommend for fans of Lande, Dio and others.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Hands of your God
  2. Walking on water
  3. Swing of death
  4. Masquerade ball
  5. Save me
  6. River of tears
  7. Queen of the dead
  8. Into the dark
  9. True love through blood
  10. Under the gun

 

Label: Frontiers Records

Genre: Melodic Metal

CD review JORN LANDE & TROND HOLTER present DRACULA "Swing od death"
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