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Kotebel - Omphalos CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 97 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Is there a subgenre for 'operatic prog'? If there were, surely KOTEBEL's album OMPHALOS would be at the forefront! This is a truly unique and compelling brand of progressive rock. In addition to the pastoral and symphonic, this album features extended instrumental passages that are rock and fusion oriented. Highly recommended.

As I type the words 'operatic prog', two images jump into my head, neither of which accurately depicts the subtlety of the music to be discovered on this album. First, I am reminded of the operatic vocal qualities that are found in some Prog Metal. The singing on OMPHALOS is light years removed from any obsession with power. These vocals are grounded in disciplined beauty and restraint.

Second, I think of the infamous "fat lady" that projects such a bellowing tone that, despite the requisite training and skill required to accomplish such a feat, despite even a certain amount of respect and awe when confronted with such a vocal presence, still sounds more than a little like an amplified monotone fire alarm to my ears. Yes, this approach was needed over a century ago back before amplifiers and microphones were ubiquitous, but is such diaphragm amplification really necessary today?

In contrast, these female operatic vocals on OMPHALOS are sweet in disposition as they float effortlessly in and around, even meld into and become a part of the varied instrumentation of the album. Rather than overpower the music, they are performed and mixed in subordination to the greater whole. In rare instances, the vocal line is so sublime, the transition from voice to instrument so seamless that one becomes hard pressed to identify the precise moment when singing stopped and flute began.

Many prog bands are categorized as "symphonic" merely because they include flute and/or cello in their song arrangements. KOTEBEL's "Omphalos", however, truly earns the distinction by delivering well conceived and composed symphonic art rock gems... Listen for influences as wide and varied as Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Tony Banks!

progpositivity | 5/5 |


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