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Opus Däi - Tierra Tragame CD (album) cover


Opus Däi


Progressive Metal

3.93 | 10 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is Tierra Tragame. It's worth paying attention to.

A Prog Metal band that has much more in common with Rush or Led Zeppelin than they do Dream Theater or Symphony X, Opus Dai bring plenty of flavor to a genre that on the whole I believe to have gotten a bit stale over the years. So many artists try so desperately to sound like the pioneering bands of the genre, rather than progressing it further. Not these guys.

The album begins with a pleasant acoustic intro in ''Embers''. Already, Chris Paul's voice moves me unlike few others in the genre have managed, and while I am more than pleased with Opus Dai's new singer, I will sorely miss Mr. Paul.

Now things are really cooking. ''Firefly'' is an energetic kick in the face, crashing in immediately after the soft album opener is over. Wow, is it majestic! The guitar work here is unforgiving, steady and accurate. Miyamoto certainly knows how to handle his instrument. But this song isn't just heavy-- it's melodic, whimsical and unpredictable! It is on this track that Chris Paul first shows just how powerful his voice is and what wide a range he has. Not only is he able to go high and operatic as is often the tradition for this genre, but he also has a hell of a growl! But it's unique. Overall, this song gets a very high mark from me.

''Rain'' was the first song by this group I ever heard, so it stands out in my mind a little more than others, but it also deserves the recognition. It's not quite as aggressive as the previous song, but still quite impressive in terms of the songwriting and overall performance.

''Sora'' has an almost Tool-ish kind of feel during the intro (featuring an overly-distorted wah-wah effect on the guitar, and extra beefy bass), but soon comes into its own. The chorus for this is really awesome and full of majesty. The song isn't quite as 'epic' in feel as the two previous, in my view, but still really good.

The second-shortest song on the record is ''Sleepwalk'', and is once again a primarily acoustic affair. Nothing too special about this, but it is pleasant enough. Nothing at all is wrong with it, but it doesn't really have any stand-out features by comparison.

''Taken Eye''. Bass, bass and more bass. That's what you will hear when beginning this track. After that, a slightly less-impressive musical affair than the other giants. This one is more atmospheric and 'open'. Good, but not great.

With ''The Front Line'', the band once again picks up the pace. Very clever, well-layered track, here. I just love the contrast between Paul's high, soft vocals and the aggressive playing of the band. It's more than just the typical Prog-Metal fair-- it's truly unique. Even when Paul goes into his gruff growling style (which he does once again at about the 1:58 mark on this particular track), it doesn't feel rough or abrasive. Around 2:40, one of the more memorable guitar solos on the album comes in with style. Soon after, this powerful track comes to a pounding close. Another high point on the record, for me.

Hmm . . . ''Ashes, Ashes''. It starts out with single, long-held chords on a lightly distorted guitar, followed shortly by Paul singing a haunting tune. Great open atmosphere once again implemented, here, and unlike with ''Taken Eye'', I think they are more successful at it. Really great tune.

''Nightingale'' is a slowly-building heavy 'ballad', of sorts. It has over time become one of my favorites on the album, because it is so melancholy, which I just love.

''Vox Populi'' is probably my third favorite song on Tierra Tragame. It has a very schizophrenic structure; soft, melodic choruses, then sudden, jolting chorus sections, all fitted together through Chris Paul's brilliant vocals and Miyamoto's chugging guitar. Now, I've mentioned those two, but not the other guys on the record. Why? Well, I think this particular band's strongest aspects lie in the guitar and vocals department. I'm not entirely sure if the rhythm section is all that stand out on the whole, although I will say that the one piece of super-impressive drumming happens next, as it bridges this song with the next, ''Step Up''.

As I said, the drum roll outro/intro section is very good, and sets up the frantic rhythmic structure that stays for the whole song. The song itself may not be one of my favorite, but it is very powerful, no denying that. There is a very cool bridge section in this one worth noting. When that parts comes, I always feel like I'm awaking from a dream. The lead guitar work sound far away, the drumming as if it's in the deepest depths of my head, and the vocal effect there make it sound like Chris Paul is singing into a cup. Maybe he is, for all I know!

The final track, ''Bella Christa'', has a haunting, calling quality to everything about it. This is the longest song on the record, and serves as a very good closer. Lovely and majestic al throughout. Really, that best describes this whole album. I am very impressed by it on all counts, but especially when you take into consideration that this was Opus Dai's debut studio effort. The band couldn't sound any tighter; the melodies any stronger; the music any more consise; even if these guys had been playing together for twenty years. Judging by how well done this whole record is, they might as well have been playing together that long, because everything feels so distinguished and well-simmered. Clearly, these guys are very dedicated musicians, and since this doesn't bring along with it all of that extra cheese baggage so much Prog Metal typically tends to, I would say this is a pretty safe bet even for Prog fans who don't typically listen to the genre.

So go check this out. It's really cool.

Happy listening.

JLocke | 4/5 |


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