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Opus Avantra - Lord Cromwell (plays suite for seven vices) CD (album) cover

LORD CROMWELL (PLAYS SUITE FOR SEVEN VICES)

Opus Avantra

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.56 | 41 ratings

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Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Lord Cromwell' is 'Avant prog' taken to the extreme. It's a difficult listen despite being piano and flute led. Skilled musicians abound within 'Opus Avantra'. It seems however that they've devoured a handful of hallucinogenic mushrooms before picking up their instruments to record this one. Oh, and a bottle whisky too...

The cover sleeve is superb in its 'Alice in Wonderland' oddness and sums up the hullaballoo within quite well. Much more so than their other releases where you'd expect something far more demure and docile before being rudely awakened by the cacophony within.

'Lord Cromwell' begins off promisingly enough with those distinct and strong vocals of Donella Del Monaco. They're beautiful and totally at odds with this Frankenstein's monster of an album.

As with all 'Opus Avantra' recordings the musicians are clearly professionals and play with complete control of their instruments. Why then, does it sound so discordant and demented? This is one truly bizarre album, even more so than their first outing, which was pretty wild and inhospitable in itself.

In parts the boisterous approach is very much of its time with pretty Italian tunes played with a straight 4/4 beat before going completely crazy doing summersaults through hamster wheels.

The vocals lull you into a false sense of security before all sorts of staccato shenanigans occur with classical instruments. Screeches, thuds and acoustic stabs fly out in all directions. There's even some machine guns thrown in for good measure.

There's a huge variety of instrumentation used in this overly bombastic album. Despite being 'Classical' there's keyboards and sound effects used throughout. For the greater part it sounds like it's played by once famous musicians who have been confined to that hospital that Jack Nicholson visited in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest'.

'Opus Avantra' had a unique and distinct sound unlike anyone else. God knows what the public must have thought of this in 1975.

It's a tough and difficult album to get to grips with despite the clearly professional approach by all involved.

Dobermensch | 4/5 |

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