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Opus Symbiosis - Nature's Choir CD (album) cover


Opus Symbiosis

Crossover Prog

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4 stars I have been playing 'Nature's Choir' on a regular basis since I received it. Everything is perfectly placed and well-balanced: at times complex, but never straying away from the inexplicable attraction. So many ideas flit around this record to accomplish different elements in one construction. The production has been done with attention to details. The heartfelt layered voice of Christine Sten sounds wonderfully impressive. Victor Sagfors is a talented guitarist who does maintain a high profile throughout. Yet he manages to remain on the same level with other partners (Staffan Stromsholm, Erik Herman Lillkung and Jafet Kackur are capable to supply a strong framework). Such a true virtue any progressive group should be proud of. Certainly, there're lines of influence here. A little touch of The Gathering, a hint of Paatos, a pinch of White Willow. But these comparisons need to cease, as 'Nature's Choir' stands perfectly straight and tall upon its own bed-rock! We are dealing with the excellent band that has it all: knowledge (how), composition wise, great talent and passion for music. I'm sure that Opus Symbiosis have delivered a superb sophomore album that illustrates an enormous leap forward in the positive sense. This brave quintet deserves our attention.

Report this review (#934922)
Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here's finally my album review for this strong Finno-Swedish band with a female lead vocalist singing in English. First off, the drawings by Lotta Green are really beautiful!

'Breaking News' is an energetic opener and also very representative of the band's style, in good and bad. The bubbly, echoing guitar sound is slightly reminiscent of U2 and their followers. Christina Sten has a clear, young-sounding but powerful voice, rather typical in modern Neo Prog - compare UK bands such as MAGENTA or PANIC ROOM, and some Polish Neo bands too. The song contains also the negative side of the group's songwriting (which is mostly on the shoulders of guitarist and producer Victor Sågfors), the overuse of repetition. It's not exactly about a chorus being endlessly repeated like in commercial pop music, but its words "killing tiger, killing tiger" stick out too much with repetition. Exactly the similar thing is with the third track 'Downpour': it would otherwise feel proggier - what it truly is within the six minutes - but the words "somebody got" that starts three first lines of the chorus steal the attention too much.

The second, short song offers a calmer and more atmospheric interlude. In this way throughout the album there's a good balance between the catchy pop-rock power and the more ambient and introspective approach. A bit like a female-fronted version of PORCUPINE TREE minus the heaviest moments, and with a dash of COLDPLAY-like, dreamy, floating pop. The sound (plenty of keyboards and guitars) and the production are excellent. Happily the mentioned chorus-sticking-out problem is not very present later on. Well, the mellow 'Liqueur' (guesting Pat Mastoletto on drums) does repeat "in the night, gonna need" more than needed. But the album as a whole stands repeated listenings without wearing out. The tiger of the cover art keeps returning here and there in the lyrics, but if there's a concept I don't actually see it... this may be my own fault. Anyway the album flows nicely and seamlessly, feeling like a thoroughly thought prog album instead of a bunch of individual songs. Elegant, keyboard-centred instrumental 'Epique' is very nice.

Warmly recommended to those who appreciate female vocals and equally enjoy catchy pop elements, ambience and energetic, semi-heavy playing in modern Neo-type prog.

Report this review (#1196549)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2014 | Review Permalink

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