|Review: Opera IX - Anphisbena|
Label: Avantgarde Music
Year released: 2004
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Review online: March 23, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 3.17/5 (63.33%) (6 Votes)
Now I heard an Opera IX album many moons ago – "Sacro Culto" I think it was – and though I cannot for the life of me remember how it sounded, I remember hating it a lot. I think that must have been their old singer Cadaveria, because surprise surprise, I like this album a lot. Opera IX are one of those bands that cross so many subgenres they probably violate the Geneva convention, as they start with a symphonic Black Metal base and mix in folk and even doomy influences to make a rather distinct sound that somehow manages not to sound overloaded.
Now Opera IX are 'symphonic', which means they are prone to letting the keys get a little thick, but overall this album is very heavy and energetic, reminiscent more of "Blood Fire Death" or Finnugor than Dimmu or Cradle of Felch or whoever you think of as an example of sucky symphonic music. This album is very epic, and most of the songs are long. They throw in a short instrumental or interlude here or there, as on "Song Of Death", but overall this album is just heaped with killer epics like "The Serpent's Nemeton", "Immortal Chant", or the ten-minute "Battle Cry". The vocals are OK – a pretty standard Death/Black bellow – but the drumwork and riffs are pretty damned good. The cover of "One Rode To Asa Bay" is carried off well, even if the band doesn't really do anything cool with it.
Generally bands that throw in too much are to be avoided, as their sounds can come out as just a big mess, but Opera IX put it all together and produce an album of heavy, epic music that actually manages to sweep you along with its momentum. There is a slight tendency for them to go on a bit longer than they need to, but I still enjoy this album a lot, and recommend it to fans of Bathory, Finnugor, Windir, or Turisas.
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