Reminds me of a rawer version of very early Nightwish
From out of Gorizia, Italy (about two hours north east of Venice) comes a new symphonic metal band called Silent Opera; not to be confused with symphonic gothic metal band of the same name hailing from France. Originally a Nightwish tribute band when they first started, Silent Opera eventually decided that they could write their own songs and a demo was released independently in 2008.
Since the release of the demo Silent Opera have had a plethora of line-up changes, including two vocalists, a keyboardist and a bassist, leaving drummer Loris Volcizzi (stage name Shadow) and guitarist Marco Clari (stage name Rain) as the only remaining original members of the band. Following the demo, Silent Opera found a new bassist, Alexandre, and vocalist, Lady Victoria, and were soon after picked up by unknown UK label Ravenheart Music. Then in November of 2011, Silent Opera’s debut album was born, entitled ‘Immortal Beauty’.
Considering Silent Opera were originally a Nightwish tribute band, I understand why they chose to go with Lady Victoria as their vocalist. She has an opera background and sings in a very similar style to that of ex-Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen, going back to the band’s debut disc ‘Angels Fall First’. Unfortunately nowhere near as polished as Tarja, Lady Victoria really has just one range and pitch when singing in her operatic style, which can get tedious after a few songs. Luckily, towards the back 9 of the CD, Lady Victoria does change her style from operatic to traditional metal diva style, which livens up the disc a bit and becoming more enjoyable at the same time.
Having just the one guitarist means the band is left slightly handicapped and one dimensional, and despite Marco being a talented axeman, the chords and riffs throughout the disc are quite plain and stock-standard; while a solo is very few and far between. At times, the music does slip into the symphonic gothic metal side of things due to the prodding along of some of the songs, but still maintains a symphonic metal backbone throughout. The production of the release is another frustrating situation where the drums come through somewhat weak and slightly tinny, and I feel they were “placed” behind the vocals and the guitars when piecing the album together. I know ‘Immortal Beauty’ is the band’s debut so I understand the growing pains and all that jazz, so I guess I can cut them a bit of slack.
Despite all that, the band knows that improvement comes with experience and experience means more releases. The raw feel I get from listening to the disc does add depth to their songs, but overall there isn’t too much to get excited over; however there is an anticipation of what Silent Opera can deliver on their next release. One of the best songs on the CD just happens to be a ballad entitled “Farewell” and it shows how good Lady Victoria can sing when she drops the operatic style and brings in more passion and exuberance into her delivery. With a wonderfully sounding melody thanks to the keyboards and synths, the track is quite emotional and very well done. “Hidden Lies” is also another very good track, again including traditional vocals from Lady Victoria, while overall the song is written quite well despite it not being overly heavy.
The opus of the album is the final track, “The Silent Opera”, which clocks in 9:17 and is the most epic, inspired and symphonic song on the entire CD. The “symphonic” tag could be used sparingly for most of the tracks on this release (as ‘Immortal Beauty’ isn’t as symphonic as I was expecting), but I must admit however, that “The Silent Opera” is a wonderful song and superbly written. Other tracks which I felt helped Silent Opera’s cause include the upbeat and proggish “Always With You” (with additional male vocals), the Nightwish reminiscent “Morningstar”, the speedy “Chapter 7” and the bombastic and epic “Selene”, which is sung mostly in Italian.
From those songs mentioned in this review, which stand far above the rest of the songs on the release, it is enough to give this album a passing mark, knowing that typically a band’s debut is meant to be middle of the road with plenty of room for improvement. I am also eager to hear what Silent Opera can produce next, knowing that they can build on the successful songs and structures from this CD. I finish with some latest news on the band, that at the time of this review, Silent Opera have signed a deal with German label Rock ‘n’ Growl Records; and both Lady Victoria and bassist Alexandre have left the band and have been replaced by Andrea Pin (stage name Kabal) and new female vocalist Ambra Gerussi (stage name Aria). The plot thickens...