OPERA IX - THE BLACK OPERA - AVANTGARDE/ DWELL
As the name indicates, the third full length release by Italy's Opera IX is an occult opera in six acts (what not nine?) which also tags an additional track in the form of a Bauhaus cover. For those familiar with the combo, Opera IX is all about female vocals which switches between aggressive and lame female tones, lots of keyboards and pianos, interludes of a drum machine and thick rhythm guitars. With over 50 minutes of twisted lyricism and eerie occult passages the presentation will likely appeal to Mortuary Drape or Acheron's debut fans. It's all a bit too image-oriented, but at least the orientation is anything but commercial. - Ali "The Metallian"
OPERA IX - ANPHISBENA - MAGICK
Opera IX has always been regarded as one of the many bands approaching the edges of metaldom, but in essence consistently merely sitting outside its fences. The band's latest album, Anphisbena, is a harder effort and one that gives the band more meaning, but is still burdened by an uneven approach, harp, cello, flute et al. One can hear how the Italians are striving to be heavier and more relevant. The occasional speedy guitar versus keyboards duels are consciously evidence of this. Songs like The Serpent's Nemeton or Battle Cry have a harder/faster edge, yet are obviously not black (or other) metal. The songs are longer than average on this album, although an intro and an instrumental mid-CD pace things on the sixty-four minute long disc. A cover version of Bathory's One Rode To Asa's Bay is also included here. - Ali "The Metallian"