Videoclip of the Month!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Opera IX - Strix Maledictae in Aeternum

Opera IX - Strix Maledictae in Aeternum


Opera IX… Opera, the first word in the band name pretty much already sums up what this band is all about. So, when you think of opera (and no I don’t mean the talk show) what do you think of? A dark stage with mist coming out of it? People in three piece suits taking sips from their $2000 glass of wine? Or maybe the acts that the opera singers do stage… all of these come to mind when playing Strix Maledictae in Aeternum. Opera IX is a symphonic/pagan black metal band from Italy who have already made themself quite a large fan base. It surprises me that I’ve never heard of this band before because they were formed in 1988, which is only 2 years after the almighty Mayhem. The only difference is that Mayhem’s music and Opera IX’s music have travelled completely different paths.

From the moment I hit play on Strix Maledictae in Aeternum the presence of an atmosphere is already know. The combination of the guitars riffs and the style of symphonic elements used in this album have given off a slightly “medieval” feel. Please don’t mistake medieval for barbaric or viking, because they are totally different. Also the atmosphere doesn’t really provide that much scope to the music as well, you just don’t get the same feeling of scale and size behind the music as some of the other symphonic black metal bands. You know how sometimes, you listen to bands such as Dimmu Borgir or Chthonic and you can almost envision yourself being right there inside the scene of the album. Although you do get the same feeling here, its just not the same. It feels rather cheesy and just a little “different”.

After listening to a few more songs, it’s evident that this isn’t exactly the truest of symphonic black metal bands. There is some… Gothic elements that is evident in the music. Now before people start running off to the toilet to throw up because they think this will be another Cradle of Filth (or is Cradle of Filth similar to Opera IX?  chicken or the egg?) the only thing that is similar between the two is the medieval, cinema style of atmosphere they have going. It’s like watching a creepy musical of Romeo and Juliet. The setting for the music sounds similar for Cradle of Filth and Opera IX, but that’s the only thing. Opera IX has black metal style of vocals, is a lot slower and more focused on “atmosphere” than what Cradle of Filth is though.

Musically, I believe that they are more gothic metal than black metal at times. There are parts throughout the album where it the guitars sound different, the pace of the music is different and the mood changes as well. There is even gothic metal style of chugging (I’m not sure if that’s the right word but you’ll know when you hear it) of the guitars It seems like that they have taken a gothic black metal approach to Strix Maledictae in Aeternum. But that being said, they still have some elements of black metal within their music. The most obvious one are the vocals, Opera IX have utilized typical black metal style of vocals throughout this album which are nothing really special. Also, the drumming have a slight black metalish feel to them as well. The drums have that short snap to them (it sounds like they are hitting tin cans) and the blast beats sound black metalish as well. Unfortunately the blast beats aren’t anything extraordinary either. They are relatively slow and tend to take the momentum away from the music.

I’ve read what other reviewers had to say about Opera IX’s previous albums and most of them have mentioned something about the heaviness of Opera IX. I’m sorry to say, but I just don’t think they have any heaviness in Strix Maledictae in Aeternum. Its either they don’t have any all together or I just don’t feel it. Mainly because the atmosphere is driven by the keyboards (which sound like organs) and not the guitars, if it were driven by the guitars, maybe, just maybe it might have lived up to the expectation of the music being “heavy”, however I just don’t feel any of it, well… not in Strix Maledictae in Aeternum anyway but I’m sure some more of the “tr00er” fans of Opera IX might feel it more than I have. Unless Strix Maledictae in Aeternum is a blunder and their line of heavy albums ends here.

Quite honestly, I found Strix Maledictae in Aeternum to be rather boring. Although the atmosphere in Strix Maledictae in Aeternum was interesting at best, there is just nothing exciting about their music that makes me want to listen to them more. Just about all aspects of their music is mediocre; the guitar riffs, the atmosphere, the blast beats and the vocals. They just didn’t take anything to the next level or made me say “wow that’s new” or “please sir, may I have some more?”. I know that Opera IX is a favourite, but I just don’t see why for now. The music seems to be focused on the atmosphere are how sinister they can make their music with pianos and as such, but even that doesn’t really work. I won’t say that Opera IX’s music is bad because there are a small handful of sections in Strix Maledictae in Aeternum which were interesting, I just think that they are just another band that breaks no ground at all and is just there. Which is why I choose to give Opera IX’s Strix Maledictae in Aeternum a 12/20.

*sorry no samples of this album yet, there should be one soon*

No comments:

Post a Comment