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Marco Garau’s Magic Opera – The Golden Pentacle

Marco Garau’s Magic Opera
The Golden Pentacle
by Rachel Montgomery at 22 March 2021, 8:37 AM

You know you’ve been listening to a genre forever when new bands sound like old hat. MAGIC OPERA aims high, I’ll give it that. Marco Garau has been a name in symphonic metal for ages, so seeing his name on his own power metal project should be no surprise. DERDIAN, his former band, emerged in 2003 during the genre’s heyday. However, his solo project is noticeably less polished than Derdian’s early work and doesn’t stray too far from their original format, which is good if you want to hear more Derdian. On the other hand, the creative elements that are here tell me this album could go further.

Throughout the album, the instrumentation is spot-on, especially the guitars. However, the symphonics are less orchestral and more synthetic, which kills it for me. It takes the magic out of a “magic opera”, you know? The opening song “The Golden Pentacle” gets it marginally right with the bells and approaching horse, followed by a harpsichord signaling an opera-style album, but then the symphonics come in and just … sigh. Granted, synthetic sounds were present in Deridan’s work, but there was something magical about it. The synthetic-sounding instrumental break in “Beyond The Gate” off their album New Era Part 1 reminded me of a pan flute. The high-pitched electronics were reminiscent of a forest full of fairies. That said, the opening track is one of my favorites on the album.

Another standout thanks to its instrumental changes are “Never Ending Pain”. The instrumental and tonal shift throws us into a tango, followed by some cookie monster vocals that I’m torn on. On one hand, they add character to the song and introduce a beat concept to this theatrical album. On the other hand, they feel out of place and unpolished in the scope of the album. “The Sacred Legacy” has a fake out beginning which ties into the alchemical theme of the song. Personally, I wish they would’ve gone with the slower intro and ran with it for a slow ballad or an interlude.

The closing song “Until The End Of Time”, like the entire album, is a mixed bag. There are some nice echoing background vocals near the end of the verses and the chorus. The instrumental shift has a good callback to the first song with the same baroque harpsichord effects in a tango-like melody. However, the cookie monster vocals aren’t stylized enough for them to see in place on this album to me. The tango also calls back to the fourth track, “Never Ending Pain”.

You can’t deny this album is imaginative with its instrumental changes. The baroque and theatrical elements were creative, even if I thought they could’ve been executed better. To be blunt, the project sounds like discount BLIND GUARDIAN. The guitars are tuned up, the symphonics are electronic, synthetic sound that would be better if they sounded more orchestrated or progressive. While the sound quality and musicianship are there, the originality of the sound in 2021 is not. If you’re a symphonic metal buff and are looking for new material in this genre just because, they might be worth a listen. However, if you’ve been listening to the genre for nearly twenty years, it will sound like SSDD and you’ll want to run screaming back to Somewhere From Beyond, or even old Derdian.

Songwriting: 8
Production: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 4

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Golden Pentacle
2. Elixir of Life
3. Keepers of the Nigh
4. Never-ending Pain
5. Fight for the Victory
6. The Secret of the Sea
7. The Sacred Legacy
8. Free Again
9. The Other Side
10. Thief of Souls
11. Until the End of Time
Lineup:
Enrico Pistolese - Bass
Salvatore Giordano - Drums
Matt Krais - Guitars
Gabriel Tuxen - Guitars
Marco Garau - Keyboards
Anton Darusso - Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 17 September 2021
 

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