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Operose - Footprints in the Hourglass

Footprints in the Hourglass
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 04 August 2017, 11:35 AM

Symphonic Progressive Metal trio OPEROSE formed in the United Kingdom in 2016, featuring rising opera star Jennifer Coleman on vocals. Jennifer is a Theo Max van der Beugel Scholar studying on the 2nd year of the Masters at the Royal College of Music in London under the tutelage of Janis Kelly. Jennifer has won numerous awards including an RCM Award supported by a Big Give Award, the Mavis Bennett Award for Grand Opera and the John Lightfoot Award for Musical Theatre at Maidenhead Music Festival. Most recently, Jennifer won a Musical Odessey Prize while taking part in masterclasses with the acclaimed British soprano Susan Bullock in Nafplio, Greece. She was awarded commended in the 2016 RCM Lieder competition, and a finalist in the RCM English Song Competition. Joe and Kevin are founders of the Progressive Metal band OPPOSING MOTION. Joe has also released an instrumental solo album titled “Elements.”

OPEROSE’s debut release here titled “Footprints in the Hourglass” contains eight tracks, of varying lengths. “Empty Mirrors (Death of Eurydice)” is the eleven-minute opener. Nimble guitar work and keys fill the opening sequence of the song, leading into the vocals of Jennifer Coleman. Her voice is clear and inviting, and rich with vibrato. The upper ranges are negotiated with seeming ease, and her pitch is in perfect key. The rhythm section provides some punchy Progressive morsels, and Joe adds some absolutely shredding lead guitar work. “Footprints” is a little slower, taking in some more air. The meter change at the chorus really allows the passage to shine. It is tender, seductive, and impassioned. “River of Memories” throws out a thick opening sequence where the instruments are layered over one another in great harmony. Coleman’s vocals jump octaves with great dexterity. Up to this point I think they had a little with balance but this song does a nice job of finding it. The instrumental passage just after the half-way mark is a shifting feat of Progressive Metal leanings.

“The Long Grass (Seconds Apart)” has a free flowing sound, like flowers swaying in a gentle breeze on a warm summer day. Again they have a good balance here between the vocals and instrumentation. Too much of one or the other tends to end up with a track that is dis-jointed. This has to be the most difficult challenge of a band with such a standout vocalist. “Remember Me” has a sweet sound, as the title would suggest. Here Jennifer can back off on the power of her operative voice to carry more hushed tones that connect well with the level of the sound. The guitar solo here does a good job of matching with the key of the track, and there are accents of double bass that pick up with haste. “Moments” is a shorter song where the vocals really push the ceiling of her range. There are some heavier moments here at the end of the song as well that remind you that you are listening a sound rooted in Metal.

“The Faded Portrait of Affection” opens with some punchy rhythms and a Power Metal-esque sound from the galloping drums. This song is another with great balance. The vocals shoot high into the canopy but you are also treated to some notable bass guitar work and some time changes that keep you on your toes as a listener. “Stand among Angels” is the ten-minute closer. From the start it races out of the gate, with a heavy sound. It builds from there with a variety of techniques and passages, and there is a good deal of back-and-forth from it sounding sad but earnest as well. Overall it was quite a bit to take in. For a debut album, the band does a nice job of blending Symphonic and Neo-Classical elements with some Progressive Metal elements as well. Sometimes the connection between the vocals and instruments wasn’t as strong as it could have been, however, and I think thickening up the rhythm section while still allowing the vocals to take center stages could have helped. Still, a good listen.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Empty Mirrors (Death of Eurydice)
2. Footprints
3. River of Memories
4. The Long Grass (Seconds Apart)
5. Remember Me
6. Moments
7. The Faded Portrait of Affection
8. Stand among Angels
Jennifer Coleman – Vocals
Joe McGurk – Guitars/Bass
Kevin Deplanche – Drums
Record Label: Lion Music


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