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Operose - Oceans of Starlight Award winner

Oceans of Starlight
by Emily Schneider at 25 February 2020, 3:31 PM

OPEROSE is a band hailing from the UK.  “Oceans of Starlight” is out now on digital outlets and arriving on physical CD on March 2nd. The band founders are guitarist Joe McGurk and opera vocalist Jennifer Coleman. They had a different lineup on their debut album, but chose to add some “more experienced” musicians for this second record. The lineup change worked out beautifully for this Symphonic Prog Metal band because this album takes you on an audible journey back to the times of Cleopatra and it's a grand spectacle.

Battle Swan” kicks off the album in a bombastic way with big orchestration and even bigger vocals. The fast tempo gets you energized for the the adventure ahead. The title track “Oceans of Starlight” is one that you can easily visualize what's happening in the story. The music paints a scene of a massive fleet heading into unknown waters quite vividly. The tempos, time changes, and of course, the lyrics really bring it to life. “Lost Horizon” reminds me a lot of XANDRIA, their album “Neverworld's End” in particular. The orchestration and riff combos have a similar flair, plus Jennifer's vocal style in this song reminds me so much of Manuela Kraller. It's an a track about tragedy and essentially losing hope, so this one really brings on the emotion and melancholy feelings to lead into the next track.“This Life of Mine” is one hell of a ballad. The arrangement of this feels like an opera aria with rock accompaniment. It's a track of tragic realization and it hits right in the chest as you listen.

Nothing Left” is an powerful and emotional track. There's some AFTER FOREVER influence showing in this one with the vocal style paired with the cool heavier guitar riffs. The haunting backing vocals and dark melodies throughout this track was enough to give me goosebumps. “Octavian”  has some of the prettiest keys on the album so far. The riffs have a touch of NIGHTWISH stirred in and damn, the melodies in this one are amazing. This track is very progressive, there's interesting key changes and there's a super cool drums and synths bit for the last portion of the song. I admittedly devoured this track, absolutely loved it. “The Actium Suite” continues with the awesome Progressive Metal trend. It sounds so good, reminds me of the incredible AYREON. This is the epic closing track every Symphonic Metal album has yet, it's a fully instrumental prog track. The guitars sound fantastic, they narrate a whole new story of their own accompanied by great drums, awesome orchestration, and my weakness… awesome melodic keys and synths. This was a massive surprise ending track on a what I thought was predominately a Symphonic Metal album and I loved every moment.

All and all, this album is not just an album, it's an experience. The orchestration on this album is massive. It's theatrical and wonderful, I couldn't stop saying “wow” out loud as I listened to this honestly. I am admittedly super picky about Symphonic Metal these days, due to how formulaic many of the newer bands are. OPEROSE was a wonderful shock to the sense of sound, they still have the elements I love in the genre; big bold opera style vocals, vibrant orchestration, and some cool Metal riffs and melodies. Yet, they also tossed in some wonderful surprises like some unexpected instruments, some cool homage to the greats of the genre without feeling at all generic, plus the progressive bits were the perfect touch to make this album stand out from the rest.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Battle Swan
2. Oceans of Starlight
3. Lost Horizon
4. This Life of Mine
5. Nothing Left
6. On Sleeping Tides
7. Octavian
8. The Actium Suite
Vocals: Jennifer Coleman
Guitars: Joe McGurk
Bass: Mike Bridge
Drums: Steve Hauxwell
Record Label: Lion Music


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Edited 07 July 2020

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