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Ophiura: BeMind

Ophiura is an Italian progressive metal band, and given the unfortunate reputations Italian progressive metal bands have as Dream Theater copy cats, let say say immediately that Ophiura are not Dream Theater clones - and, actually, a lot of Italian progressive metal bands are not Dream Theater clones, so let's exorcise that stereotype, shall we? There is a hell of a difference from being inspired by Dream Theater to actually ripping them off (Ophiura do seem inspired by Dream Theater, but their sound is their own.

After a truly cringe-worthy introduction in the form of 'One Day', a spoken dialogue between a mother and her son, I suppose, In which the son announces his aspiration to become the "boss of the city" - the cringe-worthy part consists in very, very thick accents from the voice actors. Now there is nothing wrong with a foreign accent at all, but I do think that perhaps they should have hired some native speakers of English to do this part.

Anyway, just as you expect some lousy second rate music to appear after the horrible introduction, you are totally taken aback by the top notch progressive metal that follows, displaying top notch musicianship and songwriting. There is everything that makes good progressive metal: the spacey keyboards, the odd time signatures, the piano arrangements, the lushness, the complex song structures, the long songs, the multi-song cycles and the left-field and the powerful semi-operatic vocals (think a cross between Tom Mallicoat and Tony Kakko). So, yes, the genre-defining elements are there, but Ophiura make use of them in such a way that they sound pretty original. Moreover, there is somewhat of an influence from power metal - especially in the chorus vocal lines which have that big and epic quality to them, which suits Alex Mari's vocals very well.

My only reservation is that the drums sound very mechanical. There is no drummer included in the line-up listed in the promo material I got, so perhaps the drums are programmed. Other than that, there is absolutely noting to put a finger on in terms of performance, song writing and production.

BeMind is definitely a fine progressive metal album and should appeal to fans of both progressive metal and progressive power metal.

Track listing:
1. One Day
2. Picture Of The Gods
3. Road To Nowhere
4. Figures Pt.1 - Me
5. Figures Pt.2 - My Family
6. Figures Pt.3 - Julian
7. Awakening
8. A New Dawn
9. Crossroads
10. Road To Fate
11. Live Again
12. The Meaning Of Me, The Meaning Of Be
13. Opening Eyes
14. ...I'll Be Like You

Added: December 6th 2011
Reviewer: Kim Jensen
Related Link: Ophiura official website
Hits: 2000
Language: english

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