Sabinas Rex: A Rock Opera
Well, after Edenbridge's dynamic and epic orchestra included album release this year I thought it would be nearly impossible to match the amount of time and effort put into an album release. I was wrong. Sabinas Rex, with the release of Sabinas Rex: A Rock Opera; a double CD with a 30 page detailed booklet, including a full account of the story behind the opera, along with original artwork, has to receive an award for one of the best compiled packages of art and music for 2013.
The list of participants, from the artists, choir, musicians, narrator, and all the character actor/singers in this opera, is much too long to list here, but all have contributed mightily to this massive project.
Sabinas Rex is a New York City based heavy metal band lead by keyboardist Vlado Kormos, who also handles the programming; Teodor Lvovsky, on drums and percussion; Vladimir Ouchakov, on guitar; and Cara Lynn Robinson, and Baron Misuraca on vocals.
The entire story was written and conceived by Vlado Kormos, and it is he who narrates its opening and closing. This is the story of a young woman Sabina, who helps save a mysterious hunter from the Barbarians, and then becomes entwined, in an apocalyptic struggle of evil and good. She and the hunter take on the adventure of saving a kingdom near the Carpathian Mountains, which is plagued by the "Black Death" of the Dark Ages as well as a tyrant. The story is long and detailed, and can be read in the 30 page booklet included. However, it is also fun to experience the work through the vocals and music provided.
"Brotherhood" is a quiet slow opening of the story with Chandler Mogel performing the rich vocals, "across the Bridge of Time", along with orchestrated flute like keyboards, and orchestrated programming support. The cello and string sounds added to the deep bass creates a strong foundation for the story unfolding within your ears.
"Evil's Faith" begins to take the story on a deeper and darker turn. The soft gentle keys from the last track are replaced by power drums, bass, and thunder guitar raging havoc. Along with all this are the deep, darker vocals of Baron Misuraca, and his message of doom. The string-like keys are a welcome relief, but unfortunately the change is only temporary.
"Hard to be a Lady" is our first introduction to the female vocals of Cara Lynn Robinson. She does a great straight ahead delivery of the storyline behind the difficulty of being a lady during the desperate times of the Dark Ages.
"Your Fellow Man" features the vocals of Rek Anthony. He brings a heavier metal sound along with the heavier drums, bass, and solid lead electric filling the space on this rocking story.
"Masquerade" features the vocals of David Giardina, who officiates the opening of "the dance". A dance to send off the soldiers to war. A triumphant waltz like song, full of choir, keys, string programming, and Giardina's vocals.
"The Curse" brings us our second helping of Cara Lynn Robinson's vocals along with Baron Misuraca's darker voice. The meeting of two of the main characters in the opera is one of the best tracks on the first CD. The vocal battle is as interesting as the powerful music surrounding it.
"The Charge" opens with beautiful keys and Vanessa Tzavellas soft, but deeper voice. Jeff Nimeh joins the story with his own vocal contributions. This is a track full of melancholic vocals and storyline.
Cara Lynn Robinson's vocals return after soft keys and string like orchestrated chords on "Besides Me". She delivers some of her best vocals of the album, set to soft piano and backing strings.
Liana Delaurent, soaring soprano reigns supreme on the opening of the final track on CD One - "The Vigilance". Her beautiful operatic sound is charming and full of life.
Disc Two opens with vocals from Chandler Mogel and soft acoustic guitar on "Rex's Reign". The king ponders his kingdom as keys, chimes, acoustic guitar and strings surround. Then deep keys and synth tones fill the soundscape as the acoustic guitar continues. However, the pace changes as a powerful rocker emerges from the quiet opening. Heavy drums, bass and lead electric augmented with cool keys. A powerful start for the second CD.
"Double Vision" brings the return of Robinson's beautiful voice surrounded by soft strings and keys. Guitars, bass and drums are gradually added in support. They rock the second half of the track well.
"The March of Misery" is led by the passionate vocals of Vanessa Tzavellas with piano supporting. The keyboard incantations that arrive soon after the opening are some of the best on the album. The string-like orchestration and programming fills all the contours of this rich soundscape. This is Tzavellas best vocal performance.
"Brothers Just and Right" opens with a powerful choir singing, before Anthony's vocals take over and the track becomes a victorious battle cry rocker full of power drums, heavy bass, and soaring lead guitar.
Lynn Sher's beautiful siren vocals open "Dying Angel", before Misuraca returns to provide more dark forbearance. Later Sher returns to close the track with her vocal magic.
"Praise the King" opens with regal keys and piano. Rado Lesay then lays out his segment of this intricate story with powerful vocals.
Rek Anthony returns to deliver powerful lead vocals on "Stories", along with programmed keys and piano.
Stephanie Kakabe brings forth her first vocals on "Music of the Realm". She sings a duet with Mogel as the story has taken a much happier turn for the better. Choirs and regal keys surround the soundscape.
Robinson's vocals return after a strong drum and lead guitar opening on "Message". The drum beat is solid amidst power bass, and soaring lead guitar with surrounding keys in support.
Vlado Kormos closes out this rock opera with his parting thoughts on the story in "Outro".
This double CD rock opera definitely puts Sabrinas Rex on the watch list for the future. If they can create a rock opera this bold and complete, what will be next on their agenda? Sabinas Rex: A Rock Opera also sets a standard for the new artists in this genre. Can you top this rock opera with your own story? This is the kind of story telling reserved for leaders in the field like Arjen Lucassen and Beto Vasquez. Great to hear a new generation following in their footsteps, grasping the chalice and willing to make their dreams and stories a reality at whatever cost.
Vlado Kormos has brought together a talented group of musicians and singers to bring this powerful production and I'm sure his dream to fruition. It was a wonderful surprise to receive the complete package here at the Sea of Tranquility, unlike the many samplers sent to other webzines. We appreciate their trust and willingness to provide the full package of art and music and I believe the only way to reward that kind of trust is to deliver a track by track review of one of this year's definite surprises.
If you enjoy the story-telling of old and want to hear a new one, this is your ticket to the kind of experience you may have enjoyed in your youth. Only this time you will be able to enjoy enchanting music along with the story. My only wish for Kormos, is that someday he can bring this to a live stage, with a real orchestra surrounding the actors/singers and musicians. He deserves it for the incredible effort he has put forward with this production.
Put on your headset. Close your eyes. Enjoy a trip back to the stories of old brought to you by a new generation of artists and performers.
3. Evil's Faith
4. Hard To Be a Lady
5. Your Fellow Man
7. The Curse
8. The Charge
9. Beside Me
10. The Vigilance
1. Rex's Reign
2. Double Vision
3. The March of Misery
4. Brothers Just and Right
5. Dying Angel
6. Praise the King
8. Music of the Realm
Added: July 23rd 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: myspace.com/sabinasrexopera
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