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Orisonata: Orisonata

A husband and wife team of Jason Lee Greenberg and Jennifer Grassman, Orisonata are an unusual thing, an American Symphonic Metal band. More unusual than that, they are a Symphonic Metal band who employ flute, saxophone, a little Jazz and a whole host of other elements to embellish the more expected crashing keys, rampant riffs, death-dealing drums and booming bass.

It's Symph Metal Tarja, but not as we know it!

Or well actually it is, for there's no denying that this independently created self titled album is dark, atmospheric, rampaging and dramatic. Layers of Grassman's vocals careen into view, shattering the top end, yet still commanding when employed in deeper hues. The guitars also undoubtedly bulge muscularly, and the liberal use of keyboards over the top of it all add the theatrical bent that makes Symphonic Metal exactly what it is Heavy Metal Opera style. Yet, when you hear sax breaks competing with strings and a less controlled Kate Bush meets Sharon Den Adel style vocal during "Robin Hood" and "Journey To The Center Of The Earth", you know that Orisonata are trying something genuinely different. The flute intro to "The Muses" merely confirms the thought.

The obvious question has to be, does it work? Well, "The Muses" is a sublime example of stark vocals thriving against tastefully busy acoustic guitar work and is simply splendid, if maybe a little over long. While "Robin Hood" throbs and thrums through raging slabs of guitars and cascades of piano. It is a brutish assault, yet one where the sax somehow cleverly averts the blows in a way that adds to the impact. "Journey To..." on the other hand is where some opinions may split, with the overtly Jazzy feel one which certainly takes a while to seek acceptance, although it does come. However even then, I can't quite square the circle here and openly embrace it all as one song; instead the feel is of disjointed sections fused together with ragged joins. Although they are some of the very few visible joins glimpsed across the whole album. Some more straight ahead sections and songs do also feature, yet even then "Oath Breaker", "Once And Future King" or "The Great Baptism", whether through guitar shredding, impassioned vocals (which may prove a little theatrical for some), or simply, unusual chords and time changes, still stubbornly refuse to sound like anyone else, while still feeling familiar.

I'm often heard to say that there are far too many bands out there simply aiming to fit in the mould, follow the leader, or be dangled by the puppet masters of their genre. Orisonata 100% do not do that. I'd be lying if their own individual take on this branch of Metal always hits my own personal sweet spot. However what they've attempted here has to be applauded and encouraged. Followers of Symphonic Metal, who have found much it has to offer feeling decidedly stale of late, would be well advised to check this out.

Track Listing
1. Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
2. The Once And Future King
3. The Great Baptism
4. Unholy Creation
5. Oathbreaker
6. Robin Hood
7. The Muses

Added: March 29th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Orisonata Online
Hits: 1483
Language: english

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