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Theatrum Mundi: The Eyes of the Realm

Who would have thought, a concept album about the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition otherwise known as the Spanish Inquisition.

Theatrum Mundi formed in 1990 by guitarist Michael Ray Gould and keyboardist Li'Anne Drysdale. Throughout the intervening years various musicians came and went, eventually leading to the band's demise. In 2008 the band reformed. Other core members include Christy Campbell (lead vocals), Gina Ronat (lead vocals), Anthony Saitta (drums) and B.J. DeClue (bass). The band is based out of Springfield, Missouri.

First, a little about the concept. Queen Elizabeth I of England had a spy network called The Eyes of the Realm led by the spy John Dee. Their orders were to locate the Antikythera Mechanism, a machine able to predict the future. This device was also sought after by the Grand Inquisitor. As the adventure unfolds it is best to follow along as the digipack contains lyrics. The story is quite a bit different than your typical 'prog rock' concept.

The music here is decidedly symphonic/gothic rock/metal, a rock opera if you will, and if you appreciate bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation or even Evanescence there should be plenty to enjoy. Songs like the album opening title track and "Passages Of Courage" are what this band is all about; crunchy guitar riffs, nice female lead vocals and an overall huge gothic keyboard sound, very symphonic and overtly dramatic. "Test Your Metal" has a more ethereal beginning before heading into symphonic metal mode whereas "It's A Mystery To Me" is a softer track laced with delicate piano and crystal clear vocals. One of my favourites is "Sometimes I See A Star" featuring one of the best melodic guitar solos on the disc.

Although this is not a perfect record, at times the vocals are a little lost in the mix, it is a very enjoyable symphonic metal release from a band that has a lot going for it.

Track Listing:
1. The Eyes Of The Realm
2. Passages Of Courage
3. Test Your Metal
4. It's A Mystery To Me
5. Don't Tempt Me Fate
6. Sometimes I See A Star
7. A Plan For The Universal Happiness Of Man
8. Dance With Me Tonight
9. Rescue
10. Mirror Of Simple Souls

Added: April 29th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1931
Language: english

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