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Opera Diabolicus: Death On A Pale Horse

The Swedish duo Opera Diabolicus have returned with their sophomore effort, following 2012’s †1614. Death On A Pale Horse sees Mainmen David Grimore and Adrian de Crow team up with some of the most respected names in metal today to deliver an album of epic scale and the kind of storytelling adventurousness that even King Diamond himself would be proud of.

Joined by the likes of Mats Levén (Candlemass, Therion, Skyblood), Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Therion, Notre Dame), Andy La Rocque (King Diamond), Michael Denner (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate), Madeleine Liljestam (Eleine), and Angelina DelCarmen (Charetta) among many others, this album is overflowing with fantastic performances, as you would expect from this kind of stacked team of kickass musicians.

Musically Death On A Pale Horse sounds like a symphonic version of a King Diamond and Ayreon Lovechild with some Black Metal riffs sprinkled in occasionally and with a huge modern production sound to it. Mixed by veteran producer Jens Borgen you know it’s gonna be sounding great and it does. The album opens up sounding like the opening monolog to a period-piece horror film with the Narrator, Rich Whelan, speaking over the top of the symphonic passages. The metal arrives in “Bring Out Your Dead” with Mats Levén belting it out in full force about the arrival of Death, the reaper of souls, coming to deliver God’s apocalypse. All the songs are sung expertly by Mats with the exception of “A Song Of Detestation” sung by Snowy Shaw. Most of the tracks also have the two ladies appear at different points, giving the songs a more dynamic texture and highlighting the storytelling elements through deeper character development. Strewn throughout the King Diamond-Like metal are passages of sweet acoustic guitar and violin moments as well as fantastic keyboard work from David Grimoire himself as well as guests Ronaldo Rodrigues, Elias Holmlid and Erik Nickerson handling Hammond Organ, Moog and Piano to great effect and with some cool atmosphere inducing solos included as well, see the last minute of “Little Sisters” for example. A huge bonus for me are the Solo’s on “Second Coming” from two of my personal favorite guitarists, Andy LaRoque and Michael Denner. The song even makes reference to the Old Oak Tree from Mercyful Fate's album In The Shadows'. So that's pretty damn cool in my book.

Death On A Pale Horse is an album for lovers of bands like King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Candlemass and Ayreon. Plenty of epic riffs and instrumentation, Cool evil storylines and all played to perfection with great production. An extremely entertaining and epic listening experience.

Recording line-up:
Mats Levén: Lead Vocals all tracks except track 6.
Snowy Shaw: Drums and vocals. Lead vocals track 6.
Angelina DelCarmen: Vocals tracks 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Madeleine Liljestam: Vocals tracks 3 and 5.
Andy La Rocque: Lead guitar track 3.
Michael Denner: Lead guitar track 3.
Rich Whelan: Voiceover track 1.
David Grimoire: Rhythm & lead guitars, keyboards and backing vocals.
Adrian de Crow: Bass Guitar.
Ronaldo Rodrigues: Hammond Organ, Moog Organ and Piano (2,4,6,7).
Elias Holmlid: Keyboards on track 3.
Nathaniel Wolkstein: Violin track 2.
Alexey Kochetkov: Violin track 5. Bettina Jucksch: Violin track 7.
Erik Nickerson: Orchestral arrangements and keyboards (1, 3, 8, 9). Hangsvart: Throat vox intro track 5.

1. Listen everybody (2:49)
2. Bring Out Your Dead (5:24)
3. Second Coming (9:51)
4. Siren’s Call (7:54)
5. Darkest Doom on the Brightest of Days (7:34)
6. A song of Detestation (6:47)
7. Little Sister (3:05)
8. Night Demon (8:05)
9. At Nighttime (7:46)
Total: 59:15

Added: January 15th 2022
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 59
Language: english

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