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The press release painted a good picture for Opera Diabolicus' debut "doom opera" 1614. Name-dropping the likes of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate as well as the doom ties and of course the guest list which reads like they were pilfered from the cast of Therion's Gothic Kabbalah, my interest was certainly piqued.
On first impressions I wasn't really impressed, and coupled with the fact I'm a bit sick of the whole rock opera thing I didn't feel much need to revisit this. However, I did keep the album in my review queue (basically a playlist) that I tend to let play through while I potter on. As a result I found myself becoming familiar with the album and beginning to enjoy it a lot more. I even started seeing the King Diamond comparisons, which at first I thought was just name-dropped to add interest.
What I found myself liking about this release is that the band didn't skimp in the riff department, a lot of these type of albums blow their wad on guest vocalists and as a result the music suffers. Whilst sometimes the band drift off into slightly uninspiring territory, for the most part this is pretty good, especially when they unleash the finer of their riffs. I was expecting a little more in the way of doom for this being billed as a doom opera, whereas really this plays out as a gothic progressive power metal album.
Obviously I can't go through this review without mentioning the vocalists, and I'm not going to lie each of the singers do work well. Snowy Shaw and Mats Levén are well experienced in multi-singer affairs, and their parts really remind of Therion's Gothic Kabbalah. We also have Dream Evil's Niklas Isfeldt lending his vocal talents, and I like I how he was given a lot of cool vocal lines and heavy moments to sing over. We of course have female vocals which are handled by Camilla Alisander-Ason whose vocals are serviceable but completely unspectacular. Jake E from Dreamland is also credited, but I've found it hard to pick him out until much later in the album.
Overall I think this album's appeal lies far more in the gothic metal community than the doom metal one, and really I'd bill this as a gothic/power opera. Fans of Therion and Kamelot will likely enjoy this, and I think fans of acts such as King Diamond and Dragonland will find something of note too. Whilst it took a while to get enjoyment out of 1614 it is still a good release, and is certainly worth a couple of listens.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com