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Trying to describe the ‘’uniqueness’’ of this recording is certainly a tough task to accomplish. Thus, first and foremost I am going to say that I agree with Phow on his review about this so I will try to point out some aspects of this album not been reviewed yet.
Let me start by saying that this is not metal, it is not rock, it is not progressive, and it is not pop and neither is an opera… Then, what is it? The greatness of this recording lies in exactly that: It can not be labeled to neither of those genres but it contains brushes of everything, even jazz and ambient. Yes my friends, this is one of those Arjen babies which beauty can only be appreciated by understanding every detail about it. Otherwise you will find it quite weird.
On the vocal department I can only say this: I just felt in love with Marcela Bovio’s voice from the very first moment (oh, and wait to see her in the DVD! You will think of her every day of your life). Her skills are beyond words whereas she has a beautiful soft and sweet tone which will appeal to fans of Sharon den Adel but Marcela is even ‘’sexier’’. Trust me on this, I have to worship her because this is a voice you can hardly compare to or find in the metal scene. Diana Bovio (her little sister) is in the background vocals and her voice is very much alike Marcela’s but a little higher. The rest of the musicians are average except of course Arjen who is a great guitar player. Lori Linstruth is the kind of guitar player I can compare to Emppu Vuorinen from Nightwish: bad as hell and the only skills are making effects and noises. Other than that they are not good riffing guitar or players or good as Mustaine, Vai, Hetfield, Slash, Wolf, etc.
The songs fall almost in the slow tempo category with fast passages and mid tempo songs. Examples of completely boring songs are: ‘Spellbound’, ‘Nostalgia’, ‘I’ll keep on dreaming’. Highlights: ‘Passion’ (with that crescendo form till we get the fast and aggressive part with exquisite drumming changes), ‘Out in the real world’ (an outstanding vocal melody and crunchy guitar tone. This one is my favorite so far), ‘Wherever you are’ again has a super cool melody. There are Spanish parts, violin solos, lots of piano so you can imagine this, in many ways you will notice is Ayreon’ alike-sound but if sounds completely different.
The haunting atmosphere will capture you from the very first spin. However, it will take, I believe, some listening to truly appreciate this release due to their weird sounds, strange songs pace and alternating tempos among the songs. But, we can be sure that once it gets into you there is no way that cd can accumulate dust in your collection. Specially, due to Marcela which puts a spell on you from the first single verse. Ergo, go and get it, the live album and of course, for increased pleasure, the DVD which will embrace you with a storm of absolutely beautiful music.