Quick plays: NEOPERA, GRAMERCY ARMS, KNIFEWORLD

NEOPERA – Destined Ways

earMusic www.neopera.com [Released 21.07.14]

Neopera were formed by guitarist Jorn Schubert (Dark Age) in 2010 and the line-up includes Gamma Ray’s Dirk Schlächter, along with two operatic styled vocalist Nina Jiers (soprano) and Thorsten Schuck (baritone) plus  the less operatic Mirko Gluschke on shouts/growls!

Neopera could easily be accused of being Nightwish clones, however they go for a more controlled female singer and most songs feature all three singers trading off each other’s vocals, none more so than the excellent opener ‘The Marvel Of Chimera’. This sounds very Kamelot like with the orchestral arrangements/keys to the fore.

The quieter songs work well too, with ‘Last Pantomime’ bringing to mind the West End/Broadway feel of TSO. Thorsten Schuck gets to shine on this song, along with a top notch guitar solo from Jorn Schubert.

The album works well as no song is out of place and the songs don’t get extended for the sake of adding in a say a guitar solo. Those who like symphonic metal should check out Neopera as this debut has plenty to offer and here’s hoping this is a long term band and not just a one-off. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

GRAMERCY ARMS – The Seasons Of Love

www.gramercyarms.com [Released 21.07.14]

Gramercy Arms is a collective led by Dave Derby and it features members of Throwing Muses, Luma and Guided By Voices. Derby wrote most of the songs too, bar a couple of co-writes.

The album kicks off with the breezy pop of ‘Always In Love’, then the first of two stand out songs ‘Beautiful Disguise’ which features a duet between Joan Wasser aka Joan As Policewoman and Lloyd Cole. A truly magnificent tune and they suit each other’s vocals to a tee.

‘Winter Light’ is the other stand out, with its instant chorus although it does remind you of Train’s big hit ‘Hey Soul Sister’ at times. It has hit written all over it, a bit like ‘Novemberlong’ a real pick me up tune, plenty of horns and guitar helping the tune along.

The up-tempo tunes and ‘Always In Love’ work best for this listener, as the other songs are good but don’t draw you back again and again. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

KNIFEWORLD – The Unravelling

Inside Out www.insideout.de [Released 21.07.14]

Knifeworld is the band fronted by Kavus Torabi (Cardiacs/Gong) and the band created a veritable smorgasbord of sounds, with a heavy jazz rock influence.

I did find this album hard going to be honest as the jazzier elements are not for me, however you can’t fault the musicianship and ‘I Can Teach You How To Lose A Fight’ has more musical ideas in that one song than many prog bands have in their entire repertoire. I do like the epic closing song ‘I’m Hiding Behind My Eyes’ which has hints of Yes in the arrangements and is the most accessible song.

Those who like a challenging listen mixing jazz, psychedelic and quirky pop/indie should give this album a listen. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



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