Although not an official release from Progressive Promotions Records the label has embraced the German progressive/metal band Deafening Opera as one of their own and is promoting their second release "Blueprint" with the same vigor as their stable of international progressive rock acts.
The band was formed back in 2005 by lead vocalist Adrian Daleore, guitarists Moritz and Thomas Moser, bassist Christain Eckstein, and drummer Konrad Gonschorek. In 2009 the band replaced original keyboardist Tilman Espert with current keysman Gerald Marie.
The debut album "Synesteria" released in 2009 was a harder edged prog/metal album while "Blueprint" branches out to incorporate a wider musical palate. There is a less aggressive Dream Theater or Symphony X approach to their tunes and more of the melodic neo-progressive/metal moments of Spock's' Beard, Echolyn, or Enchant.
A blurb on the promo package suggests the band's sound lies somewhere between Porcupine Tree and Riverside ... while to my ears I'd draw comparisons to Enchant, Shadow Gallery, Fate's Warning, and Magnum, with less emphasis on Porcupine Tree. I could also detect elements of the excellent 70s' US prog/rock group Ethos on a few tracks.
The lyrics are in English - with the exception of the track "Paraleino" which is French - and the corresponding promo sheet suggests the concept behind the album is "the story of life and the construction of man". But I got an altogether different message from the lyrics.
Oftentimes the music I review comes from international artists with lyrics written and performed in their native tongue, so unless you're bi-lingual it's impossible to follow the storyline of a concept album. But in the case of "Blueprint" all but one track is English. So this concept album was very easy to follow. And the information gathered from the lyrics painted a bleak portrait of a misguided misogynist's fleeting love-life and a nihilistic overview of life in general. All relationships are doomed to failure; hard drinking, immaturity, and using women as disposable sex objects is acceptable behavior; and the chauvinistic "if you say you love me then you must accept me flaws and all" mentality permeates the tracks on "Blueprint".
Examples of this can be found on tracks like "Dripping Hot Chocolate":
"The moon is full
and the days have been rough,
baby if you take it on,
you better take it off.
I'm not looking for love,
baby that ain’t me.
I can't help myself,
more is all I wanna see."
On the track "Blueprint" the protagonist asks for forgiveness for past indiscretions, as well as future ones yet to come. Expressing the deluded rationale - "you knew who I was before you met me - so cut me some slack".
"Another wake-up in a stranger's bed,
the whiskey’s aching in my head.
There's no way breaking my habits.
I just don't know why I attract
shitty situations like that.
Baby, please cut me some slack."
And the angst ridden track "Porcupine Syndrome" exposes the self-reflective gnawing pain of a tortured soul with an inability to love or be loved:
"I walk alone, the shadows drown,
my steps without a sound.
I haste through the midnight park
and the fire you once sparked
is burning deep within my chest.
It is not like I didn't care for you anymore.
Actually I regret how much I granted myself being myself.
The point is my body is scarred from the countless tries of getting close to someone I might love."
So since the majority of the songs on "Blueprint" seem to come from the dark recess of a trouble mind I'd interpret the band's message not as the "construction of a man" but the "destruction of a man".
But enough about the lyrics.
The music compositions are dynamic and well produced. And the musicianship is equally impressive. Something I've come to expect from anything with the Progressive Promotions Records stamp of approval.
Line up includes: Adrian Daleore (lead vocals), Moritz Kunkel (lead guitar, backing vocals), Gerald Marie (keyboards, backing vocals), Thomas Moser (rhythm guitar, spoken lyrics), Christian Eckstein (bass guitar, background vocals), Konrad Gonschorek (drums).
Highly recommended to fans of bands like Spock's Beard, Echolyn, Fate's Warning, Riverside, Shadow Gallery, Enchant, Threshold, and Somnambulist.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on November 13th, 2013