Opera Diabolicus is a new project started by to Swedish gentlemen by the name of Adrian De Crow and David Grimoire. As the story goes, they met backstage at a 2006 stage play version of Umberto Eco’s great THE NAME OF THE ROSE, and decided on the spot to work together on a similarly themed dark musical project. Fast forward six years and +1614, the first offspring of their partnership is born, with assistance by some heavy metal luminaries (Snowy Shaw, Mats Leven, and Andy LaRocque among others).
To me, +1614 is best described as a heavy metalopera – but don’t get visions of Avantasia here no, this is not power metal at all, but more along the lines of dark lyrical heavy metal such as Mercyful Fate, and perhaps the less adventuresome moments of Therion. Add in all of the guest vocalists and you’ve got, on paper, what should be an interesting listen. Sadly, the issues crop up immediately: lyrically, this is largely based on the Countess Bathory legend…yawn. I’ll never judge a band for their inspirations, but this one has been done so many times in heavy metal that I’d be happy never hearing it again. Secondly, and this one is a bit tougher to put my finger on, but the music just doesn’t grab me at all. True to the description, this is dark-edged traditional metal with progressive elements. In addition, the vocalists all do a phenomenal job of carrying the story with strong, emotive singing. Yet, not a single song stands out as something special. It’s also not a “you have to listen to the whole album to get it” type scenario – I’ve done that many times and come away unimpressed each time. I keep waiting for the music to grab me, but it never does.
I guess this is a case where the parts are greater than the sum, as everything on +1614 is seemingly in place for a spectacular album, but it just doesn’t happen. By no means is this a bad album, but neither is it a great album.
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