Released: 2010, AFM
From a marketing perspective this one is a nightmare! Basically Neverland is the band Dreamtone with a different singer. The band is formally billed as ‘Dreamtone & Iris Mavraki’s Neverland’. It’s doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. I suppose they have to do that to distinguish themselves from the dozen other bands called Neverland and to capitalize on the Dreamtone name. I don’t see the point personally because being from Turkey, and only having one album, Dreamtone aren’t really a household name in metal…yet.
I bought the first Neverland album earlier this year based on a good recommendation from the Sentinel Steel web-site and then not far behind the second album comes across my desk, so I’ve had a good chance to compare and contrast. In short-form Neverland is a progressive, Power Metal band. This comes across as a bit of an all-star project like Avantasia, SoulSpell, Missa Mercuria and many others. More specifically, lots and lots of vocalists! The first album had Hansi Kursh, Mike Baker and Tom Englund as guests and this time OPHIDIA recruits the vocal talent of Jon Oliva, Edu Falschi and Urban Breed. Not bad guys to have on your team.
The primary twin-vocal attack is provided by Iris Mavraki and Oganalp Canatan (Dreamtone) and it works very well, although I would have liked to hear more of her. Her vocals seemed mixed a little further back than I would have liked. I found the same with the other guests too. You can clearly tell it’s Jon on the track ‘Invisible War’ but his performance is not as loud and clear as you usually might hear. I think they could have done a bit more to counter-point each other vocals but both sing in the mid-range and blend together.
Sonically, this is a big production, lots of symphonic moments and the occasional acoustic spots as well. It certainly sounds and feels like a big concept album, with swirling keyboards, piano, flutes and more. The album never really lets loose, it all seems a bit restrained, the tempos are never too fast or too slow, the guitars never really cut loose. I would have liked to see a bit more of an epic, bombastic approach. The last album seemed a bit more intense and dynamic. For some reason some of it sounds a bit like House Of Lords or Ten. That is always very good thing, classy, elegant but this project has more potential to unleash. There is quite a lot of praise in the metal media for this album, but I'm just not hearing it.
I enjoyed OPHIDIA just slightly less than the debut. There is a lot of competition in this arena and while worthy, enjoyable, I think Dreamtone will have to do more than bring a few guests and Iris to the game. It’s pleasing, easy to listen to, good songs, technically great performances, good compositions, nothing wrong with any of it, next time they just need to bring the fire.