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Released: 2000, Limb Music
From the metal hotbed of Portugal, yes you heard me right Portugal, comes this 6 piece neo-classical melodic powermetal band. When I think of powermetal Portugal is not the first place that I think of. Italy, Germany maybe even Sweden but not Portugal. Well Oratory are out to change all that. The debut cd is entitled Illusion Dimensions and is a 12 tracks of melodic powermetal with a small twist as Oratory employs a female as well as a male vocalist. The band consists of Ana Lara and Marco Alves on vocals, Miguel Gnomes: guitars, Paul Santos: bass, Joao Rodrigues: drums and Antonio Silva: bass.
With the popularity of female vocalists in bands such as Tristania and Theatre of Tragedy and of female vocals in general it was only a matter of time before powermetal was introduced to a mixed male and female fronted band. Though I am sure there are other examples to be found in the powermetal world Oratory is the first that comes to mind. The Cd is an interesting mix of powermetal added with a touch of gothic. Illusion Dimensions opens with the title track which is a 1:19 intro which leads into "With Glory and Melody". This track has a distinct Stratovarius influence and tells the story of a warrior on the sacred metal way. Lara and Alves share vocal duties and this pattern is repeated throughout the disc. "Kingdom’s Legacy" is a mid tempo track that again highlights the dual vocal melodies. Alves handles most of the vocal work but Lara adds her strong voice that augments and interacts with his to create a unique and dynamic sound. The haunting ballad "In The Sky" showcases the strong voice of Alves and again reminds me of some of Stratovarius’ more laid back tunes. Other stand out tracks include "Life in Another Star" which deals with visitors from other planets and the CD closer, a hidden track, which is both sombre and powerful.
When I received the promotional material for Oratory it began by asking the listener to imagine Stratovarius and Theatre of Tragedy getting together to create an album. Well I think they hit the nail right on the head. Not to say that Oratory sound like either band. They sound like a powermetal band crossed with the recessive gene for gothic metal. Their tunes are neither blazingly fast like Startovarius nor slow and airy like Theater of Tragedy. The sound is an amalgam of the two with many other metal elements thrown in to create a sound that will do Oratory well in the future.
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