Released: 2011, Magna Carta
Record label, Magna Carta is usually, not always, but usually known for it’s prog based roster, so it was a nice surprise to see them branch out a touch and sign this heavier Prog/Power band. X-Opus are a relatively new band out of the US and with Magna Carta’s reputation for discovering and supporting new talent, I’m not surprised they picked up the band.
Founded some years back by James Williams and some guys that seem to be new to the Metal scene, this young band really nailed it on their first try. THE EPIPHANY is a very solid, well-written, well-performed slab of Progressive Power. Vocalist Brian Dixon (no, not Cathedrals drummer) leads the charge with a soaring performance with a good range and nice power to his classic delivery.
Lyrically the band traverses well-traveled ground; songs about Egypt, Angels Heaven, Flying and so on but the lyrics are competent and interesting. The band isn’t afraid to embrace it’s prog side with the 10 minute epic ‘Forsaken’. There are quite a few keyboards as well but it’s the Malmsteen-esque leads of Williams that are often the showcase. The dude can play and isn’t afraid to show it which is a good thing. When making a first impression, it shouldn’t be about restraint!
It’s a tough, very tough and competitive environment these days, more and more high-calibre bands such as this entering the Metal arena and slogging it out for supremacy among a finite number of fans. I think X-Opus will have the depth of talent on the bench and what it takes to make it to the next round. Sorry for the bad sports metaphors but I was watching NHL Hockey playoffs before writing this review!