Recorded and mixed at Studio Underground, Sweden in January 2000. Produced and engineered by Pelle Saether. Assisted by Magnus Soderman and Lara Linden. Mastered at Massive Arts.
- Act I: The first seal
- Act II: Beyond the black diamond gates
- Act III: Carnal delight in the vortex of evil
- Act IV: Congressus cum daemone
- Act V: The magic temple
- Act IV: The sixth seal
- Bela Lugosi’s dead (Bauhaus cover)
And so to the conclusion of my introduction to Opera IX, to their (and my) third album The Black Opera: Symphoniae Mysteriorum in Laudem.
I took a few days off before listening to this album, having had a bit of an Opera IX overload last week. I also had my first ocular migraine, which I’m still suffering from as I write this—the headache has gone for now but the visual anomalies are still very much present. To misquote someone on Twitter this week, having a migraine is a bit like staring at the sun, with concussion, listening to black metal! Anyway…
Of the three albums I’ve listened to this is by far the most palatable. The song writing is more mature, the musicianship is more accomplished, the production is better. All in all this is the best of the three, which is a bit of a relief as I was feeling a bit down about not terribly enjoying the last two albums.
Musically the album makes me think of Paradise Lost meets Arch Enemy, with elements of Celtic Frost’s more avant garde moments: it’s gothic metal with a black heart.
Whereas with previous albums the songs seems to go on for ever quite needlessly, this time around there seems to be more of a journey, more of a purpose. It’s more interesting.
I imagine that the lyrics aren’t the cheeriest, but given that I can’t focus just now I’m not even going to attempt to read them. It’s hard enough typing this on a keyboard that seems to melt in front of my eyes. For accessibility considerations on future releases black metal bands may wish to consider not printing their lyrics in red on black in the most unreadable script typeface. Just a thought boys and girls.
All in all, a much, much better release than their previous two offerings. This has been quite a fun recording to listen to as I’ve pottered rather blindly around the house in a migraineous haze. Good work Opera IX, more like this please.
Review score: 90%