Album info: 10 tracks – English lyrics – Wormholedeath-Dreamcell 11 / Aural Music – Release date: 9/23/11
I know it might be blasphemy to say this, but using opera singers in metal has almost become a cliché. I mean, how many bands can you name off the top of your head that incorporate operatic vocals into their sound? Quite a few, right? Well, good news: there’s still a way to take opera and metal and combine them in a way that’s both original and interesting. The Italian band Crysalys have done exactly that, and with stunning results.
Crysalys dub themselves “post-opera,” although I’d say one YouTube user’s use of the term of “operacore” covers it just as well. Instead of merely using operatic vocals to enhance the sound of metal songs, Crysalys also incorporate the essence and drama of opera into their sound. The band’s debut album, The Awakening of Gaia, which drops on September 23rd, shows us that their attempt in this is, for the most part, successful.
The title track opens the album with a tempest of symphonics, guitars, and pounding drums while vocalist Chiara soars over the storm with her fantastic voice. This song, also the band’s first single, really sums up exactly what Crysalys is all about. It’s a wonderful synthesis of two genres on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Check out the video for “The Awakening of Gaia” below:
Unfortunately, this is probably the best track on the album, and nothing else really lives up to it, but there are of course other songs that still pack quite a punch. On “Butterfly Effect” and “Lilium” Chiara shows us just what’s she’s capable of, while “Scarlet Crusade” hits the listener with chugging guitars and epic orchestration. “When Sirens Sing” starts off with a beautiful atmospheric passage that plunges right into a blast of bombastic symphonics over heavy guitar work. There is no shortage of the band’s metal side on this album either. “Time for Vultures” features some fantastic ear-pounding guitar riffs and is one of the heaviest tracks on the album, although nearly every track has its heavy moments, even the beautiful closing ballad “…And Let the Innocents Dream.”
There are, of course, a few songs that inevitably fade into the background. “By Stars Revealed” and “My Will Be Done” have a few good moments but overall just aren’t up to snuff, and “Angelica” starts off pleasantly enough, but falls through on the chorus.
Overall, for a debut album, The Awakening of Gaia is something Crysalys should be very proud of. Sure, there are some weak moments, but there are also some really amazing things on this record. The band plays to their strengths, and Chiara really is something else. I’d place her up there with Tarja and Floor as one of the best voices in the metal scene. If they keep this up, Crysalys has a bright future ahead. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on them, and I suggest you do too!
- Chiara Malvestiti – vocals
- Alessandro Camela – drums
- Fabio Amurri – keyboard
- Giuseppe Cardinali – bass
- Janos Murri – guitars