Neverland – ophidia


By Jason Wellwood

The first thing I’ll give this album is that nothing is overblown like most progressive or power metal albums. Sure, it’s loud and it has its bombastic moments, but for the most part the entire album feels understated which unfortunately isn’t a good thing in the power metal genre. I tried really hard to like this album but I just couldn’t do it. On paper, all the parts are there: lyrics touching on fantasy fiction, guest vocalists Jon Oliva (Jon Oliva’s Pain, Savatage, Trans Siberian Orchestra), Urban Breed (Bloodbound, Tad Morose) and Edu Falaschi (Angra, Almah), a well respected progressive power metal band (Dreamtone from Turkey) and Greek singer Iris Mavraki. Sounds like it should be a winner, right? Heck, even all the reviews I had read myself lead me to believe that this was going to be a pretty decent record. However, I didn’t find the album to be very good. Vocally, Oganalp Canatan sounds like he’s trying to sing in the wrong register. His voice sounds compressed and like he’s straining very hard to stay within the mid-range of the songs. He does, however, sound quite good in the slower, mellower parts of the songs but the more dynamic, powerful parts of ophidia don’t seem to suit him at all.

The same goes for the guitar tone on the album. Everything sounds strangled, like it wants to let loose but can’t quite do it. The keyboards, particularly on ‘Speak To Me’, become almost ridiculous sounding and detract even more from the songs. I also found it odd that Iris Mavraki’s name is on this (the full band name is: Dreamtone and Iris Mavaki’s Neverland) but you almost never hear her. There are a few minutes of background vocals but by song 8, you’ve barely heard a peep. The high points on this album are definitely the guest performances; particularly Urban Breed, who really livens up ‘Silence The Wolves’.

For my money, I’d pass on this record. It isn’t awful but it’s really isn’t very good either. The pieces are in place for a good record but they need to find a much better guitar tone, help the singer find his niche (or write in a more comfortable key) and reign in the keyboardist. For starters.

(AFM Records)

Rating: 3

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.