Operatika - The Calling
Scarlet Records
Power Metal
12 songs (51:29)
Release year: 2008
Operatika, Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Goat

Call me a cynic, but when a band describes itself as being Symphonic, I expect more than Rhapsodyian widdly guitars and a female vocalist. And no, putting a woman with a prominent nose and mildly provocative clothing on the front of your album will not make me more likely to purchase your music! Yet, giving this American band’s debut album a chance based primarily on the fact that they’ve supported Nightwish, Helloween and Therion – three of the Power Metal (or Power-related, before I get hatemail) bands that I’ve had experience with – proves that The Calling is not a bad album at all. Vocalist Slava is pleasant enough, obviously nowhere near as good as Tarja, but she hits the high notes well enough, and guitarist Bill Visser is at the front where he belongs, riffing hard, and I mean hard. When he’s not churning out the solos, which are fantastically over the top, he provides a solid backing chug that even Slava’s histrionics can’t drown out.

Even if you’ve heard this sort of music before (and let’s face it, if you’re skilled enough to find Metal Reviews on the internet, then you probably have) songs like Tears Of The Sun will have the majority of listeners nodding along. From the catchy vocal lines to the keyboard soloing (I think I’ve discovered the one Power Metal band on the planet where the keyboardist is actually hotter than the vocalist!) it’s pretty enjoyable, and whilst my inner wrathchild is recoiling even now at the sheer number of clichés in the album’s song titles, all it takes is a few bars of the keyboard intro to Dark Horizon for a big smile to get plastered to my face. This band aren’t afraid of blastbeats, by any means – they’re not at Nevermore or Iced Earth stages of heaviness yet, but the songs pack enough of a punch to keep a registered Death Metalhead like me interested. There are even a couple of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them growls, like in Ice Queen and Secrets Of The Past.

Listening to The Calling, it’s hard not to like this band whilst listening to it, but expecting to walk away with these songs stuck in your head is expecting too much. This album is solid, undoubtedly, and there are more than a couple of listens here to be had for those that really enjoy this sort of music. Considering that this is a debut album from a band formed six years ago, it’s impossible to be too harsh. Yet go in with an open mind and a good mood, and The Calling may well make your best-of list, yet if your aural diet of late has been nothing but old Nightwish and Rhapsody you may be less inclined to be favourable. Operatika have a silly name, but they also have songwriting skills, and on their next album, these may well be developed enough to create a killer band. This is close enough to keep you happy until then, however.

Killing Songs :
Tears Of The Sun, Life Saving Flame, Mask In The Mirror, Secrets Of The Past
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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