Dreamtone & Iris Marvaki's Neverland - Ophidia
AFM Records
Symphonic Power Metal
10 songs ()
Release year: 2010
AFM Records
Reviewed by Thomas

Neverland or Dreamtone and Iris Mavraki's Neverland if you must is a Turkish/Greek collaboration between the Turkish power/prog band Dreamtone and the Greek singer Iris Mavraki. Mixing up symphonic power metal with a southeastern folk touch that sometimes even resembles Arkona, should make for a pretty spicy experience. What sounds exciting on paper, doesn't necessarily live up to the expectations however, and while this is nowhere near the badlands, it took a couple of spins to sink in. The main reason is the sloppy production job that almost leads me to believe that the album isn't even done yet. The mix is very uneven and dry, as the guitars for instance are drawn beneath everything else in the sound picture, and sometimes you'll just catch the low ends of the riffing. Extremely annoying at times, but as Ophidia sinks in, you don't really take notice of it anymore and are rather charmed by some of the enthralling melody lines and the distinct eastern influence in the song-writing. The symphonic elements can get extremely possessive like on the lively Invisible War and the less lively Will of God. The female vocals, sometimes operatic, sometimes straight-forward, are very cool and adds a new dimension without being overused and getting downright irritating. The progressive elements are many, and the often unexpected tempo-shifts, poly-rhythmic twists and quick yet precise turns you'll find in nearly every song, lifts this a step above generic.

Put an instrumental version of Blind Guardian, Arkona, early Sonata Arctica and some Ra's Dawn in blender and you've gotten yourself a nice bowl of mixed candy. Adventurous atmosphere mixed with entertaining riffs, blistering solo work, rock solid rhythm work and huge compositions makes for a lot of good stuff that most power metal fans should enjoy if they get over the production problem if they even have one. Songs like the Kamelotian Ashes to Fall, brilliant yodeling Invisible War, the blazing Final Odyssey and the uprising and inspiring instrumental closer Into the Horizon is alone reason enough to give this a shot.

Through dry desert plains, fruitful and aquatic oases and mystic crypts and tombs, the Dreamtone-boys and Iris Marvaki will take you. Even if it's not as great as it could and should be, the majestic eastern emperors and lone empress will take you on an eventful journey that won't be forgotten anytime soon by yours truly at least. Very cool stuff, and easily recommended for fans of the mentioned bands and power metal in general.

This is not close to being ground-breaking or particularly original, but it's damn fun, and the cultural tastes will dance delightfully in your mouth when your done with it, sparking a fiery lust for repetition. The only beef I have with this aside the sub-par production and sound is the vocals. They're not bad, but they're not even close to sticking out either. Playful, distinguished vocals is just what this needs to add the details it requires to be a truly great power metal album that stands out. Instead this will probably fade into obscurity. A damn shame. However, this is very cool stuff, and easily recommended for fans of the mentioned bands and power metal in general

Killing Songs :
Invisible War, Final Odyssey, Into the Horizon
Thomas quoted 81 / 100
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There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:11 pm
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