Orchestral, opera and metal are just a few words, but joined together they symbolise the music of French collective Melted Space. A collective, because on the helm stands Pierre Le Pape, a composer and piano player/keyboarder who works with a wide range of friends and musicians for his albums and projects. With The Great Lie Pierre releases the third album. After the previous album a real touring band was formed and these musicians are the foundation of these recordings, but besides these musicians Pierre invited a large number (fourteen) of befriended vocalists. Most of them from fairly unknown French bands and as an extra the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra was added the create a unique sound.
When you read the above, I guess names of other projects and similar “bands” will come forward. And yes, there are some resemblances with Ayreon; for the melodic parts and the number of vocalists, Avantasia; for the more metal approach and the power musical Aina. A strong point is the choice of guest vocalists, on one hand you can enjoy the combination of smooth and relaxed male and female vocals, like in the melodic, though powerful Called By The Queen, to grunt and growls holding songs like Trust And Betrayal and Hopeless Crime. Which have, vocal wise a very interesting and varied range of voices combined in one song. On the other hand you will find a song like A God Is Dead, just a sole voice, accompanied by piano and orchestra; a metal ballad that lacks any electric guitar or bass. Glass Castle's Beast also is a song that is on the smoother side of Melted Space music, again highlighting the combined voices of many. When I referred to Aina earlier, the song Terrible Fight comes to mind; a strong guitar riff, backed up with subtitle orchestration and a fine combination of vocal styles, topped with a strong solo. A song that definitely needs your attention is The One Who Lost The Faith, which holds parts of spoken words and ends up being the perfect conjuncture between movie score and orchestral metal. A song that also has Ayreon's Arjen Lucassen as special guest on a synth and guitar solo. Titania can be seen as one of the most accessible compositions on the album; the female vocals blend Nightwish and Within Temptation together and the male vocals add the extra roughness and growls to the song. Lost Souls From The Other Side closes the album, bringing the grand opera atmosphere together one more time with power metal and the bombastic arrangements of the orchestra. A perfect end for an impressive album.
Sometimes when I listen to an album that says it's a rock opera or otherwise holds at least a dozen vocalists, there always is a weakest link that seems to bother me. Pierre Le Pape has chosen wisely and did not go for the huge names, but chose those voices that would sound great together. With The Great Lie, I think some of those vocalists will get more attention and therefore get the chance to move forward in the musical scene. Thanks to this very fine album, created by an excellent musician and a great composer.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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