After two European tours with Symphony X and Leaves Eyes, both to promote and celebrate Melted Space's previous album The Great Lie (see review 2015) Main man Pierre Le Pape was ready to start working on a third Melted Space record. Like the previous album, Darkening Light is a highly orchestrated bombastic metal opera, where he is accompanied by a solid metal band, the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and a rather large number of vocalists.
Darkening Light is one of these albums where you keep on flipping through the accompanying booklet to see who is doing which vocal part. For sure, you will recognize your favourite vocalist. Jeff Scott Soto in my case, but the opera-metal female voices and harsh male vocal parts makes me want to check if I am right in my guess. So is Newborns a well-chosen combination of the opera style of Catherine Trottman and the fine melodic voice of Vision of Atlantis vocalist Clémentine Delauny. Pierre Le Pape takes the male part during this track. This track is just one of the compositions where Pierre has chosen wisely to use the right kind of voice at this part of the album. Same goes for the majority of the songs, great combinations of vocalists that really work well together. One of my personal highlights is From The Beginning To The End, where brutal harsh parts and smoother female vocals come together in harmony. Musically elements from death and symphonic metal are fused to perfectly fit into the opera. Another very notable track is the corporation between vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (Sons of Apollo) and Dark Tranquillity's Mikael Stanne during Trust In Me. I guess by using just two vocalists in one song does suit the composition best.
When you look at the given musicians and the really great interaction between the real orchestra and powerful band, I must say Pierre has delivered an amazing album. All the twelve vocalists are used to the maximum. Resulting in a very balanced album, never too much of the female operatic vocals and grunts and harsh parts well chosen, but not overly present. In a way Pierre chooses to follow the musical path of Ayreon, only a much heavier one. I wonder how an album with just a small line-up would sound like, the aforementioned Trust In Me, because that particular track had quite an impact on me.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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