No wonder Fabulae Dramatis sounds so eclectic, so varied and so out of the ordinary. Formed in 2011, they seem inspired not only by ancient tales and legends but also by a wide array of musical styles, from opera to death metal and from progressive rock to strange avant garde music.
'Solar Times's Fable' is their second album after 'Om', which was released in 2012. With eleven tracks, each as headstrong as the next one, these Belgians certainly created something unique. Perhaps I can best compare the songs to experimental metal versions of Tim Burton's 'Nightmare Before Christmas' songs. They're narrative, story telling pieces of music, not only in the vocals but also in the instrumentation.
Because everything is varied on this album. Along with the usual metal instruments, you can hear immersive acoustics, sitar, djembé, sax and orbipan. Vocals range from metal power metal chants over operatic vocals to death growls and back again. Finally, there are music influences from jazz, tango and the aforementioned styles. Bands that come to mind include Therion, Helloween, Orphanage, Dream Theater and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.
At first thought, this album might be somewhat difficult to follow, certainly for fans of the regulars like symphonic and heavy metal. Sure, the whole thing rocks like hell but the overall feeling is something complex and unusual. However, somehow Fabulae Dramatis have succeeded in creating something that resembles a good book. You want to hear more. You want to know what comes next, you want those saucy, heavy passages but also those intimate moments.
The verdict? This is a stunning piece of work, something that completely and utterly blew all my expectations. To be honest, I was expecting another rather typical After Forever or Epica clone but what I got was one of the most surprising and fascinating things I've heard in a while. So naturally, this thing comes highly recommended. The level of musical craftsmanship is immense. I'm almost speechless.