So why am I reviewing this album after all? Well, for the money of course. After reading this review, many of our readers will go over to Amazon and buy this album, which yields us a little percentage. There's also another reason, one which is actually true and realistic: this album pleasantly surprised me. As I already wrote, I saw the promotional video for the song 'The Creator And The Destroyer', (with featured Dani Filth and Simone Simons) when I published the news about this album. Because of that song, I somewhat felt like listening to some good old gothic metal, or symphonic metal, whatever you like.
So today, I loaded the album into my media player and pressed play. The Grammy Award winning Metropole Orchestra started playing the intro and I thought "hm, not bad but quite typical". Then, Charlotte Wessels [Delain] started singing over another orchestral piece and I thought "hello nineties metal scene, nice to see you again". Eventually, 'The Muse And The Conductor', with vocals by Marc Hudson [Dragonforce] & Alissa White-Gluz [Arch Enemy] started pulling me over, and before I realized it, my head was nodding along with the music. I like the flashes of insanity in this song. This whole thing was getting more and more interesting.
Perhaps a bit of background information is welcome at this moment. 'Karmaflow' is a project by Ivo van Dijk (Xystus, Equilibrio), combining a videogame, this soundtrack and theatre. It's the first rock opera videogame which started out as a graduation project in 2013. I'm not sure if there will ever be live performances, but judging from what I'm listening to right now, these performances could be pretty damn awesome. The music is loaded with heavy guitars, elaborate symphonic passages and a healthy dose of electronics. Over these, an array of well-known vocalists do what they do best. Fans of bands like Epica, After Forever, Nightwish and Dragonforce, to name a few, will be enchanted by this thing.
In my opinion, this is simply an excellent album and I'm not even surprised that this whole thing was pulled off by a Dutch person. Why? Well, let's face it, the Dutch have made this genre what it is and are damn good at keeping it interesting. The only things is, for me it sometimes gets a bit over-the-top, a bit too bombastic and too clean. The technical level is tremendous and there are some stunning songs, like 'The Guide' and my favorite 'The Creator And The Destroyer'. But there is also something cabarettesque, so to speak. Then again, it is a soundtrack and it also feels that way. If you're a gamer, I'm sure it must be an awesome experience do dwell in this multidisciplinary fantasy.
So what to remember from this write-up? Well, above all, I guess it's safe to say that this definitely is a remarkable achievement, an ambitious that certainly lives up to its expectations. Fans of symphonic metal will be ecstatic when they listen to this album. I mean, all their favorites are present and the whole thing is done with such precision, such passion and such professionalism that it almost has to become a landmark in its genre.