Amadeus Awad: Acoustic, Electric & Bass Guitars, Keyboards and Orchestration.
Anneke Van Giersbergen: Vocals.
Arjen Lucassen: Vocals.
Elia Monsef: Vocals.
Marco Minnemann: Drums on Tracks 2, 3, 5 & 6.
James Keegan : Drums on Track 4.
Nareg Nashanikian: Cello.
Rafi Nashanikian: Clarinet.
Dan Harper: Narration.
All music and lyrics by Amadeus Awad
Mixed and mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima at Tower Studios.
For Amadeus Awad this album is a song about his experience, for me, this album is a Universe.
I received the digital pack and spent the last few days listening to it, at times shuffled with Ayreon tracks and a lot of other Progressive Rock music. I admit, at first it was hard to have a clear opinion about the album, the opening track is partially a narrative that opens the way for the story to unfold, no action in the story, but a journey of feelings and thoughts… A few days later my brain was saturated with the melodies, so I gave the album listening a break; found myself humming “If Death is Just A Feeling…” and humming other parts of other songs that simply stuck. I wish it ended there, I also found myself playing air guitar and air drums while listening again.
Opia opens perfectly the album, the sound effects resembles Ayreon at times – the space journey feel. No one, and I am sure about this, no one could have sang the songs of this album other than Anneke van Gierbergsen – for me her voice and the feeling she puts in it is a composer’s dream voice.
Sleep Paralysis instantly became my favorite track of the year, it reminded me of the old “Gothic/Symphonic” metal tracks I always loved, something in the vein of Within Temptation; but not just that, Bluesy key lines, perfect 32nd note drum techniques. I think this track deserves a video; it is that perfect single bands have been trying to create.
After the nice drive that Sleep Paralysis has, Monday Morning calms down and takes us to a different environment, too many ‘what if’ questions when it comes to the destiny of people and the alternative lives they could have had. It is a nice track, but for me, it’s the weakest track on the album. It misses more dynamics, maybe a stronger bass guitar line. I guess you only notice scratches when the surface is a perfect polish.
Tomorrow Lies is the moment for Elia Monsef to shine, the music and lyrics are a perfect fit. The drum setup and mix is different for this track and I think this change is needed for this track also with the soft added layers to Elia’s voice.
Lonesome Clown. Excuse me, I have nothing to say here. Maybe just a bit, a long track of 12 minutes and 29 seconds and a BIG track. Everything boils to this central track, all the work culminates here.
Temporary was a surprise, it sounds like an Ayreon’s Human Equation track that was never released, especially with Arjen singing, but you can easily identify the Amadeus signature sound.
You can notice Amadeus’s broad influence of music and new sounds I have not heard on previous records. The balance of instruments on this album shows the development and almost perfection of Amadeus’ skills in music writing. This album tells the story of Amadeus’ life, his own experience with Death and that could be the first reason the words and sounds are so emotional; and the attention to all details is intended to make this soul expression “complete”.
I read Jorzine’s review few days before and saw the rating and thought to myself, the person writing is probably just a fan, exaggerating the facts and showing too much love to something that does not deserve as much. I was wrong, this album can easily be rated a 9/10 music, lyrics and sound.