Opera Diabolicus’ “†1614” has been quite a few years in the making… as the main composer, David Grimoire and lyricist Adrian de Crow were looking for the right moment to stake with this project. It was in late 2009/early 2010 when this album was about to be released but due to low interest by the labels they took it back… and now in 2012… it is being finally released.
The line-up is incredible as Snowy Shaw - vocals, drums (Therion, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Notre Dame, Dimmu Borgir), Mats Leven - vocals (Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kryx), Niklas Isfeldt - vocals (Dream Evil) & Jake E Berg - vocals (Amaranthe, Dreamland) are participating in this album. But there’s not only them here… but also: Camilla Alisander-Ason - female vocals, Jonas Heidgert - vocals, Choirs, Eric Rauti - lead guitars & Elias Holmlid – keyboards.
The music is rather influenced by Therion, King Diamond, Dream Evil, Mercyful Fate, Notre Dame, Dimmu Borgir etc. and it blends heavy/power metal music along with opera, gothic, symphonic, progressive, death & black metal. It’s a very ambitious work indeed… for it balances right on the edge. It has a dark, mysterious, gothic and dramatic/theatrical background… & the musicianship is fairly solid. The lyrical concept is about Countess Bathory (influenced by Umberto Eco’s book “The Name of the Rose”) and that’s why the album is titled “†1614”, which is the date that the Countess died.
Even though, some may think that this is a very strong album… the truth is that it lacks personality and the various musical blending does not impress at all. Sometimes it’s like listening to a mix of Mercyful Fate, Dimmu Borgir & Candlemass… with several gothic-operatic passages… making the final result rather frustrating. I believe that they strive to be complex, grand, imposing, mysterious and gothic but they do not succeed it eventually. It has some good moments though… but the rather long songs windbag the listener after a while. Nevertheless, the album has a very dynamic and heavy sound… as it was produced and mixed by Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) at his Sonic Train Studio. The cover artwork is also very beautiful and dark. The conclusion is that in order to compose something so arresting and gloomy you must be more inspired, imaginative and not move on safe music paths.