Marco Garau’s Magic Opera – Battle of Ice

Marco Garau’s Magic Opera – Battle of Ice
Release Date: 27/01/23
Running Time: 01:04:07
Review by Simon Black

I had come across the first part of this epic saga of bombastic Symphonic Metal from Derdian’s Marco Garau a couple of years ago. To be honest, despite being the Ever Metal guy who normally dives straight for this sort of stuff from the slush pile like the little Power / Symphonic junkie that I am, I struggled with that first record somewhat. It wasn’t a bad album at all, but it didn’t grab me in the way that I expected it to given the pedigree of its contributors. But then you have to start somewhere, lockdown probably didn’t help and the difference between this second part of the story and 2021’s “The Golden Pentacle” is positive and tangible. It also feels like a whole bunch of the niggles I personally had with that record have been addressed, which is a little spooky… because we don’t really believe anyone actually reads all this drivel that we write…

Now any act where the keyboard player has his name on the cover is always going to dominate the melody lines, but this time this feels like a full and cohesive band working together rather than (admittedly top drawer) hired hands just playing their pre-written parts. “Pentacle” felt like that the writing had happened long before the rest of the gang arrived; “Battle of Ice” does not. OK, there’s plenty of moments of the kind of operatic flourish that the Italian Symphonic segment has more than a few examples of, but stylistically this is also a lot more varied. Vocally Anton Darusso’s moved against the flow of the keyboard melody lines this time out and it makes for a much richer feel, with guitarist Enrico Pistolese adding some Extreme vocal touches this feels much more like a piece of music crafted collaboratively by some pretty talented guys, with Garau no longer dominating as he did first time out. 

Garau gives us plenty of instrumental pizazz for sure and the sparring with guitarist Luca Sellitto works well, with the right balance between Neo-Classical, some good old fashioned Metal shred and some highly unusual time switches that shouldn’t work but do (‘The Legend of the Demon’s Cry’ being a great example of this). More importantly the whole album flows so well that I found myself on my third full spin before remembering that I had a review to write, which is a sign that this one is going to stay within easy reach for a while. A huge improvement indeed and it really feels like a band effort, not a solo side project, and one I am now quite keen to hear the next segment of…

‘Ride Into The Sun’ Official Lyric Video

01. The Black Sorcery
02. The Cursed Crown
03. The Legend of the Demon’s Cry
04. Assault on the Castle
05. Ride into the Sun
06. White Dragon
07. The Shadow Man
08. The Book of Evil
09. Under Siege
10. Battle of Ice

Marco Garau – Keyboards
Anton Darusso – Vocals
Enrico Pistolese – Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
Luca Sellitto – Lead Guitars
Salvatore Giordano – Drums
Ollie Bernstein – Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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