Marco Garau’s Magic Opera – The Golden Pentacle
Release Date: 19/02/2021
Running Time: 64:56
Review by Beth Jones
Sunday is a day for rest, and indulgence, right? And for me, indulgence is listening to something elaborate, exuberant, and luscious. And, if you think the same, I have some excellent news for you! Marco Garau, an incredibly talented musician, composer, and keyboard player with Italian Symphonic Power Metal band, Derdian, has created a Symphonic Power Metal project called Magic Opera, and gathered together a bunch of equally talented musicians to bring the project to life! And their first album, “The Golden Pentacle”, is about to come and indulge your socks off!
“The Golden Pentacle” is a concept metal opera, based on a story written by Marco. The setting is the kingdom of Amtork, a faraway land, whose citizens live peacefully and happily, under the leadership of King Leiber. His loyal friend, a mighty wizard named Lord Kama, has helped him keep the land harmonious. But then, as always, an evil, peace-hating wizard, Sir Dohron, rears his head, and begins a feud, determined to throw the kingdom into torturous pain, and overthrow the king, so that he may reign supreme. In order to fulfill his evil plan, he must find the golden pentacle, a magical artifact that will give him ultimate power. But this dangerous relic was hidden away many centuries ago, by the ancestral fathers of Amtork, in order to bring peace and harmony across the kingdom. Will evil descend upon the land, or will good prevail?! Well, let’s find out!
The album begins with the title track. This gives us a bit of history about the Golden Pentacle, and sets the scene for the story. But aside from that, it also gives us a stonking Power Metal track, with thumping drums, classic cadences, and brilliant vocals from Anton Darusso.
This musical theme continues throughout the next few tracks. It’s dramatic, pacey, and superbly constructed and performed. It feels exhilarating, immersive, and exciting. Seeing this performed live would be out of this world! Every track is littered with stunning guitar solos, intricate harmonies, solid rhythms and bass lines, orchestral melodies, and glorious vocals, ranging from clean and clear, to a rough villainous edge, depending on where we are in the story. If Mozart and Beethoven could have collaborated on a symphony, using modern instruments, this is the sort of stuff they would have come up with!
Track 5, ‘Fight For The Victory’ takes the pace down a little, but even though the pace is less frenetic than the first few tracks, it’s no less dramatic. It’s got the feel of a March. The 2/4 rhythm, combined with the battle-esque, chant like vocal harmonies, conjure images of fantastical armies marching in readiness for mighty battles. It also has a ridiculously catchy chorus melody. Violins feature heavily in the orchestration here, too, which gives it a folky twist.
‘The Secret Of The Sea’ then punches things back in, with a mighty introduction! But then drops into solo piano, and single vocal line, telling more of the story of the location of the golden pentacle. But it quickly progresses into the upbeat, full-on spectacle that I’m now used to with this album. About halfway through the track however, we take a momentary break from orchestration, with a section of drums and guitar riffs. But that magical sound is quickly back, along with a face melting guitar solo!
The juxtaposition of quiet piano, versus intense thumping orchestral work is revisited in track 7, ‘The Sacred Legacy’, and it’s really possible to hear influences from classical music in this track, both through its cyclical cadences, and its instrumental technique. In places, it almost has a Baroque feel, and you could see it bursting into a power metal version of Bach’s ‘Toccata and Fugue’! This is a theme continued in track 8, ‘Fee Again’, as well.
‘The Other Side’ changes it up again, but this time to classic power ballad. Lighters at the ready for this one people! But make sure you have plenty of gas, because it’s just over 6 minutes long!
Aside from a quieter intro to ‘Thief Of Souls’, the album returns to the pacey immersive nature that it had to start, for the final two tracks, in order to bring the album to a close. There’s also some flipping awesome guitar work in ‘Thief Of Souls’, and if I had to pick a favourite track, this would be it, based purely on the guitar!
So, that’s it. Put simply, this is a stunning album, and well worth listening to if you like anything Symphonic, Orchestral, or Power orientated. My one criticism, and it is only a small one, is that there are some points where, for me, the balance of instruments is slightly off in the mix. The mid-section is a little heavy, and the drums get a little lost in it. But that is literally it, and I can get over that, because the musicality and composition is so damn good. And on the question of did good or evil win. Well, I’m not going to tell you! Ha! I’m not into spoilers. You’ll have to check out the album yourself to find out.
01. The Golden Pentacle
02. Elixir Of Life
03. Keepers Of The Night
04. Never-Ending Pain
05. Fight For The Victory
06. The Secret Of The Sea
07. The Sacred Legacy
08. Free Again
09. The Other Side
10. Thief Of Souls
11. Until The End Of Time
Marco Garau – Keyboards, Orchestrations (Derdian)
Anton Darusso – Vocals (Wings Of Destiny, Oxidize)
Gabriel Tuxen – Guitars (Seven Thorns)
Matt Krais – Guitars (ShadowStrike)
Salvatore Giordano – Drums (Derdian)
Enrico Pistolese – Bass, Backing Vocals (Derdian)
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