LaCroix Despheres (The Cross of the Sphere) – Dernier Paradis (The End of Paradise) – 4.5/5
Just when you thought it was no longer possible to cram (or in this case, ‘delicately arrange’ feels more apt) any more flower into that power, where nothing could be fluffier than a band who calls themselves ‘Fairyland,’ come along this Symphonic/Power Metal band that prove once again that things can always be taken a step further. Whilst some will no doubt consider this an atrocity, once you come to terms with the fact that the orchestra WILL dominate, and the theatrics will go to epic new heights, you will find something exemplary. If you’re looking for your balls, they won’t be found in this idyllic garden, but if you want music to float along with the fairies to, then you may have just hit the jackpot.
Both electric and acoustic guitars do make a notable presence with short rhythmic solo pieces as well as carrying the track, supplying a light touch wherever utilised to keep with the sound of the track. Often sharing the spotlight with the rest of the instrumentation, the orchestra works to supply layers of work, from the violinist supplying a wonderful atmosphere with the piano work, as the flutes dance gracefully across the surface of the music in a majestic flutter, the occasional oboe work contributing and often playing off of the flutes elegantly. The drums are clearly capable, working in the background, and the guitars still make themselves known, but its all the additional instrumentation that make this so exceptional, supplying many layers, creating a rich atmosphere to their sound, fragile and yet never tiring.
With two operatic vocalists, a mid-ranged tenor and a high-pitched soprano both perform beyond what many vocalists are capable of. The tenor often taking the lead, avoids the trap of producing an overtly high pitch, with a sufficient deep tone and surprising range he provides a power that lives up to the name of the genre. The soprano, too, is no light touch. Capable of a powerful soprano in her own right, she perhaps can hit a note too high to not become irritating eventually, her deeper pitched work avoiding this. Of course, if operatic vocals aren’t your thing, they even have an instrumental version on the cd, the music easily capable of sustaining it, though personally thought this felt sub-par to the version with the vocals.
If thus far this special had one major discovery, this would be it. Whilst perhaps a little short, it is apparent how much work has gone into its creation. Its delicate nature should not go understated, full of dream-like moments, atmospheric interludes, fills, and a vast range of vocals, this album feels so far past the stage of being merely ‘symphonic,’ implying abuse of keyboards and high pitched vocalists. Welcome to what I sincerely hope may well become one of the first in a new genre of “Power Opera.”
Highlights: La Vérité Fermée, Ouverture de la Soireé, Fiore