Operatika - The calling 4.5/5

Reviewed: 11-7-08


1. Intro
2. Gladiator
3. Tears of the sun
4. Dark horizon
5. Ice queen
6. Life saving flame
7. No. 3/23 in a minor
8. Mask in the mirror
9. Secrets of the past
10. The storm
11. The calling
12. Last quest

Back in 2005 I purchased and reviewed the debut EP 'Dreamworld' from the female fronted symphonic power metal band Operatika, and I was expecting to see their first full-length CD 'The calling' in 2006 or 2007, but it isn't until now (2008) that it ended up being released. The band was able to sign with the popular Italian label Scarlet Records though, so it will receive proper distribution, and as I was expecting, it was well worth the wait!

There were a number of aspects that impressed me about 'Dreamworld', and 'The calling' is the same in every way. In fact, 3 of the 4 songs from 'Dreamworld' are on 'The calling' ("Gladiator", "The storm" and "The calling") and they're cohesive with the rest of the CD. So if you have the EP, you know what to expect, which is tons of speed, sometimes even reaching the ultra-fast level of Dragonforce. Although the CD is lightly symphonic and it's classically influenced, it's definitely guitar oriented and there are many flashy guitar parts (neo-classical/shred style) that are simply amazing. In addition, the CD has a fairly aggressive feel and I really must emphasize that there is a high amount of speed, which is always a good thing in my mind.

I decided that instead of providing a long list of general band comparisons (like I usually do), I'd rather be a bit more specific, so I'll call this CD a blend of Nightwish's brilliant 'Oceanborn', Kapel Maister's extraordinary debut 'Into salvation' and Amberian Dawn's excellent debut 'River of Tuoni'. If you have those CDs, you'll know what you're getting here, regarding both style and quality. However, Operatika is not a clone. Just like these other bands, they have their own sound that's similar to these other bands, yet different at the same time.

One thing that was interesting to learn about the band is that almost all of the original members are still intact. There are many bands that go through numerous line-up changes, so this truly is great news. You all know that I'm a huge fan of female vocalists, and Operatika's beautiful Slava Popova is certainly one of my favorites, as she has a fantastic voice that isn't too operatic and fits the band's style perfectly. Bill Visser is obviously still on guitars, and his performance is simply spectacular. Anna Dok is the band's keyboard player, and she does a great job of providing the keys in at atmospheric manner, but they're upfront sometimes too. Yuri Liakhovitch is the speedy drummer, though the band has had a number of bass players. Luckily, they were able to grab Michael Lepond for this CD's recording, who's known for his role in Symphony X, Distant Thunder and others.

Every song on 'The calling' is catchy, fast, memorable, and there is not one song that I don't like. Really, it's such an amazing CD that impresses in every way possible, though I still would very much like to hear a ballad from the band, as I know Slava could shine even more. I also want to add that this band/CD is suited perfectly to my tastes and there will certainly be metal fans out there that won't dig 'The calling' as much as me. That said, if you've found my ratings and reviews for similar bands (Nightwish, Amberian Dawn, Kapel Maister, Arya, Wildpath, Auspex, Dawn of Destiny, etc.) to be in line with your opinions, then you'll be very happy with this CD, as I am.




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