How can you have symphonic doom metal? Surely both these sub genres of metal cancel each other out; one being slow and heavy and one being fast and more melodic. This is 1614, the new album by Gothenburg based metal super group Opera Diabolicus. Made up of members of Therion, Dream Evil, Amaranthe and Dreamland, Opera Diabolicus really does just sound like the bands just mentioned. There is nothing new or unique on this album and that’s a real shame because some of the finest metal musicians around are in this super group. With only a few decent moments on 1614 – the guys in Opera Diabolicus might as well stick to their day jobs. Go back to their day jobs before their credibility is tarnished by such a terrible album!
1614 is made up of nine drawn out; long, boring doom mental drone-fests. With the average track lasting around 7 minutes wrong, Opera Diabolicus really know how to make the listener fall asleep, mixing slow, noise filled guitar riffs, rather depressive symphonic parts and a mix of harsh and soft vocals to form tracks such as ‘The Gates’, ‘Blood Countess Bathory’ and ‘Forbidden’. Sure, if these tracks where a lot shorter, bordering on the four minute line then the tracks on 1614 would be a lot less boring and a lot more memorable, rather than ploughing on slowly for that extra six minutes or repetition and earache.
From the moment the ‘Overture’ kicks in to the final slow beats of ‘Stone by Stone’, there is so much repetition on 1614, and it’s this what makes the album so unbearable. The guitar riffs sound quite similar all throughout the album and as for the symphonic backing, it’s just your basic string powered orchestra. If there was a few more original and unique ideas flying round the minds of the likes of Snowy Shaw, Mats Leven and Niklas Isfeldt, and more diversity, instead of the boring monotonous drone present through most of this album, then at least it would be a bit more of an interesting album.
There is one good thing about this album though…… and that is the artwork. Very gothic and emotional, quite similar to the likes of Therion, Cradle of Filth and Mercyful fate, being very simple, but never the less showing more than one message. It’s clearly linked with the concept of the album which is mainly about this “Blood Countess Bathory”. Where, the musical fails, the artwork and concept succeed for once.
Mixing elements of doom, black, death, progressive and symphonic metal, 1614 is a mix bag album which really does not work. There are some genres that should definitely not be mixed together, and Opera Diabolicus have clearly proved this with this album…. Let’s hope they don’t go back into the studio any time soon! [4/10]