Marco Garau’s Magic Opera
The Golden Pentacle
February 19, 2021
Italy is the stronghold of opera, symphonic and cinematic metal. Year after year, new bands and projects try to follow the successes of Rhapsody (of Fire) et al. or (with some cuts) Ancient Bards. The latest attempt is made by Marco Garau, composer and keyboarder of the Italian Power Metal band Derdian. Under the name “Marco Garau’s Magic Opera” he gathers a multitude of musicians around him. The basic framework is formed by two band colleagues from Derdian. But the project is international. The line-up also includes members of Seven Thorns (Denmark), ShadowStrike (USA) and Wings of Destiny (Costa Rica). Sounds like a mega-project and a lot of work, especially in times of Covid 19, but modern technology and the internet make such cooperation possible.
Bells ringing, horses pattering and laugh. This is how the title song “The Golden Pentacle” starts. But later it becomes highly melodic. Singer Anton Darusso would also fit well into the Rhapsody universe. Typical for Italian symphonic metal are the sprawling keyboard passages. The drums are used discreetly, but nevertheless drive the band forward. And what would symphonic metal be without sophisticated guitar solos. “Elixir Of Life” is even more reminiscent of early Rhapsody. And again and again there are long instrumental passages in which guitars and keyboards alternate. A competition of instruments. And yet there are always beautiful melodies resounding from the speakers. This is also the case with “Keepers Of The Night”. Somewhat unusual in this kind of music are guttural growls. But on “Never-Ending Pain” they fit in thematically. I think they are contributed by bassist Enrico Pistolese. And as you would expect with such a song title, “Fight For The Victory” sounds very epic. A great midtempo anthem. Discreet growls are also used again. In “The Secret Of The Sea” and also “The Sacred Legacy”, the Italians sometimes go at a very high tempo. There are also quiet interludes where the singer is accompanied by the piano, amongst others. Especially in the latter, big epic choirs can be heard. The power ballad of the album “The Other Side” follows shortly before the end. A real highlight. Especially the singer can show his entire vocal variety here. Despite a strong pop attitude, the song doesn’t seem cheesy. And is refined by a huge guitar solo. The last two songs “Thief Of Souls” and “Until The End Of Time” could be described as typical for the genre Symphonic Metal. Here, ingredients that make up the Magic Opera album are once again presented in different variations. Piano and harpsichord sounds, strings. And also the growls.
Some might say symphonic metal is a well-trodden genre. But Maestro Marco Garau proves that this is not the case. While the successors to Rhapsody (of Fire) are a bit treading water, Magic Opera set new impulses here and there. Certainly, the genre is not revolutionised here, but it is developed further in nuances. And thanks to outstanding musicians, nothing is burning musically. Although sometimes I would have wished for a more powerful production. So even metal purists should give this album a chance.
Magic Opera – Until The End Of Time (Official Lyric Video): https://youtu.be/WH7_jgEOBsE
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)
- The Golden Pentacle
- Elixir Of Life
- Keepers Of The Night
- Never-Ending Pain
- Fight For The Victory
- The Secret Of The Sea
- The Sacred Legacy
- Free Again
- The Other Side
- Thief Of Souls
- Until The End Of Time