Written by: PP on 03/05/2010 21:50:19

Proof that Greeks and Turks can resolve their differences can be found in Neverland, a progressive symphonic metal band featuring members from both countries collaborating together. Their debut album "Reversing Time" was fantasy-metal oriented I've been told, but here on their sophomore album "Ophidia", the band have chosen to return to planet earth and are now telling the story of "evil lurking within the society and in general the evil within mankind" according to their own words. Which is a refreshing change really when you consider the ridiculous amount of fantasy bands existing in this genre already.

The music follows the usual symphonic prog metal formula: the keyboards sound like they're replicating a full-scale symphonic orchestra, the guitars feature a distinct power metal base while deviating into more technical passages every now and then, and the vocals are cleanly sung, mostly baritone male, though Iris Mavraki provides a female vocal as a contrast. Her vocals, however, are so closely aligned to any gothic metal vocalist nowadays, that they feel boring and forgettable as a result, which is also why the best moments during "Ophidia" can be found when she shuts the hell up (to put it bluntly). Every now and then there's a hint of folk in their melodies, such as on the balladic "Will of God" or during the galloping intro riffs of "Invisible War".

There are a couple of excellent tracks on the record, most notably "Ophidia", but this is where my frustration with the record begins. For every great stab of solid melody or chorus, there's a boatload of pure average which comes in one ear and exits out the other without making any impact on the listener whatsoever. It's the sole reason why I can't recall more than just a few cuts from the record no matter how hard I try to pay attention while listening to it. Even the inclusion of Jon Oliva (Savatage) and Edu Falshi (Angra / Almah) as guest musicians on the record doesn't make enough of a difference to matter in this review. When it comes to prog metal, symphonic or not, there are just so many better alternatives out there for you to spend your time and money on Neverland.

Download: Ophidia
For the fans of: Blind Guardian, Jon Oliva's Pain,
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.03.2010
AFM Records

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