OPERADYSE – Pandemonium

OPERADYSE – Pandemonium

What havoc Helloween has brought upon the world in terms of the power metal scene? Happy melodies, persistent double bass, dual guitar harmonies- and keyboardists laying down orchestration to fill in the sonic gaps. French quintet Operadyse have spent 7 years in the symphonic power metal scene, releasing an EP "Hope Era Dies" in 2009 prior to this debut album. With Spheric Universe Experience vocalist Franck Garcia taking over for former female singer Jennifer Lassalle, "Pandemonium" is a 10 track, 45 minute effort in line with early Sonata Arctica, Labyrinth, and Rhapsody.

At times a touch too flowery (check out the airy flute-like strains and acoustic guitars for "Arkanya"), Operadyse works best when they put their heads down and intertwine dramatic keyboard segments with these heavy bursts of guitars: "Celestial Sword" and the title cut exemplify what works best for the band. I imagine a militant charge thundering forward during the instrumental sections of "Fairies Secret Garden" as well as the dynamic tempo shifts which work brilliantly against the high quality Garcia melodies for the Kamelot-esque "Nevermore".

A certain segment of power metal fans enjoy the clichés that other ridicule- and I can hear Operadyse push the drama and theatrical elements to the fullest, even in the quieter moments of "Celestial Sword". Not my favorite album of this genre (it’s hard to top "Ecliptica" or "Return to Heaven Denied"), but "Pandemonium" does offer enough choral harmonies, mountaintop riffing, and steady fast paced drumming to give me hope that Operadyse could shine for years to come.