Deafening Opera – Let Silence Fall
The third album is the ‘make it or break it’ point, so they say. So did Munich based progressive rockers of Deafening Opera make it with their third album “Let Silence Fall”? Having given it quite a few spins during the last week, I can safely say that they absolutely did! At least musically as far as I am concerned, the success and fame part of the ‘making it’ will hopefully follow soon, starting with a spot at the prestigious Night of the Prog Festival this summer.
After a piano-‘prologue’ and a full blown band ‘Deafening Overture’, introducing the musical main theme of the (concept) album, the first real song ‘Down the River’ surprises with a beautifully melodic bass solo by Christian Eckstein after the first mellow verse. Slowly the river picks up speed and heaviness, and the story gains momentum, as the hero takes charge of his own destiny. Organ sounds, instrumental passages and a glorious return to the chorus and that main theme at the end: this is classic prog rock at its best. Except it wasn’t even the best song on the album yet.
Not ‘Amber Light’ either though, as it tends towards a more unremarkable impression before a completely unexpected operatic ending. ‘The Tempest’ was a clever first promotional single with the juxtaposition of the pounding main riff, a piano verse and some rocking ‘musical light-heartedness’, as they called it in their press text. The likes of Spock’s Beard, Riverside or Sylvan come to mind in the more proggy passages. But the best is still yet to come and it is coming now: the double stroke of genius that is ‘Sweet Silence’ and ‘Sundown’ marks the climax of the album, the former driven by a gargantuan riff retro-prog Åkerfeldt would be really jealous of, the latter captivating with sublime vocal harmonies in the chorus. They are so sweet, that I am even willing to forgive them the oh so overused sadness/madness rhyme. Ah well, as long as they won’t rhyme fire with desire, I guess I’ll be fine with it. A tasty solo section towards the end of ‘Sweet Silence’ courtesy of Gérald Marie (keyboards) and Moritz Kunkel (lead guitar) respectively, more rifftastic goodness and a Dream Theater worthy finale in ‘Sundown’: I am convinced that these two heavy hitters are poised to leave some mouths open and jaws dropping to the floor when performed live.
The quiet and quite uneventful acoustic ‘As Night and Day Collide’ functions well as a breather after all these hard hitting tracks. The vocal harmonies are making it shine again. After a mellow start, ‘Man and Machine’ picks up the pace again. A live staple for quite some time already, it has a weird straight forward feel to it that seems a little bit out of place, after all that progginess that went down beforehand. But that is exactly the trademark sound of Deafening Opera. Having the balls not to take everything too seriously, even though they are a prog band without a single doubt, that’s what really sets them apart and makes them unique in the often all too serious prog business.
The coda of the penultimate ‘At the Edge’ is pure magic, and then it is left to the closing epic ‘Plus Ultra’ to collect all the threads that were woven during the preceding hour worth of music (even including a little fugue thrown in for good measure), culminating in a rocking conclusion that always reminds of Pain of Salvation‘s ‘Dea Pecuniae – I Raise My Glass’ from the prog milestone “Be”. And leaves me with a big grin on my face. Seamlessly switching between classically influenced harmonic beauty and dirty rock sounds, Deafening Opera have found their niche in the progressive rock scene and with “Let Silence Fall”, they effortlessly jumped up to Germany’s champions league of prog bands.
- Deafening Overture
- Down the River
- Amber Light
- The Tempest
- Sweet Silence
- As Night and Day Collide
- Man and Machine
- At the Edge
- Plus Ultra