Otarion / Faces of the Night


Otarion / Faces of the Night

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The album takes us through a restless dream filled night. We begin ‘Nightfall’ with eerie metallic shimmers, deep bass rumbles and haunting but also quite ethereal wordless vocal touches. It’s an extremely impressive start out of which rhythms and simply stunning melodies emerge. Beauty and power are mixed together in the perfect combination. The track gains even extra oomph and yet more melodies surge forward one after another seeping into every element in the mix. Turn up the volume and let rip. I found myself playing air keyboard like a crazy thing and simply couldn’t keep my feet still. ‘Mylene’ starts with a beautiful tender lead line but it isn’t long before another excellent rhythm starts to build and build then pow in come some more blistering lead lines, all top notch. The quality of the opener was something to behold but this number takes us to even greater realms. The pace subsides from time to time to make way for the tenderest tinkling little melodic interludes but this makes the power sections even more awesome when they return! It’s as if a disturbed sleep is calmed by pleasant memories; a technique which is used frequently throughout the album. ‘Tower of Darkness’ starts with an explosion of thunder then howling winds and deep dark drones creating a most ominous atmosphere. In the second minute we get a lovely combination of rhythms and menacing lead line, almost snarling from the speakers. A minute later the mood lightens a little. A new melody banishes the darkness but without losing anything of the surging power, just taking it in a new direction. ‘Sleepwalker’ also has many moods but in general, in the first half is more tranquil, even melancholy with some lovely use of mellotron. In the second half there is a very seventies sounding sequence over which bass stabs give even more energy. We finish in calmer mode with, as before, a hint of sadness. ‘Dreamcatcher’ has a slow deep bass backing, like funeral drums from the depths of hell. This is menacing stuff! There are more of those wonderful little interludes as angelic vocals break in, lightening the mood, to suddenly vanish letting the darkness return. The whole feel of the track changes in the fourth minute as the pace quickens but there is still an air of unease. With Rainer’s music there is no chance of getting bored, the tracks are constantly moving from one exciting or beautiful moment to the next. ‘Picture of Dreams’ has an appropriately serene restful opening but of course Rainer can’t keep it like this for long as powerful symphonic strings add oomph. We then get a rather Vangelis inspired section (even TD’s ‘Legend’ came to mind) which takes us to a close. A bright tinkling sequence and contrasting dark drones get ‘Nightmare’ underway. The tension builds, oh so slowly, but surely. The track is full of attitude, gradually winding itself up. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t going to explode but instead gently subsides leading into ‘Dancing in the Silver’. A gentle sequence comes in like a soft rain. Another beefier sequence joins it then we are on another roller coaster ride of fantastic drums, pulsations and blistering lead solos. Moments of tenderness can also be found however (something of an Otarion trademark) even amongst the most exciting maelstrom. It is what makes his music so effective, standing head and shoulders above almost everyone else. ‘Morning Twilight’ has just the sort of calm relaxing introduction you might expect- quite beautiful in fact, but you guessed it, a low pulse starts to throb, drums roll then layer after layer of pulsations move into formation. The backing fights back, swelling to almost spiritual proportions. Beauty and the beast in perfect harmony, wonderful melodies weaving round it all creating as near perfect a finish to an album I can imagine Every track here is perfection, there is no weak link. It is one of my favourite CDs ever; truly a pleasure to review and goes without saying that I think it is an essential purchase. (DL) ;\ ‘\’