ALBUM REVIEW:  Marco Garau’s Magic Opera – Battle Of Ice

Ever been absorbed into a great story that you can’t put the book down? Well, the latest chapter titled Battle Of Ice from MARCO GARAU’S MAGIC OPERA is the album equivalent of that. It continues from the original story Marco Garau wrote himself, it follows from the end of the first chapter The Golden Pentacle. Let me spin why this is a dream tale for the average power metal fan.

It begins with The Black Sorcery. The evil wizard Sir Dohran is chained in the castle dungeons at this point and he hypnotises a nearby guard to aid him with his latest scheme. The track starts off with some very sad tones to begin with; perfect accompaniment for a villain whose plans have been foiled and they are feeling rather sorry for themselves. This then abruptly transitions into mischievous yet sinister tones that communicate his evil plan formulating and taking place.

I mentioned in my review of The Golden Pentacle, the band do a great job of keeping you guessing and wondering what’s to come next. There is enough going on for you to notice but not too much that it becomes complicated, and you lose track. This same tactic applies to Battle Of Ice and below is just a few examples of what I mean.

If GRAVE DIGGER and STRATOVARIUS created a song together for the game Final Fantasy IX, The Legend Of The Demon’s Cry would be it. This is due to fantastical grandeur the synthesisers give off and the vocal style is similar to Chris Bothedal’s. It works for this track. In this part of the story, Sir Dohran and the other wizards are trying to evoke the demon with a cry that infects souls. Through the music, you can hear the hope for this plan to work and the unpredictability of what could happen.

When you hear the first few notes of White Dragon; you think you are being given the ballad of the track. Think again, it speeds up much later. This white dragon has been sent by the old witch Sybilia to aid Lord Karma and King Leiber as she sensed they were in danger. Instead of fire, this dragon breathes ice. The eighties rock ballad style worked well at the start of the track; this was a clever way to represent the curiosity and wonder when coming across this beast. The power metal speed is a great soundtrack to when Lord Karma is on this dragon’s back soaring through the skies.

Musically, The Shadow Man wouldn’t be out of place in a lounge bar set. By this point, King Leiber has become fearful that he hasn’t been able to defend his people in the event of an imminent attack and feels like he is a shadow of himself. He is experiencing a lot of self-doubt and anxiety, this is backed up nicely by lyrics such as “like I have something in my chest” and “in the silence of the shadows, I will try to ease my pain”. Whilst there is despair through the minor notes in the melody, you can also hear hope through the major tones.

It ends gallantly on the title track. This happens after Sir Dohran has got the upper hand until Lord Karma arrives with the great White Dragon. There is a lot going on this track; not too much that you feel lost but it’s enough to keep your attention. Well, you would need to be vigilant in battle.

MARCO GARAU’S MAGIC OPERA has produced another great chapter to his saga and as the story ends on a cliff hanger, there is more to come. It’s exciting to see what else this band have in store for all questers alike.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Lotty Whittingham

Battle Of Ice is out now.


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