Dreamtone & Iris Mavraki’s Neverland: Ophidia

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Dreamtone & Iris Mavraki’s Neverland: Ophidia
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Dreamtone & Iris Mavrakis Neverland: Ophidia (Digital Version)
Power Metal, Progressive Metal
AFM Records
March 26th, 2010
Release length: 53:22
Myspace
Dreamtone And Iris Mavraki’s Neverland, or simply Neverland for short, even though there are two working bands of the Neverland name with full-length efforts out, is a mix of Progressive and Power Metal consisting of members from Turkey and Greece. Essentially, this project is vocalist Iris Mavraki from Greece, and the entire Dreamtone band from Turkey, who started working together through, according to their bio, a series of coincidences. Luckily, this series of coincidences have not only shown unity between the people between Turkey and Greece due to the hostility both regions share, but also created a rather enjoyable tablature of beautiful music showcasing of the member’s cultures.

Musically, Ophidia is quite brilliant, and often beautiful, but it may take more then just the first few tracks to convince you. Given the Progressive nature of the band and the deep focus on composing music that touches the roots of the band member’s regional roots, there will be times where things just don’t seem to work out well with each other, but in time you will see it all meshes perfectly together. Songs like the title track “Ophidia”, “Will of God” and “Places Unknown” really find the band focusing on beauty, and the vocals show some real emotion behind them. “Will of God” is perhaps the most eligant of the songs on the album, mostly focusing on the song as a ballad and shying away from really hammering in the Power Metal sound that is reflected on many of the tracks, but then you have “Places Unknown” which shows a real Progressive element to the music, but again shows the same emotion vocally that is emphasized by well placed keyboards.

Lyrically, much of the album is upbeat and tells a tale with shades of unity in the lyrics. The music may have a rather native feel, but there’s also a very fantastical element to it that works with the often fantasy based lyrics. “Speak to Me” is one of those tracks, which is more of a love song then anything, but then you also have the song “Invisible War” which is a much heavier song that captures the essence of war perfectly to suit the heroic battle and struggle theme the lyrics present. But, out of all the tracks on here, it’s easy to say that “Silence the Wolves” is easily one of the most moving pieces found here. The music to this song is very catchy, though not that unique, has a brilliant guitar solo, with some of the best lyrics of the album and vocals that really suit the band’s overall sound. Really, the song shows off the perfect unity between the regions of the members. Another nice touch to this release is the female vocals utilized on some of these tracks, like “Ophidia” and “Speak to Me”, which are add a little extra zing to the music, it’s not until they perform in a more operatic style on songs like “Speak to Me” that they are actually of any use to the music.

The vocals on here may take a little to become adjusted to at times. There will be some tracks where the vocals seem a little lackluster, but really, they do well with the music being played. The perfect example of this would be the title track, “Ophidia”. This song has vocals that are performed rather low in volume through much of the song, barely reaching a projected level. Because of this, it kind of seems like the vocalist is also not enunciating properly at times, but after a little while with this song, and the others like it, you’ll realize that his subtle vocal melodies really do work well with the music. However, even with the beauty this album possesses, some of the tracks here just don’t quite have enough bite to have you coming back to the album at a steady pace. For as enhanting as “Will of God” is, after a few listens this ballad track will wind up being one of your least favorite tracks due to a real lack of anything impressive outside of it’s romantic musical values.

Ophidia is a highly enjoyable album that really has more going on in it then with the music itself. Given time, the album will grow on you, especially with the vocal performances that may seem a little odd against the music at times. Some old video game fans may listen to the keyboards on this release and may get a slight hint of nostalgia, as one some songs, they actually sound a little reminiscent of the old Nintendo Entertainment System days of the classic video game series Castlevania, which is just a similarity worth noting, and may be cause the album to be more enjoyable to those who grew up with the games. Other then that, if you’re just looking for an uplifting work of art, then look no further then Dreamtone & Iris Mavraki’s Neverland, as Ophidia is easily one of the most impressive Power Metal releases to hit the shelves this year.

01. This Voice Inside – 5:34
02. Silence the Wolves – 5:03
03. Ophidia – 5:35
04. Will of God – 2:57
05. Invisible War – 5:21
06. Places Unknown – 4:23
07. No One Leaves the Hive – 4:11
08. Speak to Me – 5:38
09. Ashes to Fall – 4:58
10. Final Odyssey – 4:40
11. Into the Horizon – 5:11
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Dreamtone # Iris Mavrakis Neverland (band)
Dreamtone # Iris Mavrakis Neverland

Digital review copy of this release provided by AFM Records via Earsplit PR.