Here is the first sneak peak of one of the songs from the new album I recorded with Operose. I can't wait for the full album to be released. I really feel that the band has come a long way since our first album. We've just had our first reviews come in of the pre-release that we sent out, and the first one to come back is simply incredible!
"Operose have gone their own route and in sophomore release ‘Oceans Of Starlight’ have released one of finest collisions between metal and opera since Wagner wrote ‘Ride of the Valkyrie’. In fact, this album is the natural progression to that very track as, if you ever wondered what the sound of a mass attack by the Valkyrie would be like, look no further. Taking things to another level entirely, Operose seem to have struck the perfect balance between bombast and beauty, each track being a titanic essay in the burgeoning subgenre.
Whilst opera generally starts with an overture, there is no such preamble with Operose as they kick straight into the dramatic and epic ‘Battle Swan’, guitars with the power of a tank, drums spitting out fast and furious and choral stabs that act as a base for the glorious voice of Jennifer Coleman. The frantic ‘Oceans of Starlight’ follows in a similar vein and this maritime tale certain has way more class than the wonderfully unhinged sea shanties of Alestorm but is definitely as entertaining. There is a real understanding of storytelling inherent in opera and this translates really well on the release as the pounding and visceral instrumentation heightens the drama.
Things slow slightly with the majestic ‘Lost Horizon’, all huge vocals from Coleman float deliriously across the gentle but powerful playing of guitarist Joe McGurk, drummer Steve Hauxwell and bass player Mike Bridge. Each plays to their own strength and what would potentially seem be an odd pairing of styles somehow works beautifully as each part of the jigsaw slots into place for the extraordinary picture. ‘This Life of Mine’ is another less kinetic track that focusses on the songwriting above all and follows a more traditional path that turns down some of the heightened elements.
‘Nothing Left’ also focusses on melody above the all-out attack and ‘On Sleeping Tides’ is full of string effects on the keys, piano and choral vocals that build up the atmosphere that is speaks of beauty with a hidden and very faint otherworldliness. Things ramp up again with the prog metal stylings of ‘Octavian’, a galloping and constantly changing feast of moods before the album closes with the epic (in all senses of the word) ‘The Actium Suite’. A rush of baroque keys leads to a flurry of flying digits up and down the fretboard and the two instruments dual throughout before the glorious and triumphant finish. You don’t need to like opera to enjoy this release, although it would certainly be a bonus, all you need to have is an appreciation of some incredible and groundbreaking music that will beguile, intrigue and thrill you. Music to get lost in. **** "
Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Well here it is... It's taken me a long time to write this blog post. It's been over a month now since we last performed on VTM's Belgium's got Talent for the Semi-final. I finally feel like I might be able to attempt to put into words what an incredible experience it was.
It's important to begin by stating that we were both absolutely petrified about speaking Flemish on national television. After living in Belgium for such a short amount of time, neither of us feel confident in our speaking abilities yet. So for us, our biggest challenge was being able to hold meaningful and articulate conversation in a language that we had a very limited ability in. Reisha and I had created a list of all of the possible questions that we thought might come up and prepared answers in advance to each and every single one of them. We then translated this all into Dutch using good 'ole trusty Google Translate. And then once we had a rough guide for what to say, we ran these by some of our Flemish speaking colleagues so that they could help us with pronunciation tips, vocabulary and grammar. Prepare, prepare, prepare. We didn't want to humiliate ourselves on National television. I was far more nervous about the speaking and interview part than I was about the actual singing.
With regards to the Semi-final, we have had lots of feedback to say "why did you pick that song?", "Why did you pick those dresses?" and "How did you make the decisions?". The truth is that we didn't really make any decisions for ourselves at all. The TV producers chose this song after we performed a selection of 9 songs to them. This was the one they said that they thought was best for us. Then a stylist asked for our dress sizes. We didn't have any idea what we would wear until we turned up on the day, and these were our only option. I'm not sure I would ever choose a dress with a cape attached for myself to wear normally (to quote The incredibles movie "NO CAPES!"), but it was quite fun swooshing around on stage wearing it.
We also didn't have a say in the choreography (yes we were choreographed to stand still). Every single look into or away from a camera lens was choreographed. Our smile to each other at the end of the introduction was choreographed. Even our hug with each other after we finished singing was choreographed. Ever bar had a purpose and we had set musical queues to remember.
It was my first time singing with an in ear playback system. This was kind of like singing to a live recording of yourself in some bluetooth earphones. It felt weird. I wasn't used to it. Especially because I am used to only hearing my own voice in my own head - but this time I could also hear Reisha's voice in there too. We got to sing it through three times in rehearsals. I'm not sure I quite got used to it by the time of the performance, but it was a lot less distracting.
Then when the moment to sing finally came, it was over so quickly. I'm pretty sure that I had an out of body experience. All I remember of it (and this is the part that I hope stays with me forever), is looking out into the audience as the introduction started playing, and seeing 40 of our friends and family dancing around and waving homemade flags and banners at us that they had made. That made me smile. It made me feel so loved.
So yes, I really enjoyed my time singing on Belgium's got Talent, but the most important part was how supported I felt by my friends, family and colleagues. And how supported I felt sharing the stage and singing with one of my best friends - she is so funny and talented and she inspires me to do great things. So thank you to everyone who came to the studio to support us live in the audience. Thank you to our families who travelled all the way from England to Belgium to be there. Thank you to everyone who watched at home and enjoyed our performance. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us. And thank you to Reisha for being an amazing friend.
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.