Hollenthon
Opus Magnum


2.0
poor

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
January 13th, 2010 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Opus Magnum turns out to be anything but that.

Hollenthon are a melodic death metal project from Austria that incorporate a prevalent symphonic aspect to their sound. Martin Schirenc is the main composer of the music while his wife writes the majority of Medieval-themed lyrics. The band are held in high regard for their first two releases that seamlessly incorporated their melodic death, symphonic, and folk metal styles to create two stunning albums. Opus Magmun is the project’s latest album that was released in 2008 after nearly seven years – With Vilest Of Worms to Dwell was released back in 2001. Suffice to say, Martin has changed directions with the music of this album, and when compared to the band’s past work, the effort turns out to be rather disappointing.

Right from the get go, listeners can notice a stark increase in the level of distortion for Opus Magnum: the guitars rage their wars a bit louder when compared to past releases. What’s more, the symphonic touches that ranged from a choir of men to a storming orchestrated string section seem to be much more prevalent in the mix. Rounding off the main changes for Opus Magnum is the loss of the folk-ish elements in the music; this is a change that turns out to hamper Opus Magnum in the grand scheme of things.

Opus Magnum is one of those albums where listeners will want to take it seriously because of the driving pace and feel behind the instrumentals, but something is just out of place. As “On the Wings of a Dove” storms through with what appears to be a compelling riff, the band falters when they come in aided by the overriding backing vocals that take the emphasis of the drums and guitars away from the band – this actually turns out to be a big problem on this album. Also, the orchestrated instruments immediately topple the guitars as well and seem to take prominence in the mix. Given the fact that the level of distortion for the guitar effects is typically higher on this album than that of past release, this is definitely a problem as the strings are layered very heavily throughout. While ruining the mood or credibility of one track is a bad thing for sure, the prominent layer of these symphonic elements actually takes on a large role throughout the majority of the tracks; as a result, the same problem that occurred in this opener tends to happen again and again. This is really disappointing given how well Domus Mundi and With Vilest of Worms to Dwell seemed to mix and match these vital inclusions to Hollenthon’s overall sound. While there are some key parts where tracks deviate, the majority of the album sounds a bit too familiar;“To Fabled Lands”, “Ars Moriendi”, “Of Splendid Worlds”, and “Dying Embers” can easily blend together, becoming the same track in a listener’s minds.

As far as the guitars go, things are generally really strong and impressive – when taken apart from the symphonic touches, that is. While there may be a few corny-sounding riffs – for example, see the riff in the beginning of the opener - Martin Schirenic and Martin Arzberger do create some really head-banging moments and spine-tingling guitars solos – see “Of Splendid Worlds”, “To Fabled Lands”, and “Dying Embers”. These moments go a long way in bringing the listener out of what is soon to become a monotonous mix of weighted string sections and depressingly drowned-out guitars by the second or third track. Still, while exciting and fun, these driving riffs and solos tend to come few and far in between; in truth, it probably isn’t worth the wait. As far as vocals go, however, Martin does do an exceptional job. His grown is clean yet grisly – almost the perfect tone for effective, melodic death metal. The other vocal parts that occur throughout the music in the form of choirs or a lady vocalist are generally nice-sounding, but they are incorporated way too often and as a result, lose the effect of their positive contribution to the music rather quickly.

I was a fan of Hollenthon’s past releases, but this was very disappointing. What’s more, this album doesn’t really sound like the band made good use of their time as they had nearly six years to create it. The general sound is fun and often exciting when first listened to, however, it’s just not something that can effectively carry the whole album all the way through. The result of all of this is just a sub-par effort from a band that’s been known to create bigger and better things.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Romulus
January 13th 2010


8447 Comments


Does magnum opus actually mean anything in reverse or are these guys just being weird? Nice review too.

Ponton
Emeritus
January 13th 2010


5819 Comments


I had to look that up actually, but it apparently they are both interchangeable.

Thank you.

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Romulus
January 13th 2010


8447 Comments


Well you learn something new every day. Remind me to ask you for metal recs someday since I usually have no idea what you're reviewing. I could use being a bit more metal-inclined.

Dryden
January 13th 2010


13262 Comments


never got into this

Ponton
Emeritus
January 13th 2010


5819 Comments


Haha alright. Yeah, I tend to be in a metal review mode, though I've done some classical music and post rock recently too. I tend to lean toward the more accessible metal so I guess what I first got into would be a good place to start.

EVedder27
January 13th 2010


6088 Comments


Bit of an ironic title I see. Nice work as always.

TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


18001 Comments


Good review. As years progress I find myself liking melodic death metal less and Less

Digging: The Speed of Sound in Seawater - Red Version

Ponton
Emeritus
January 13th 2010


5819 Comments


Thanks guys. Yeah Spirit, I find myself slowly moving away from it, but I still like it when it's done well. Be'lakor is a great example.

TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


18001 Comments


I haven't heard them, but a lot of people have said they're good.

Ponton
Emeritus
January 13th 2010


5819 Comments


They are. Their newest from last year adds a great progressive aspect to the album. It's extremely solid.

TheSpirit
January 13th 2010


18001 Comments


Hmm, i'll have to check it out for sure. Most times Melo-Death + Progressive = win

Ponton
Emeritus
January 14th 2010


5819 Comments


Thanks Dave for the constructive input. I tried to fix everything you found that was off, and I agree with what you said.

sphygmo
April 1st 2010


92 Comments


This album actually fucking rocks. Reviewer must either know dick about metal or is completely deaf.

Astraea
July 26th 2010


13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can not disagree with you more on this review or its rating sir, though I respect your opinion. The whole epic, medieval, war-like atmosphere behind each and every song on this album gives me utter chills. It is easily one of my favorite heavy metal albums.

dr2den
July 26th 2010


1342 Comments


album sux



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