The purest fusion of true classical and baroque music with heavy metal of any form (doom/death metal, in this case) to ever grace my ears, this album shows no lack of maturity and is fantastically original. If you're looking for technicality, you won't find it here as the guitars take a backseat to the (22 member!) orchestra, but you will find exceptional musicianship nonetheless. However, that said, it has major problems that drag down the album. The album is closer to an EP than a full-length disk, and is filled with short interludes and dialogue tracks. There are only five true songs on this album, and all but one feed heavily upon motifs from the title track, greatly hurting the diversity and giving the overall impression of only perhaps two distinct tracks. The title track, the 9 minute "Awaking the Centuries", is the lifeblood and focus of the disk, and is indeed an essentially perfect and outstandingly beautiful track that outpaces the rest of the album by leaps and bounds. Make no mistake; you are buying the disk for this track, and it is almost strong enough to justify the cost of the purchase despite the majority of filler present. The other distinct track, however, "Prophesy Fulfilled", is a largely lackluster piece that spends much of its time apart from the orchestra, but the riffs are simply weak and uninteresting. Basically, this album *is* the title track and assorted polish. And this track deserves 4.75 to 5 stars. But the rest of the album is hardly worth the price of admittance.
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