Coronatus - 'Porta Obscura'

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Coronatus - 'Porta Obscura'

It's metal, it's opera, it's great.

You have to wonder if Nightwish had any idea of how big a can of worms they opened by becoming a successful crossover of rock and opera. They have given rise to many copycat artistes, some staggeringly good, some embarrassingly awful, and some blander than a British Prime Minister. Germany’s Coronatus are happy to throw their hats into the ring with their second album, and if nothing else have brought their own identity to the goth themed party (please leave your cloaks at the door).

The old chestnut of dual vocalists is dragged out on ‘Porta Obscura’, but in an interesting and effective twist Coronatus have gone for two female vocalists, one operatic (Carmen Schafer) and one more traditional (Ada Flechtner). Flechtner has a bit of an average voice, if I’m honest, but it doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the album, especially as Schafer has a top notch operatic range. The songs wander between English, German and Latin, so you won’t have much of a clue what’s being sung about (I like to think it’s an opera about toilets, but then I’m strange), but it doesn’t matter much, as like a grown up opera it’s all about the music.

Emphasis is placed firmly on the operatic side of the songs, and as a result ‘Porta Obscura’ (lit: ‘Where’s My Toilet?’) will repel as many as it attracts. To the uninitiated it will seem like it’s stuffed firmly up it’s own arse, but those who appreciate Nightwish’s ‘Poet & The Pendulum’ will get a real kick out of this whole album, as taken as a whole it’s not far away from a feature length version of that song with added Latin and opera.
Reviews for the album have certainly been mixed, and I was quite prepared for another disappointing Nightwish copy, but ‘Porta Obscura’ is a wonderful, epic album, and listening to it at full volume will really blow you away. It’s metal, it’s opera, it’s great.

Alan Holloway

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