Opus Symbiosis - Mute

3 songs
21:50 minutes
***** ***


Two years after their self-titled debut album, Finnish progressive rock quintet Opus Symbiosis are back with the three track EP Mute. I guess I am not the only who would have wished another full length record, but the twenty-two minutes of music more than make up for the duration-related disappointment.

Mute starts with the nearly ten minute long Black Box which sees Opus Symbiosis in their best shape yet. Having a female vocalist can work both ways, but Christine Stem’s strong voice never shies away from any challenges and provides a strong performance that is not only rare in the prog rock circus, but in the entire music universe. The otherwise male band members do a good job too, though, and their balancing act between Seventies prog and more modern sounds works perfectly, as it did already on the predecessor. Especially the guitarist occasionally comes up with riffs that remind of Rush’s Eighties era, a time where they were one of the few genre bands that still kept their face. Black Box is all in all quite an exceptional song, without any unnecessary moments, except maybe for the last two minutes consisting of an a cappella mixed choir part which by itself is flawless but still gives the impression as if the band wanted to stretch the song towards the end. The remaining tracks Father Sun, Mother Earth and Bartolomeus continue in the same vein, but have more moderate running times of about six minutes each. Some may object to three songs that more or less use the same moods, but in the case of Opus Symbiosis, this is not actually a bad thing. Their skilled songwriting and the dynamic execution make every track on this EP a treat. Even though the Finns wildly mix elements from the past and the present into their spicy mix, there is never a hint of schizophrenia, as the resulting material eventually always manages to sound absolutely seamless.

I dare say that Mute is an improvement over the debut, but would it have hurt the band to come up with some more music over the two years spanning their two records? One can only hope that Opus Symbiosis will keep up the good work and surprise us in the not too distant past with another well rounded effort.

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