Neverland - Ophidia

11 songs
53:44 minutes
***** **


The Greek-Turkish ensemble Neverland totally awed me with their debut Reversing Time in 2008. Now they are back with its successor Ophidia where they continue to play their mix of symphonic and progressive metal full of variety. They often change the pace and are not afraid of more playful, folky or dramatic parts. The band decided to use vintage analogue synthesizers to create a warmer sound. My favourite song is Speak To Me that even sports a certain psychedelic atmosphere. Other standout tracks are No One Leaves The Hive, reminding me of Saga, and the complex Ashes To Fall. Unfortunately Neverland can’t keep that level throughout the album. You won’t find a truly weak song, but about a third of the tracks just seem to pass without the listener really noticing them. I also have the impression that vocalist Iris Mayraki gets this time less microphone time than on the predecessor. Her best moment is on the opener This Voice Inside, another of the better tracks on Ophidia. The male vocalist somehow fades next to her great performance. The too polished production is another flaw, because Neverland are after all a metal band, and metal has the right to sound at least a little dirty.

As on the debut, the band has once again recruited a lot of guest artists. Last time they had invited musicians from Blind Guardian, Shadow Gallery and Evergrey, this time they managed to get Jon Oliva who gives Invisible War a nice Savatage touch. Other guests are Edu Falaschi (Angra) and Urban Breed (Pyramaze).

Had Ophidia been a debut album, I would have raised my – non-existent – hat to Neverland. But compared to Reversing Time, their new output is somewhat disappointing as the band proved that they can do better. Ophidia is certainly not a bad album, but more should have been possible.

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