Adrian Tăbăcaru - Lucifer - A Rock Opera review




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Band: Adrian Tăbăcaru
Album: Lucifer - A Rock Opera
Release date: January 2020


01. Exordium
02. Lucifer
03. Longing For The Star
04. Intermezzo
05. Beyond Infinity
06. The Long Way Home
07. Asking The Void
08. Antithesis
09. A Valediction - Forbidding Mourning
10. Conclusio
11. Celestial Funeral
12. Singularity


I often recommend people to listen to an album. But how often do I recommend that you watch an album?

Lucifer - A Rock Opera is a thing of such a scope that I am honestly surprised it exists, and it normally shouldn't exist and it doesn't make sense that it does, other than through sheer passion, mostly of Adrian Tăbăcaru and Costin Chioreanu. This is clearly a passion project, that feels like it's been in the works for a long time, and conceptualized for even longer. If the title didn't give it away, this is an opera of sorts, based on Romania's national poet Mihai Eminescu's Luceafarul. So it's already a bit difficult for me to review it because it's not really something meant to be enjoyed the way one usually enjoys albums. But metal and opera aren't really something that haven't been mixed before, from Jesus Christ Superstar to the more familiar Avantasia and Ayreon. Nonetheless, I wasn't as impressed on first listen when I listened to it as I would any progressive metal album, as good of a progressive album as I thought it was.

So the music is pretty much a keyboard-heavy Opeth and Ayreon inspired progressive metal/rock that does go a bit into extreme metal territories and a lot into more ambient territories. Once again, this is stretching a ~100 stanza poem into 45 minutes, while also trying to create some of the ambiance of it, listening to the album alone, this can sometimes make some parts of it feel bloated and unnecessary, but even so, it is some very engaging and well written progressive / symphonic metal. Even though it certainly feels more progressive than symphonic, there are 20 musicians involved, including composer Adrian Tăbăcaru on drums, as well as folks from Illuminati, White Walls, and obviously, Adrian's main band, Taine. All of this mixed & mastered by Jens Bogren, so it's all top notch in sound. But it feels like there's something missing.

I then saw that it was also released along with a video made by Costin Chioreanu, I watched it, and it changed my perception a lot. You have to understand the scope of the whole thing, the importance of Mihai Eminescu and of this poem in particular. I mean, how many albums that you know have a person credited as "Literary consultant". Everyone over the age of four in Romania knows who Mihai Eminescu is, probably a lot of those under four too. Everyone who is in at least 7th grade knows of this poem. Everyone who passed the baccalaureate knows this poem (not necessarily by heart, since the almost a hundred stanzas make that fairly difficult). I was almost tempted to search for my old 12th grade Literature notebook to look up the interpretation of the story (I wasn't, I just thought it would sound cool in this review), so instead you'll find more on the mythological and philosophical themes here. This album isn't just based on the poem, it is the poem, or rather its lyrics are the English translation of the poem courtesy of Dimitrie Cuclin. So it's pretty clear that one does not attempt to do such a thing unless they have absolute confidence in their ability to do it, and passion to make it work despite it probably being very financially unfeasible. There's also more info on the translation, the poem and the poet in the video's description. So in all its glory:



You probably already knows who Costin Chioreanu is, but if not, he's an illustrator who's done a shitload of great cover arts for bands and you've probably seen a lot of those without knowing it (take a look through "Misc stuff" here). He's also done music videos for a bunch of songs (like this, this, or this). However, a 45 minute video is really something much more ambitious. Honestly at this point it really doesn't feel like just watching a music video. The video wouldn't work without the music, but as I've also made clear, the music doesn't really work without the video. There's some amazing synergy between the two, with the music patiently scoring the video at times, and the video patiently putting the set together for the music at times. This is something that clearly works so much better together, like where is this thing's IMDB page?

Costin Chioneanu is clearly a much better illustrator than an animator, and it shows. There's a bit of recycling of images, but I cannot blame the guy too much, considering how much he has already done with the probably not very exuberant budget. Even with all those gripes, a lot of it still feels very ambitious and with a lot of things one would never see in his usual artwork, especially during Hyperion's argument with the Demiurge. Once I got used to the video's "language" of moving illustrations, it was a captivating trip.

However I am frustratingly switching in between being in complete awe at the thing and feeling like everyone involved bit just a bit more than they could chew. Everything here feels so large in scope but the execution never completely matches that. It's that uncanny valley, where if it was worst, I would be able to accept that and see it as a failure, and if it was better, I would see no issue calling it a masterpiece, but it's in that awful spot where it's almost great but it still feels like it misses something. And it's so frustrating to me seeing something so beautiful and passionate and to tell these people that they could've done better without really giving them any constructive criticism as to how.

All I can say is that they might nail it if they do a folk metal version of Miorița.

If for some reason you want to just listen to the thing:



 



Written on 08.02.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 6   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 84 users
09.02.2020 - 04:44
SatanicBlood
I came across this video a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed how the two came together so well. I was on the fence about buying the album though because of that exact sentiment of how it may not translate to my ears as it does through this video.
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Canadian black metal
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09.02.2020 - 09:31
Kursma
A wonderful heads up to some of the best music out (so far) in 2020!
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09.02.2020 - 10:29
nikarg
Old Nick
Great review, Radu. I liked the music when I first listened to it, I liked it even more when I watched the video.
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09.02.2020 - 18:01
Bad English
Masterchief
Good one, why not make this band visible
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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09.02.2020 - 23:41
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by Bad English on 09.02.2020 at 18:01

Good one, why not make this band visible

Do they qualify?
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I have no memory of this place.
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09.02.2020 - 23:43
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by Troy Killjoy on 09.02.2020 at 23:41

Written by Bad English on 09.02.2020 at 18:01

Good one, why not make this band visible

Do they qualify?

Depends, it says metal, i am in deep artic no good net to listen
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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