Liverani, Daniele - Genius - A Rock Opera: Episode 1 - A Human Into Dreams' World

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Frontiers
Catalog Number: FRCD 112
Format: CD
Total Time: 78:59:00

The rock opera is alive! Since Arjen Lucassen released his (first) Ayreon rock opera, The Final Experiment, many others have followed his example and have created bombastic sounding albums with a concept story and a large cast of vocalists, both known and lesser known, to voice this story. In 1999 Daniele Liverani started to write his rock opera and when he did that, he had a dream ... a dream in three acts, and the first act is this album, called Genius - A Rock Opera. He himself plays all guitars, bass and keyboards and his close friend Dario Ciccioni plays drums and percussion. Well, that covers the musical part of the album, but for the vocal part we need some more room. To name a few: Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Lana Lane, Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation), John Wetton (ex-Asia) and Steve Walsh (ex-Kansas).

With this impressive cast and a number of singers that are new to me, I had high expectations when I put Genius in my CD player. After listening to it a couple of times I have to say that for a large part Genius has lived up to my expectations, and is at times very good! But it also has a few less pleasant parts and flaws. The opening track "Without Me Today" starts with a dark narrator voice, Philip Bynoe, then the guitar comes in, crunchy but not aggressive, and it sets out to become a small epic (about 12 minutes, the longest track on the album), with some nice solos, both guitar and keys; a very good song. The next song, "The Right Place," is one of my favourite tracks, as it features Lana Lane. Accompanied by calm keyboard play, her bright voice soothes you and has a nice contrast with Mark Boals', who also features on this song. The narrator introduces the next scene and the third track comes in with heavy guitar and fast drumming and Daniel Gildenlöw in duet with Mark Boals. "The Glory Of Our Land" has once again fast guitar riffs and is musically quite good, but still I prefer to skip it as I cannot stand the vocalist on this song, Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger), who has a sort of death-metal grunt, but is not convincing. I don't find this song pleasant to listen to.

The songs on the album do have different melodies, so the album is diverse: "All Of Your Acts," featuring John Wetton, is a bit of an up tempo song with a keyboard sound that reminds you of Van Halen at the time of "Jump," it sounds very poppy, but with excellent vocals from Mr. Wetton. "Dreams" starts with great harmony guitars, ala Arjen Lucassen, and a fast and great double bass, which really rocks the whole song. "My Pride" has some Deep Purple sounds, mainly the Ian Gillan-like vocals and the Hammond, but is one of the best songs on the album. "There's A Human" has some over the top vocals, which have a hint of Dio, and again that fast and kicking double bass; another great rock song. John Wetton is back in the song "Father," a ballad like song, although it still has a strong guitar riff, but it quietens down a bit after that double bass violence. But, no rest for the wicked! "Terminate" rocks again, with the unknown to me Midnight (ex-Crimson Glory) on vocals. This singer either has such a voice, which is unfortunate, or tries to imitate Dio and should better not do that. "I'm Afraid" is the closing song of the album, but not of the story.

After listing to Genius a couple of times I have to say that, despite at least one track that I will skip as soon as it starts, I will keep on listening to the album, as it has some great songs and good vocalists. Musically the album is very good, with really rocking songs on it. Unfortunately it is very difficult to hear the difference between the (male) vocalists, as they all sound alike; I needed the booklet to see who was singing what parts. Still, the album shows enough variety to keep the attention and is well produced. One suggestion on the cast of vocalists: on the Genius website are links to the websites of all singers, so you can see who they all are and what else they do in life. Maybe when you do that, it starts to live more for you, but I think it is a quite good album and I am looking forward to the following act in the story of Genius.

Project website:; Liverani is the keyboardist with Twinspirits and Empty Tremor; guitarist/keyboardist/bassist with Khymera, plus involvement with other projects.

Similar bands: Ayreon, Avantasia

[This review originally appeared April 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Without Me Today (12:04) / The Right Place (4:54) / Paradox (9:27) / The Glory Of Our Land (7:52) / All Of Your Acts (6:31) / Dreams (5:29) / My Pride (7:31) / There's A Human (5:10) / Father (5:25) / Terminate (5:40) / I'm Afraid (8:56)

Daniele Liverani - guitars, bass, keyboards
Dario Ciccioni - drums and percussion
Mark Boals - vocals ("Genius")
Lana Lane - vocals ("Doorkeeper")
Daniel Gildenlöw - vocals ("Twinspirit n.32")
Chris Boltendahl - vocals ("Stationmaster"), choir
Joe Vana - vocals ("King McChaos Consultant")
John Wetton - vocals ("King McChaos")
Steve Walsh - vocals ("King Wild Tribe")
Oliver Hartmann - vocals ("King Wild Tribe Consultant")
Midnight - vocals ("Maindream")
Philip Bynoe - vocals ("Storyteller")
Olaf Senkbeil and Hachy Hackmann - choirs
Rita Celli - add. backing vocals (2)
Thom Griffin - add. backing vocals (5)

Empty Tremor - Apocolokyntosys (1997)
Liverani - Viewpoint (1999)
Empty Tremor - Eros & Thanatos (2000)
Genius - A Rock Opera: Episode 1 - A Human Into Dreams' World (2002)
Khymera - Khymera (2003)
Genius - A Rock Opera: Episode 2 - In Search Of The Little Prince (2004)
Empty Tremor - The Alien Inside (2004)
Daniele Liverani - Daily Trauma (2004)
Khymera - A New Promise (2005)
Genius - A Rock Opera: Episode 3 - The Final Surprise (2007)
Twinspirits - The Music That Will Heal The World (2007)
Khymera - The Greatest Wonder (2008)
Cosmics - The Cosmic Year (2008)
Twinspirits - The Forbidden City (2009)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin IT

Added: May 29th 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 597
Language: english


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