Presence - Black Opera

Year of Release: 1996
Label: Black Widow Records
Catalog Number: BWR014
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:40:00

If you find you have to wait too long for a new release by Devil Doll then I can deliver you from your suffering. With Black Opera, the Italian band Presence has released a masterpiece which can easily be described as a modern opera of outstanding quality.

Specialized label Black Widow has already proved to be an outstanding label in the past what with releases by Malombra, Runaway Totem, Dunwich and The Black to name but a few, but this time they have outdone themselves!

In the centre of it all stands singer Sofia Baccini who could send all the opera divas back home! Opening track "The Bleeding" has a rough, metallic rhythm that is larded with effects, biting guitars and the rare voice of Sofia. The same approach is used in "Eyemaster" which clearly shows that Presence is an interaction between Sofia and guitarist Sergio Casamassima. To highlight the roughness of the music, Enrico Iglio's keyboards aren't mixed in the foreground but form a wall of sound together with the guitars and the huge drum sound. However, the band knows they can't do this all over the album so here and there they opt to give some extra space to the Hammond as in "Night Ritual."

To enhance the eerie atmosphere they want to evoke, the band also uses some spooky sounds, whispering voices and dark classical themes. That dark gothic feel is extra underlined with subtle touches of church organ and wild lush orchestral sections in "J'accuse." These sounds start to grow on you and in "On Travel" Sofia is backed by female voices as if Kate Bush and Tori Amos are standing in the wings.

Presence is typical Italian drama wrapped up as an oven-ready meal of "heavy symphonic" with as an all-time high their tribute to Giuseppe Verdi where Enrico Iglio's whirling organ solo's come banging through the speakers like hailstones. The end result is absolutely gruesome and yet full of beauty and charm.

For those of you for whom Stockhausen is a little too much and Devil Doll simply not enough. Go out and buy that masterpiece today! A true work of art!

The Bleeding (7:34) / Eyemaster (7:20) / Night Ritual (6:48) / Sterling (5:50) / J'accuse (7:33) / On Travel (7:48) / A Giuseppe Verdi (18:07)

Sofia Baccini - vocals
Enrico Iglio - keyboards
Sergio Casamassima - guitars
T. Moretti and L. Scalisi - drums

Makumba (1992)
The Sleeper Awakes (1994/2004)
Black Opera (1996)
Gold (2001)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin IT

Added: April 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Hits: 775
Language: english


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