Live Prog - video review, Marcel Haster
Sea Of Tranquility
ProgArchives, Magle Intl. Music Forum
Ytsejam - progressive reviews, USA
Rock Live Radio, Locke's RockSounds
DPRP - Dutch Progressive Rock Pages
Rock Times - das Online Rockmusikmagazin
MyGlobalMind - webzine for hard rock and metal
Progwereld - progressive website, Holland
Prognaut USA -reviews from a fan's perspective
Ravenheart Music UK - promoting the female fronted metal bands
Melodic Hard Rock Today - a hard rock webzine, Norway

Live Prog - video review by Marcel Haster

Sea Of Tranquility - Music For A New Intellectuals

German progressive metal band Dorian Opera formed in 2007 and released their debut No Secrets in 2008. It is early in 2011 but surely their brand new album Crusade 1212 will make many 'best of' lists come the end of the year. This is a great band and their latest album proves it without a doubt.

In the band are Sven The Axe (vocals), Oli Weislogel (guitars), Joe Eisenburger (bass) , Andrew Roussak (keyboards) and Harry Reischmann (drums) along with guest vocalist Alexandra Goess.

Crusade 1212 is a concept album relating to the Children's Crusade of 1212. The story tells of a young boy in either France or Germany who was visited by Jesus Christ. He then began to gather children, as many as 30,000, and lead them to the Holy Land. Unfortunately, most did not get to their destination as it proved to be a very difficult journey. The children were ravaged by exhaustion, starvation, slavery and one disaster after another. The protagonist of the story is Jan, born in North Germany and destined to become leader of the Crusade. It is an epic story of love, hardship and tragedy and one the band tells vividly with their words and ever so dramatic music. It is an epic concept with grandiose music to match.

The band mixes power, progressive and symphonic metal and wraps it up in an awesome display of musicianship and prowess. This is an intense listen and if you are looking for comparisons with other bands Symphony X and Dream Theater would be your best bet but Dorian Opera have a unique sound that is all their own. If you enjoy solos you really need to listen to 1212. Great guitar and keyboard solos abound making this one of the most adventurous albums I have heard in a while without sounding too overwrought with pretention. Every note seems to fit perfectly within the concept and scope of the music. Just listen to the staccato rhythms, soaring lead guitar and wonderful organ in "Follow Your Heart" to hear what I am talking about. The band switches from power metal and neo classical shredding to power ballad style with ease and everything flows beautifully.

Other highlights include the dramatic "Ouverture 1212" where an atmospheric backdrop of keys and synths augment soaring lead guitar and the pretty acoustic ballad "Two hearts" with excellent lead vocals by Goess.

The album ends with "So Long" and "Hope", a couple of melodic gems filled with sublime keys, excellent vocals and crystal clear guitar work. I should mention the production is fantastic throughout.

Crusade 1212 is the real deal folks, loaded with great hooks and monumental musicianship. This is some of the finest bombastic metal you are likely to hear. Do yourself a favour and check them out.

Added: May 8th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf for Sea Of Tranquility, Progressive Ears

DPRP - Dutch Progressive Rock Page

DPRP recommended!!

Well 2011 is shaping up to be another good year in the world of prog metal. I was presented with the new Dorian Opera album Crusade 1212 for reviewing. Dorian Opera are a band that consists of five very talented individuals, which includes the very enigmatic keyboardist Andrew Roussak, this being their second album, their first album No Secrets scored a very impressive 7.5 out of 10, missing out being a DPRP recommendation due to some slight naivety in production and lyrical content. This has all been addressed this time around, the production quality is crystal clear and the band have offered an epic piece, that is in the same league as the premiership players of prog metal. For me this album sounds like Dorian Opera have entered the building and come of age.

The band consists of Sven the Axe (vocals), Oliver Weislogel (guitar), Joe Eisenburger (bass) and Andrew Roussak (keyboards and backing vocals), Harry Reischmann (drums) and Alexandra Goess as guest vocalist. The members of the band have all played together in various bands over the years, something that comes across well, especially when you hear the quality of their interaction.

The level of musicianship displayed here is rather stunning and outstanding, powerful musical interactions, well thought out songs that feature some really interesting time changes that is married by what can only be described as outstanding dexterity from all the participants. This is a band that plays high energy music, tearing their instruments up with style. We are talking about a band that has brought all their elements together, taking influence from the likes of Dream Theater, Symphony X and classic bands such as Yes, Rush and ELP and adding baroque, classical, renaissance and medieval music into the mix. This can only lead to an exercise in high craftsmanship placed in the right hands; these are the hands and the band don’t disappoint.

The instrumental Overture 1212 opens the album with style setting the scene, a powerful and highly charged piece that is laced with time changes that allows the track to grow creating atmosphere, never waiving far from incorporating perfect melodies created by the Roussak’s keyboard framework and Weislogel’s scaling guitar runs, a perfect scene setter for the album. Opening with such strength really confirms that the band have created something that is rewarding for the listener as well as its creator. The frenetic Soldiers Of Fortune powers its way into your ears, starting the epic story of Jan and Constance, Sven’s strong vocals are perfect for the whole concept, selling the story as if he was actually participating in the actual historical event. The whole song just plays through with musical melodic wizardry, being text book perfect in its presentation, not cold and clinical but with character and presence. This maybe a song about a mercenary, but the interaction of the band confirms that these guys aren’t hands for hire. Sermon In Saint - Denis is a darker song which harbours an excitement, where Sven who at times sounds vaguely like Geoff Tate, really utilises his lung capacity, a duet with the rather stunning Alexandra Goess. The climaxing guitar wails and runs which are reinforced by the layered keyboards and stunning and solid drum stickmanship of Reischmann really set the piece alive.

Follow Your Heart offers an epiphany, a moment that really confirms just how good Andrew Roussak really is, creating a culmination of varying sonic and musical approaches, beautiful, sedate, limbering, dexterous, complex and convoluted. That’s not to take away from the rest of the band as they are definitely at the top of their game here too. This really is premier prog metal at its best with the band following him with total trust and belief? The augmentation of duelling, echoing, mirroring keyboard and guitar interchanges may not be an original approach, but the way it’s played and presented here, it really does ignite the piece. Crusades is vocally refrained, being the second instrumental seeing Weislogel surpassing himself with his playing which is stunning, fast and clear which takes the band to a whole new level. This is just a playground of excitement, the to’ing and fro’ing of musical excellence, like kids entering a candy shop for the first time. Two Hearts makes good use of the medieval approach, tones that see Goess really manipulating the storyline with her powerful prowess, a midnight dialog, a madrigal from the Renaissance and early Baroque eras with a modern twist, which strangely seems to fade out very quickly. Harbour Of Marseilles steps the pace up with some urgency, Reischmann almost effortless and tireless drumming really underpins the movement. Roussak duels with his own keyboard tones that offer an almost desperate and frustrated effect with the realisation of opportunity and hope arriving in the end. Carthago becomes a musical conversation, having a more basic approach than the other tracks, which as ever is full of Roussak and Weislogel personality, which just seems to fade and end abruptly. So Long exalts a majestic tone, almost hymnal as it starts to bring the journey that is Crusade 1212 to an end, whilst Hope sombrely ends the journey, with finality, emotionally, being the food for the spirit and strength for the musical soul.

Repeated listens to this album makes for a rewarding experience. We see again that the band have created a very strong album which is finely balanced, dynamic and melodic. As you travel the journey with the band, the story and the music just suck you in. Dorian Opera has stepped up to the plate, stepped up a gear and succeeded. Early 2011 see’s another excellent prog metal album being released.

Conclusion: 8 out of 10

JOHN O'BOYLE for DPRP, 17.04.2011

Ytsejam - progressive reviews

For two guys who can go all out symphonic and full on classical, both keyboardist/pianist Andrew Roussak & guitarist Oliver Weislogel really know how to make the worlds off the composition and the song collide with vigorously melodic results - put them both together and you have the Dorian Opera albums that have expounded upon melodic prog metal infused with a stern neo-classical compositional approach, and with that, there isn't this pretentious overt musicianship ego attitude, meriting albums that keep the technical vibe intact while retaining an accessible sound throughout.

Another thing that keeps Dorian Opera in high gusto is that there is a retention of a 'band' sound, giving Crusade 1212 it's boldness. Dramatic and cinematic, you have "Overture 1212," "Crusade," & "Follow Your Heart" for those who love the challenging thought minded tunes, while "Harbour of Marseilles," "Sermon in Saint-Denis," & the arena oriented "So Long" execute the more song minded approach, as skilled and intricate chops rule the record fronted by vocalist Sven the Axe and guest female vocalist Alexandra Goess,

Comparisons to Sun Caged, Mattsson, Consortium Project, and even what a stripped down Ayreon would be like are present - there is something for everybody here as its musicianship, melodic, and monster shredding, both from the guitar & keys, with an intense rhythms section, bring about a well rounded offering of prog metal.

Added: June 12th 2011
Reviewer: Tommy Hash
Score: 5 Stars

Prognaut USA - reviews from a fan's perspective

Three years after their debut album No Secrets, Germany’s Dorian Opera released a new album in 2011 entitled Crusade1212. The story is basically a concept album inspired by the historical Children's crusade. Musically they’re still is the same area as they were on their debut. The only difference this time around is they have two new singers, a male (Sven The Axe) and a female (Alexandra Goess). Right off I have to say I would have liked to have heard Alexandra more. Honestly, my reason is that Sven’s style of vocals takes them more towards Dream Theater territory. On the plus side, combination of vocals gives a versatility that most bands in the prog-metal genre don’t have.

The rest of the band is from the debut and features a fantastic group of musicians especially the keyboardist, Andrew Roussak and guitarist, Oliver Weislogel. The rhythm section of Joe Eisenburger (bass) and Harry Reischmannis (drums) is probably the tightest I’ve heard in a long while. To my ears, this album is a vast step forward for the band while it’s still on the outer edges of typical prog-metal, really needs something more, maybe a non traditional instrument in this genre.

Since this is a concept album, I recommend setting aside an hour of your leisure time to soak up the story and music. I think once you do, you’ll become a fan of Dorian Opera. I think the best is yet to come but Crusade 1212 is a very solid prog-metal band that I would recommend strongly.

Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on May 30th, 2011

Ravenheart Music - female fronted metal bands

Phil Woodbridge on Ravenheart Music, 17.10.2011

This German progressive rock/metal band was founded by four full time musicians in 2007, releasing 'No Secrets' in 2008. Their second album is based on the Children's Crusade of 1212 in which thousands of children departed for Jerusalem, only for the mission to end in disaster. It is shrouded in myth and legend, there was a French 14 yr old shepherd called Stephen who, with a following of 30,000 people, went to St. Denis (just north of Paris) with a letter from Jesus for King Philip II (Augustus) in 1212, traditionally they then went on Crusade, but there is no contemporary record of them going. At about the same time there was also a German Crusade led by another young shepherd called Nicholas with about 7,000 people, but the fleet broke up and some were probably captured by pirates and sold into slavery. These two events have over the centuries become embroidered, entwined and embellished, so it is difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction. The tragic tale in this album is about the German knight Jan, sung by Sven the Axe, who rescues and falls in love with Constantine, performed by special guest Alexandra Goess. Constantine is enthralled by Stephen's sermon at St Denis and decides to follow his Crusade to Jerusalem, whereas Jan is sceptical about Stephen's visions and chooses to join Nicholas's Crusade as he believes it has a better chance of succeeding. What will befall them and will they meet again? Stylistically they recall Roswell Six, an epic historical tale (but based on real events) set against the backdrop of melodic progressive metal, with influences from symphonic/neo prog, melodic heavy rock and power metal, depending on the mood of the story. Sven and Alexandra both have powerful rock voices, and they share vocal duties almost equally, either solo or in partnership where their voices are often counterpointed to retain their individuality. Musicianship is outstanding with plenty of space for Oliver Weislogel's virtuoso fretwork and Andrew Roussak's flying synths, he does remind me at times of Clive Nolan, but they never over indulge, there's plenty of variety, and they always return to the song and story. A good example is 'Follow Your Heart' which is about the pivotal moment when the lovers decide to go their separate ways, it starts with a superb instrumental introduction, then turns into Alexandra's ballad, Sven takes over as it powers up, the lads then stretch their legs, before it returns to the refrain sung by Sven and Alexandra together. 'Sermon In Saint-Denis', 'Carthago', 'So Long' and 'Hope' are carefully crafted and constructed melodic prog metal songs. 'Soldier of Fortune' and 'Harbour Of Marseilles', belted out by Sven and Alexandra respectively, have appropriate bursts of epic power metal, and Alexandra stars in the power ballad 'Two Hearts'. Production by Oliver is top notch - clear, powerful but not too heavy. This is a highly professional album with an absorbing story, ideally suited for melodic prog partakers of both the metal and rock persuasion, so set sail to their promised land here, an engrossing 9/10 (Phil)

ArtRock on ProgArchives, Magle Intl. Music Forum

Art Rock for Prog Archives, 6.04.2011

Three years after their very worthwhile debut album No secrets, German prog metal band Dorian Opera have returned with a masterpiece. Crusade 1212 is a fascinating concept album with a tragic opera-like storyline, inspired by the historical Children's crusade. The original four members are still there, augmented with a lead singer (Sven the Axe) and a female guest vocalist (Alexandra Goess). The music falls roughly in the Dream Theater meets Neo Prog range, with considerable instrumental virtuosity, but without noodling for noodling's sake. The extended instrumental passages are all fit for purpose, and in the best prog tradition.

Right from the atmospheric start with a short spoken recital of the subject matter over a great almost improvised instrumental background, this highly melodious, heavy rocking album keeps you spellbound. Metal riffs and hard rock sequences alternate with more soft spoken passages, but both are dominated by truly fantastic keyboards (Andrew Roussak) and gorgeous guitar work (Oliver Weislogel) - worthy of comparison with the greatest in the genre. Bass player Joe Eisenburger and drummer Harry Reischmann also take their opportunities to shine. Singer Sven the Axe's high-pitched voice is very suited for this repertoire, with an occasional vibrato that reminded me of early Uriah Heep (one of my favourite bands). Appropriately for a guest vocalist, Alexandra Goess gets fewer lines, providing background vocals mostly, but she takes her chance where she is given it, in particular in the beautiful track Two hearts. Excellent voice.

If there is one thing that bugged me about their debut, it was the recording quality. Well, no complaints in that respect for the new release. Great sound, great balance between the various instruments and the singing. The cover is once more excellent, the booklet with all lyrics in gothic font is informative, even if it takes a while to get used to reading it.

There is not much point in going into detail song by song - this is after all a concept album that should be heard in its entirety. And it really should be heard - it is absolutely brilliant!

Progwereld - progressive music website, Holland

In his review of „No Secrets,“ Govert Krul gave Dorian Opera a hard clip on the ear. Afterwards, founder and band leader Andrew Roussak was reeling, and decided to give us an inkling of his displeasure by email. But time heals most wounds, and eventually Roussak managed to see the humour of it, if at first grudgingly. Since this memorable review, two and a half years have passed, and now Dorian Opera have released their follow-up, „Crusade 1212“ – and it seems that the smack in the head has had the hoped-for effect.

The band said до свидания to their Russian label MALS and switched to German label Solemnity Records, which is owned by the band’s new singer, who carries the sonorous name Steven The Axe. The chap is also the singer of metal band Solemnity. But to be quite frank, the best news is called Alexandra Goess. This vocalist is not a Dorian Opera core member, although she has contributed at least half of all vocals on this album and has done so rather creditably. And by way of glazing on the fairy cake, the production of „Crusade 1212“ has improved compared to the debut. In short, Dorian Opera strikes back. And how.

The concept album, just shy of 60 minutes, deals with the two children’s crusades that are said to have taken place in Germany and France in 1212 to rid Jerusalem of islam – a topic which Roussak happened upon and which occupied him to such an extent that he made it the theme for this drama-filled album. The protagonists in this story are Jan, Constance and Stephan (although other sources give the names Stefan, Nikolais, Nikolaas, and Nicholas). Although Dorian Opera have leapt forward in terms of vocals, I still think they are the album’s weak point. The Axe’s singing is very theatrical in an almost Italian vein, and in his enthusiasm he sometimes misses the mark (try Follow Your Heart). However, because his vocal presence is limited, we can cover it up with the cloak of charity. Moreover, in Goess, who on the whole sings quite well, he has a more than adequate opposite number.

Musically, „Crusade 1212“ features more quiet moments and variation than its predecessor, and the album is more balanced as a result. A central part is played by Roussak, who shows off his prowess on a variety of keyboard instruments. In this sense, Ouverture 1212 is a very warm welcome. In addition, we can hear a roaring Hammond on Sermon in Saint-Denis and Carthago, Follow Your Heart shows that Roussak is a classically trained pianist, and synthesizer solos can be heard regularly throughout. In between all this violence on the keys, Oliver Weislogel is given ample opportunity to play some spicy guitar solos. On the album’s highlight, the instrumental Crusade, he demonstrates that he is an excellent metal guitarist. Generally, however, the album is characterised by an orchestral, slightly bombastic mood that can best be described as a mix of Dream Theater and Symphony X. No need to be mysterious about that.

With „Crusade 1212,“ the German of Russian background has put his critics in their places in a rather suitable way. Under Andrew Roussak’s leadership, Dorian Opera have shown, in a not entirely original yet fully adequate way, that the band does after all have an auspicious future ahead.
Hans Ravensbergen, 16.06.2011

My Global Mind - webzine for hard rock and metal

DORIAN OPERA is a relatively new band put together by two members of the traditional heavy metal group SOLEMNITY who themselves have been around since about 2001 or so. This new venture released its debut album NO SECRETS back in 2008, and while it certainly showed potential with its classical music inspired progressive metal sound it was plagued by a very ordinary production, making it sound way more amateur than it should have.

This time around though that particular issue has been rectified, and while not quite up to tonal quality of the more major releases in the progressive metal genre it’s definitely a step in the right direction and much, much better than last time. The quality of the songwriting has also significantly improved, so much so that this album works as a concept story, and each little part feels just as important and gripping as the next. I’m not sure I’d say that the playing itself has improved as I already thought from their first album that each member of this band was a master of their chosen craft, a fact that is made even more evident when heard at a higher quality.

There’s a lot of keyboard work flowing throughout this album, maybe just a little bit too much for me personally, but it is certainly played well and will mesmerize fans of the more symphonic side of progressive metal and power metal. This fact alone gives the album a very SYMPHONY X vibe in places, especially when it kicks into high gear and the technical skills start taking over. Of course any modern progressive metal release can be compared to DREAM THEATER, which is a fair assumption here too, but they never actually feel like a copycat band of anyone else. I can also hear a little bit of YES and a touch of PINK FLOYD in the band’s sound, which helps to balance out the heaviness with a little more melody.

CRUSADE 1212 is an excellent album no doubt about it, and DORIAN OPERA have shown with this release that they are serious about making it in the progressive metal game. I don’t think they’re quite up with the kings of the genre just yet, but they are surely a lot closer than most and only need a little bit of finessing to be ready to take on the world. Bands like SEVENTH WONDER are the next in line to take the throne from bands like DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X, but the line after that begins with DORIAN OPERA…..Jump on the bandwagon now, I’m pretty certain that bigger and better things await this band and it’s only a matter of time and a little bit of luck.

Written By ZeeZee, 12.05.2011Rating : 8/10

Locke's Rock Sounds - RockLiveRadio

Carsten Klenke, 10.04.2011

Hach, endlich wieder was neues von DORIAN OPERA. 2008 bekam schon das Debüt „No Secrets„ in meinen Gehörgängen einen Ehrenplatz. Titel wie „Tell me your lies„, „One of these days„ oder „Dead or alive„ gehören heute noch ab und an in meinen Player und die Playlist. Endlich ist der Nachfolger da.
Mein Dank gilt Andrew Roussak, der auch nach so langer Zeit noch an mich gedacht hat. Freu mich!

War „No Secrets„ vielleicht noch ein wenig unterproduziert war, geht’s auf dem neuen Longplayer „Crusade 1212„ schon vom Opener an in einen vollen Sound über.
Hier wird feinster ProgMetal geboten der mit einigen Power Metal-Elementen bereichert wird aber irgendwie nie die melodische Struktur verliert.
Die Band hat sich was den Bandsound betrifft sich toll weiterentwickelt.

An den Vocals gibt es Zuwachs zu vermelden. Mit „Sven the Axe„, Sänger der Heavy Metals SOLEMNITY, wo auch Dorian Opera-Drummer Harry Reischmann die Schlagstöcke bedient, wurde eine kräftige und passende Stimme gefunden.
Ansonsten sind die gleichen Musiker am Werk .

Sauber unterlegt werden die Songs immer wieder von Keyboarder Andrew Roussak. Trotz der metallastigen Sounds hört man klar seine Arbeit an den Songs raus. Sehr angenehm.
Natürlich wird ein Hauptaugenmerk auf die Riffarbeit von Gitarrist Oli Weislogel an den Gitarren gelegt. Mal verspielt, mal eine härtere Gangart einlegend gerät das Songkonstrukt nie aus den Angeln. Hier sei gerade das Instrumental „Crusade„ mal hervorgehoben, welches den Zuhörer fesselt und leideschaftliche Gitarren- und Keyboardarbeit aufzeigt.
Auch die Rhythmus-Fraktion mit Harry Reischmann (Drums) und dem Tieftöner Joe Eisenburger, der auf dem Debüt noch für die Lead Vocals zuständig war, weiß zu überzeugen. Eine feine Balance bei der neuen Produktion im Zusammenspiel der einzelnen Instrumente.

Es ist schwer einen Song wirklich herauszuheben, da diese wahre und dramatische epische Geschichte von pulsierenden Ereignissen und als Gesamtes lebt. Der Kinderkreuzzug im Jahre 1212 musste mit schweren Verlusten kämpfen und daraus entsteht halt auch energische Musik um die Geschichte in der Phantasie des Zuhörers „wahr„ werden zu lassen. Ein Höhepunkt ist sicherlich der 9-Minuten-Longtack „Follow Your Heart„ der alle Elemente des Albums ineinander verschmelzen lässt.
Ein Song der direkt ins Ohr geht ist „Two hearts„. Hier zeigt gerade Gastsängerin Alexandra Goess ihr feines „Stimmchen„. Grad am Anfang kommt ein Mittelalter-Touch zum Tragen. Eine Ballade wie sie schöner kaum den 2. Part des Albums hervorheben und starten könnte. Und den Weg von Contance, einer Protagonistin der Geschichte, nach Marsaille mit diesem mitternächtlichen Dialog zwischen ihr und Jan, einleitet.

Fetterer Sound, gute Balance und feine Stimmen … der Weg stimmt, auch wenn ich mir als Rockfan manchmal etwas weniger Metal gewünscht hätte und mehr Rockelemente (wie z. B. bei „So long„). Aber vielleicht braucht es nur noch ein paar Durchläufe für mich.
Allerdings wurde die Geschichte sehr eindrucksvoll musikalisch umgesetzt und ihr Handwerk verstehen die Herren und die Dame.

ProgMetal-Fans können hier gar nichts verkehrt machen. Allen anderen sei ein Hörvorlauf auf den Bandwebseiten zu empfehlen.

RockTimes - das Online-Rockmusikmagazin

Das ist mal ein Thema für ein Konzeptalbum, das nicht gerade auf der Hand liegt! Dorian Opera erzählen auf ihrer zweiten CD die Geschichte des ominösen 'Kinderkreuzzugs', bei dem im Jahr 1212 Tausende, womöglich Zehntausende junger Menschen in zwei Zügen aus Deutschland und aus Frankreich in Richtung Jerusalem aufgebrochen sind, um das 'Heilige Land' zu befreien. Im historischen Stoff platziert die Band zwei fiktionale Protagonisten: Jan und Constance, deren Wege sich zwischenzeitlich trennen, als er sich dem Zug auf deutscher und sie sich dem Zug auf französischer Seite anschließt.
Die Stimmen der beiden, das sind 'Gastsängerin' Alexandra Goess, die sehr oft auftaucht und weit mehr als nur ein Gast ist, und der neue Lead Sänger Sven The Axe, außerhalb von Dorian Opera Frontmann der selbst ernannten 'Horror-Metaller' Solemnity. Mit diesen Personalien hat man sich einiges Gutes getan! Zum einen kann sich Joe Eisenburger, der beim Debütalbum No Secrets auch den Gesang beisteuerte, nun auf seine Arbeit am Tieftöner konzentrieren. Und zum anderen hat Sven The Axe die richtige Stimme - mit einer satten Portion schauspielerischer Theatralik (hat manchmal was von Charlie Dominici, beispielsweise in "Hope") - für die zahlreichen Duette mit Alexandra Goess.
Das macht "Crusade 1212" nicht nur zu einer Power Metal-, einer Prog Metal-, einer Speed Metal-, einer epischen und neoklassischen Metal-, sondern auch zu einer Rockoper-Platte. Ziemlich viel Style-Dropping; und das Verdienst der Band ist es, das alles so miteinander zu verschmelzen, dass es nie aufgesetzt wirkt. Bei den bombastischen Up-Tempo-Krachern "Soldier Of Fortune" und "Harbour Of Marseilles" taucht Alexandra Goess auf, indem sie die ohnehin schon prächtige Hymne im Chorus des ersteren am Ende nochmal mit einem irre hohen 'Echo' vergoldet, und in letzterem, indem beide den Chorus im Tandem shouten. Bei "Sermon In Saint-Denis" treiben sie dann mit abwechselnden Einsätzen über dramatischen Prog Power-Riffs die Spannung von Höhepunkt zu Höhepunkt. Der Track dürfte auch dank der Orgel-Parts Fans von Star One und Ayreon ansprechen!
Bei "Follow Your Heart" schrillen plötzlich die Kitsch-Glocken Alarm: ein balladenhaftes Klavier-Intro, zarter weiblicher Gesang in lieblich-elegischer Melodie ... Aber dann wird schnell klar: Fehlalarm! Es folgt nämlich eine Magnum-mäßig pumpende Heavy Rock-Passage, dann der männliche Gesangs-Gegenpart zum Intro. Und dann wird sich amtlich angeschnallt zu einem dreieinhalbminütigen instrumentalen Allerlei, bevor der Chorus dann, mit Spezial-Effekt durch Tonartwechsel, von beiden nochmal im Duett rausgehauen wird. Am Ende dieses mehr als neunminütigen Stücks glaubt man auf keinen Fall, dass mehr als neun Minuten vergangen sind! Sehr spannend und kurzweilig. Und sogar die kurzen Kitsch-Stellen sind dank Alexandra Goess' Stimme wunderschön.
Mehr davon gibt es im folkig angehauchten "Two Hearts". Ein weiteres ihrer vokalen Highlights ist "Carthago", wo sie diese leichten orientalischen Anleihen in ihre Gesangsmelodien einbaut. So viel Lob für Vokales ... doch dieser Punkt sticht nun mal gegenüber dem Debütalbum stark heraus. Aber auch auf der instrumentalen Seite gibt es massig Positives. In den Instrumentals "Ouverture 1212" und "Crusade" sowie in zahlreichen teils ausgiebigen stimmlosen Passagen in den übrigen Songs liefern sich Gitarre und Keyboard atemberaubende Wettstreitereien, während die Rhythmussektion groovend und vielseitig verproggt das Fundament legt. Und das ist teils very heavy - in "Carthago" findet ein ausuferndes Saiten-Tasten-Duell mal komplett über Double Bass statt!
Bombastisch, aber nicht overplayed - verfrickelt, aber nicht exhibitionistisch. So könnte man die Anmutung der meisten instrumentalen Zurschaustellungen bezeichnen. Sie erinnern an Bands wie Andromeda, Tomorrow's Eve oder Shadow Gallery; und das mit der 'klassischen' Metal-Ausrichtung von Kollegen wie Rough Silk oder Ivanhoe. Zudem fallen neoklassische und neobarocke Einflüsse auf - mal diskret versteckt in der harmonischen Dimension, mal sehr explizit wie in Symphony X-lastigen Frickel-Parts in "Soldier Of Fortune". Das wirkt bei Dorian Opera weitaus weniger aufgesetzt als bei vielen Kollegen, zumal beide Songwriter der Band, Oli Weislogel und Andrew Roussak, klassische Musikerausbildungen vorzuweisen haben - eben so wie Basser Joe Eisenburgers, der allerdings nach den Aufnahmen zur CD ausstieg und durch Wolfgang Fetzer ersetzt wurde.
"Crusade 1212" ist für Dorian Opera ein gelungener Schritt nach vorn - nicht nur, was den Gesang betrifft, sondern auch in Sachen Songwriting. Das Album wirkt als eine noch stärkere Einheit als das beim ohnehin schon starken Vorgänger der Fall war. Vor allem in Sachen Dramatik & Dramaturgie gab es eine Weiterentwicklung. Fans von Vanden Plas dürften das ein oder andere Mal mit der Zunge schnalzen. Und nirgendwo verzettelt man sich - die knappe Stunde vergeht wie im Flug und lässt einige packende Hooklines im Kopf nachwirken. Auffällig ist zu guter Letzt noch der opulente, nicht all zu 'perfekt' und steril geschliffene Sound, der diese Scheibe beinahe wie ein Live-Album aus dem Studio klingen lässt - 'lebendig' eben.
So landet sie ganz natürlich noch oft im CD-Spieler und man kann sich die Zeit nehmen, auch die Geschichte hinter dem Konzeptalbum etwas genauer auf sich wirken zu lassen. Das ist nämlich eine tragische: Die, die dem 'Kinderkreuzzug' gefolgt sind, kamen nie an. Viele starben auf ihrem Weg über die Alpen, andere wurden schließlich in Nordafrika als Sklaven verkauft ...

Boris Theobald, 01.05.2011

Melodic Hard Rock Today , Norway

Dorian Opera is a progressive metal band from South Germany formed in 2007 by 4 professional musicians. Oliver Weislogel ( guitar ), Joe Eisenburger ( bass, vocals ) , Andrew Roussak ( keyboards, backing vocals ) and Harry Reischmann ( drums ) had already an experience of playing together in various bands in Baden- Wuerttemberg, South Germany . The band name of DORIAN OPERA was chosen to underline a link between classical and rock music (Dorian is a scale mostly often used in rock compositions ). Their debut CD No Secrets was released in June, 2008 by a progressive rock label called MALS in Russia. The second studio album CRUSADE 1212 was released in March 2011. Crusade 1212 is a concept album relating to the Children's Crusade of 1212. It tells the story of a young boy who was visited by Jesus Christ. He then began to gather children, as many as 30,000, and lead them to the Holy Land. Unfortunately, while their jorney many of the children were ravaged by exhaustion, starvation, slavery and one disaster after another. The protagonist of the story is Jan, born in North Germany and destined to become leader of the Crusade. It is an epic story of love, hard times and tragedy.
This band Dorian Opera comes with their second production Crusade 1212 more or less in the same concept we can see lately in some symphonic metal bands lately in the european scene, which is, concept albums that tells about a particular story, generally speaking an epic story. However, Dorian Opera is a progressive metal band in which performances we can find some symphonic metal and power metal elements. This band has two singers (female-male) but their are not operatic singers. They are two singers in a popular style whose voices and harmonies contrasts with the operatical elements in the music. According to my point of view, she is very calm and in control of the despair you can feel at certain point of the album, and he has a great warm voice that adds drama to the scene. Together they don't complement themselves but each one has their own vocal pattern. And as I said before, their popular style can smoothes the strength in the performances and sometimes you may think of some pop rock traces. So I warn you guys this can sound a little different from what we are used to. It is a very particular combination of styles and elements which deserve a chance of being listened to and appreciated as it comes. Throughout the whole album, you can find changes in tempo, chords and melodies that speak about their progressive style. Bars and setbacks are also techniques used by these excellent musicians. The sounds of the guitar all along the album are simply awesome and I enjoyed very much the keyboards arrangements as well as the guitar solos. In conclusion, the music with all the instruments and production are very very good. I recommend this album, specially to all those that enjoy progressive metal with some symphonic elements and like trying new things and innovation. Check them out!!

96/100 Reviewed by Maria, 6.11.2011