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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

OTARION: No Time Was Lost (2021)

This album is pretty strong and above all superbly intense, poignant

1 The shore of Japho 6:06

2 Second Call 9:52

3 A New Chance 5:38

4 Advancing Message 6:38

5 The Bleached Face 5:32

6 A Day's Journey 6:32

7 Call to Repentance 12:57

8 40 Days to Destruction 6:41

9 The Reversal 6:00

10 Grace to Ninive 4:48

(CD-r/DDL 70:49) (V.F.)

(Heavy progressive E-Rock, OST)

She is so delicate! This ambient melody, sparkling with its harmonious chimes, opens this second chapter of Jonah's journey. Little by little, she transfers the weight of her ambiguity to the ambiences that surround it, thus increasing the dramatic charge of The Shore of Japho. Tears of synth-guitar stretch the suspense while bass and organ lines combine their efforts to raise the crescendo that will titillate our emotions throughout this NO TIME WAS LOST, the awaited sequel of Prayer from the Deep. The rhythm that falls is heavy and slow, dragging this amalgam of keyboard and guitar riffs until its explosion for electronic heavy-metal 30 seconds after the 4th minute. A brief explosion before The Shore of Japho gets back to the cradle of its piano. Ah...Here it is, this second part of Jonah's disobedience and adventures. Following the momentum of his superb Extensive, Otarion takes us into a heavy 71 minutes of a neo-progressive EM where the instincts of Mostly Autumn merge with the cinematographic visions of Picture Palace Music, especially in the treatments and effects of the guitars. Divided between Coldplay-like ballads divinely laid down by a most moving piano and structures aggressively lapidated by electric six-string riffs, NO TIME WAS LOST offers anger and tenderness, impenitence and repentance through 10 tracks linked by a melodious thread that takes place and position in different forms, but not so much!

Like Otarion has accustomed us throughout his albums, his music exploits all those threads that give us so many chills, like with those guitar laments that melt into synthesized cries. Second Call offers a heavy and slow rhythm with good percussions, they sound like a real drummer, from which comes out a good melodic line expiated by a screaming synth and its last higher key. The keyboard falling does Coldplay with this barely audible quavering. The track reaches a first bridge of ambiences, always accompanied by high and touching notes, to melt into a heavy static ballet. Second bridge and Second Call bites our eardrums with heavy riffs. This last phase is intense with a barrage of hard metal that accentuates that stormy, belligerent feeling that is the main shadow of Second Call. A New Chance is sewn in tenderness! A first circular melody of the piano is sequenced to turn in minimalist mode. A first circular melody from the piano is sequenced to turn in minimalist mode. A second melody, as delicate as ever, comes to play in this circle along with a synth wave cut into a staccato for a solo violin. A rhythmic bridge adds an element of emotional suspense as the track escapes on horseback into an empire of violins and other orchestral arrangements, including that screaming guitar. And we're back to square one for another round, just in tenderness. Tenderness! There is plenty of it in this album that also puts violence as a dance partner. That's the story of Advancing Message, which lets us hear a good piano melody turned into a structure of ambiences repressing the rhythmic assaults. Increasing its theatrical intensity with a guitar crying while turning with the keyboard, this title becomes a splendid ballad that touched me particularly. Sewn in the same thread, The Bleached Face proposes a much more lively and as intense structure. A great ambient ballad for a schizophrenic king of his imaginary territory, it crumbles its intensity in an ambient phase with a voice of Elven goddess that is mistress of the places.

One remains trapped in this nebulous phase which took hold of the album at the edge of A New Chance with A Day's Journey which drops its riffs whose echoes weave a sound mosaic shaken by the spasms of the bass-pulsations. The ear focused on this effect does not focus its attention on an underlying canvas that foments heavy rock betrayed by a set of drums. The intensity and emotionality drop after the second minute, bringing back that organ and guitar combination that wove those dark electronic heavy-rock ambiences that we found at the beginning of NO TIME WAS LOST. It sounds like the ballad of Lord Anvil in his anvil factory. Intensity and emotionality! There is a lot of it in Call to Repentance. First of all, there is the familiar circular melody that welcomes in its circle another melodious vision supported by a bass line. The movement is circular with a texture for drama, especially with those howling riffs a la Thorsten Quaeschning in the theatrical music of PPM. Metallic-tinted percussion restructures the rhythm into a powerful ballad that holds the strings of intensity to bring Call to Repentance into an ambient rock phase that gradually gnaws its bonds to break free completely after the 6-minute mark. The structure becomes raging with a guitar as hungry than the drums are and another guitar line which throws riffs over its spectral effects. If we were looking for the most intense peak of NO TIME WAS LOST, we find it in this explosive passage that repents for a more serene phase that will be the last moments of Call to Repentance. After the sober tone of an oboe and the more nasal ones of the harpsichord, 40 Days to Destruction makes move its destruction machine forward with blows of percussions jumping nervously from one strike to the next. Playing heavily on the prismatic appearance of its ambiences, Otarion fragments its anger between percussions and some particularly good guitar elements in an endless procession. The Reversal is another highlight in this album with a good piano that draws its melody in a dreamy structure to an effective rock ballad phase because of its emotional crescendo linked to a solid guitar solo and its effects for a dramatic finale. The album should have stopped at the final piano stutters for a perfect conclusion. Instead, Grace to Nineveh is born out of these destructive waves, from these radioactive dusts where the piano still has this strength of delirium. Stretching out so another viable conclusion but without the dramatic intensity of The Reversal.

The rage contained in Prayer from the Deep explodes in several places on NO TIME WAS LOST. Otarion even goes for some guitar solos in an electronic environment that is severely damaged by good percussions. Particularly good percussion, which draws us even more into rock areas. The question now is to know how far Rainer Klein will go for his next album. This one is pretty strong and above all superbly intense, even dramatic...

Sylvain Lupari (May 17th, 2021) ****¼*

Available at MellowJet Records

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