Opium Denn – a masked figure, perhaps not to hide but rather to represent us all – has released (23rd October, 2015) his debut album. He has a world vision that likes to make connections and reflect on the human condition. This nine-track concept album, through song and video, tells the story of “Robert Hero” from birth to death…and back again.
Described as Art Rock, or Ethereal Rock, “Demarkation” is promoted as “A concept album where Pink Floyd meets Blue Oyster Cult and the Phantom of the Opera“. Written and produced by Opium Denn, its large themes are delivered with musical aplomb and melody.
A warning comes with the release if you are in possession of the HEV (Health-Science Enhanced Vibrations) version – no, I don’t know what that means, either, but apparently you shouldn’t listen to this version whilst driving or if you have a background of seizures.
My favourite track is the very first one; “I Am A Feeling #1” is sweetly melodic but with a sense of foreboding. This album is not just an exercise in prog rock or shadowing Pink Floyd, as other styles come in, for example the jazzy guitar on “Leaf” or the funky arrangement on “So Many Faces”. Opium Denn’s throaty vocals are nothing exceptional but adequately deliver.
Behind the concept and searching for meaning, there are really good songs. So wherever you want to pitch your interest, at the surface level of the songs or the stories behind them, you can enjoy guitar going through rock, blues and mellow moods, inventive percussion and clean, crisp piano.
Nine accompanying videos will help to tell the story; I have seen the three released thus far. Their style of using G.I. Joe-style figures could have been cold, but instead is strangely moving. The first one, for “I Am A Feeling #1”, begins with the conception of Robert Hero. “Leaf” is the second video, in which Robert reminisces about his happy childhood and yearns for a partner. For “So Many Faces”, Robert understands how other people impact on his life and how everyone is connected.
Two more concept albums are promised in the series. I hope the concept continues to not outweigh the strength of the songs, and look forward to the next instalments.