Genre: Gothic/Occult Rock
Label: Dark Side Records
I don’t know whether it’s right to talk about Gothic Rock in Greece. And I’m not trying to underestimate any bands work. I’m saying this, because the term “Gothic” is a generally misused and misunderstood term in our country, which often becomes “quaint” in a way, and the last people to blame for this would be the bands which in fact have to work even harder given this situation.
You see in Greece, there’s an attempt to transform a certain aesthetic and art style, into a bastardized, cheap and wannabe “alternative” lifestyle, in order for some to have financial gain. So ot’s normal for those that are trying to express themselves and be creative -while playing music-, to be left looking at the whole scene, feeling numb. The audience –the receivers- always have the last say in this and it’s their call on how to translate the message and act accordingly.
That being said –and those are subjects that were more apparent the previous decade, but still have an impact ‘till this day- I can see how hard it must be to be a Gothic Rock band in Greece.
That’s why i wonder how Opened Paradise have managed to sustain such quality in their music, for almost 15 years now, with the creativity bar constantly set higher along with the subtle yet picky career in Greece. Not easy at all.
”Buried in Rain” that was released in 2016 with the vinyl version released on 2017, is their third attempt, after their “Occult” debut which was released officially back in 2006 and their “Tides” EP (2012) that actually marked the resurrection of the band, since there was a silent period.
“Buried In Rain” is a deep, dark gem. Emotionally charged, gifted with an exceptional musical freedom, it carries along the aura of the places that the sun light reaches last, just to disappear. It carries the inner rage and agony of the search, but also the certainty of the dominating presence of dark and chaos. Yielding the blade of vengeance, while the heavens burn.
In reality, this band has lot more to offer than the average Gothic Rock band and at the end of the day, the simple usage of the term “Gothic” does not do them any justice, cause their sound is wider. However I’ll place them in the centre of the Gothic Rock Universe. Why? Because the Gothic Rock genre itself needs bands with Opened Paradise’s talent, in order to gain some insight. The genre needs a point of reference today. Yes, along with the big names, for which I would like you to show me their works of today and i mean works of creativity, not just badly done re-issues or sellout live shows under the same -or different- name.
Babis Nikou, which is one of the founding members of the band, has composed the whole album. Even though he is not a member of the band any longer -it’s his own decision-, he has left his mark with “Burried…”,. a mark that shows his evolution in composition and I’m writing that while keeping in mind the bands previous attempts.
The material in “Buried…” breathes; it’s one of those parts of Gothic Rock that has to offer substantial influences. Their guitar lines of This Burning Effigy, Last Rites and Rubicon (Fields of the Nephilim legacy?) co-exist with an atmosphere that you will find in bands like Hearts No Static for example. Do they have a Post Rock band in their influences? Yes there are things to talk about. Periklis vocals – which are by the way very improved compared to before- might resemble the classic Fields of the Nephilim/Garden of Delight school, but i think that the bands influences from these classic bands, end there.
In this album, the musical pattern is more restless. They paid high attention to detail. There is a specific build up in every melody of each instrument (for example the piano in “In Flesh” that sounds like it’s bleeding. Also, I need to mention that this is the only track that is co-signed by the keyboardist Alexandros Masmanides). The overall feel of this album is very liberated compared to the more stiff and tight work in “Occult” for example, so to say that they just resemble Nephilim, would not do them any justice. As i said, i leave them in the Gothic Rock universe. As an example to be followed. For everyone.
I’m not at all surprised to see Nikos expressing himself creatively in a wider musical range, writing music for the theatrical version of “Fonissa” by Papadiamantis, or doing an attempt to explore tradition with “Dia Mageias”. Keeping in mind his career in a variety of bands (from Dark Vision, Ritual Of The Black Sun to Decadence and Jaded Star), I can see as a receiver that his restless spirit would find its own way to move forward through his specific and dark canvas of Opened Paradise.
I don’t want to drag this any further, nor mention any song because i believe that “Buried in Rain” can only be described as a whole. We’re dealing with a world class band, judging by this album. I’m not sure what the future holds for them. They’ve set the bar very high but i believe that they got what it takes to go even higher. You should definately check “Buried in Rain” out.