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GENIUS (A ROCK OPERA) Episode 2: In Search Of The Little Prince (Frontier Records) (2004)

Genius - A Rock Opera

There are many reasons why I believe that the creation of a successful Rock/Metal Opera is a very difficult task. When a whole album is based on a single story, the composer needs to make sure that every listener will be able to remain focused to the story from beginning to the end. I accepted the challenge of making a review for the second episode of the Genius Rock Opera, not only because I became a big fan of Daniele Liverani's work since the release of Empty Tremor's album "The Alien Inside", but also because I was quite impressed by the cast of singers that decided to participate in the creation of this album.

I never got the chance to listen to the first part of the Genius trilogy, so I was a bit insecure as to whether I would be able to understand and follow the scenario throughout this 70-minute album. I assume that this was the exact reason that led Liverani to create the role of "The Storyteller", for which Philip Bynoe's (Steve Vai, Ring of Fire) services was required. Bynoe's short narrations in the beginning of every song are the guide to understanding this quite complicated story.

As for the musical part: Genius is a very interesting mixture of Heavy, Progressive and Melodic Metal, all of which co-exist in great balance and harmony - music that both fans of Yngwie J.Malmsteen and Dream Theater will find quite appealing. But what is it that makes Genius so special? Why should anyone choose to invest in this specific release, and not in any other similar "attempt", by another equally optimistic composer?

Genius is the product of Liverani's ambition to create something unique by using his sole compositional skills. As a result, the music is quite focused and well orientated. Not only did Liverani write all the compositions, but he's also the person responsible for the album's impressive production. All the rest was left to the very capable voices of Mark Boals (Ring of Fire, ex-Malmsteen), Daniel Gildenlow (Pain of Salvation), Russel Allen (Symphony X), Eric Martin (ex-Mr.Big) and Liv Kristine (ex-Theatre of Tragedy), who's great performances gave colour to the album, and made Genius a necessity for every Progressive and Melodic Metal fan.

Genius should be judged as a unity, like every Rock/Metal Opera, but I have to admit that it was the album's longest compositions that made the difference to me, which by the way is one of it's strongest points. You will never feel lost inside a song, even when it's nine minutes long - quite an achievement indeed!

Genius and his fellow companion "Twinspirit 32" continue their amazing adventures in the Dream League, fighting to prove King Mc Chaos' innocence, save the little prince and find a way to manage to get out of the great mess that was created when Genius accidentally entered the world of dreams.

I, for one, am very interested to find out what will happen next - what about you?


Review by John Stefanis

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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