Norwegian vocalist Pellek, aka Per Fredrik Asly, is a busy guy. About this same time last year he released his first solo album, Bag of Tricks. Then with his UK cohorts, Damnation Angels, he released Bringer of Light in Japan. This was picked up by Massacre for larger distribution earlier this year. In the meantime, Pellek has found time to explore geography and develop his second solo project, a concept album called Ocean of Opportunity.
Although it's probably not best to call this work a 'solo' album as Pellek works a core band for the project. The concept is rather ambitious: following the death of his wife, for both solace and adventure, a small town public official takes a fantastical journey via ship around the oceans of the world, and later to the skies in a hot air balloon. This is where Pellek's study of geography comes in, having our protagonist visiting actual locations like the Midway Islands and Sea of Okhotsk.
The story is told in song, more like chapters, set to some classic melodic heavy and power metal, adding some notable symphonic and progressive threads, with Pellek's four octave vocal range leading the way. Perhaps the most unique thing about the album is the song development. While many songs follow a typical verse-verse-chorus structure, they're much large than that. The verses offer more depth and detail to tell the story, something more akin to those ancient Greek poems/tales. This becomes more focused in the latter half of the album with Stars and Bulletholes, Sky Odyssey, one of the best songs here, Transmigration, and The Last Journey.
Between this and the music, which itself is a rush of epic melodic power metal including some massive guitar solos, Pellek and company demonstrates true ambition and creativity. Ocean of Opportunity easily trumps Pellek's first effort, and makes you wonder what he can do to top it in the future. Strongly recommended.
Between the lyric structure and the epic melodic power metal arrangements, Pellek's Ocean of Opportunity displays both ambition and creativity for some remarkably entertaining results.
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