Orisonata review

Attention symphonic and progressive metal fans- There is a new band out of Houston, of all places, called Orisonata that is poised to steal the thunder of heavyweights like Stratovarius, Blind Guardian and Sonata Arctica. Orisonata have set out on a mission to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that American bands cannot just play as well as European bands, but might even be better than them at their own game. Orisonata was formed in Houston in 2006, by the husband and wife pair of Jennifer Grassman on all vocals and Jason Lee Greenberg on absolutely everything else. Jason is a musical genius and an absolute beast on every instrument he touches while the vocal range of Jennifer is almost unparalleled. She can effortlessly switch back and forth from singing like Amy Lee or Tarja Turunen to just about everything in between. While there are bound to be comparisons to symphonic masters like Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica, Leaves Eyes and After Forever as well as progressive legends like Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard and Porcupine Tree, Orisonata have managed to create something almost unheard of in modern music, by putting out something completely original and different that actually breaks all new ground and will help to redefine the very boundaries of the musical genres that tried to contain them. Complete with flourishes of intense double kick drums that would make Mike Portnoy jealous, solos that rival greats like Satriani, Vai and Dragonforce, old school synths that ring like vintage Malmsteen and some sultry sexy smooth jazz saxophone on top of layers of lush piano just to help set the mood. Opener “Journey To The Center Of The Earth” is a nine minute opus that sounds like Leaves Eyes paired with the angelic voice of Tarja Turunen. It is followed by “Once And Future King,” which is a cosmic collision of Nightwish and Dream Theater while “The Great Baptism” is a sprawling eight minute epic with steamroller heavy riffs and blistering solos that sounds like it was ripped from the Dream Theater Awake album if it had been a rock opera sung by Tarja Turunen. “Unholy Creation,” is another beast, clocking in at over seven minutes that plays a lot like early Within Temptation and would have been right at home on their Mother Earth album.  At the same time “Oath Breaker” is the closest thing to straight up metal on the album. It’s more in the vein of Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, Kamelot or even Evanescence and is also the shortest track, at a mere five minutes. “Robin Hood” is equal parts Epica, After Forever and Edenbridge mixed with the heavier elements of Xandria, Tristania and Delain while closer “The Muses” is a gentle acoustic number with a subtle renaissance feel to it, that is given texture by layers upon layers of vocals and a calming flute that is akin to Blackmore’s Night. Here’s the bottom line- While there may only be seven songs on Orisonata, the album runs an impressive 50 plus minutes and has something on it for every fan of heavy symphonic or progressive music. Rating: 8.5/10 -Eric Hunker