Album Review – Flame Imperishable / Glory and Ruin (2022)

This talented husband-and-wife duo is back in action with a new project of first-class Progressive Power Metal inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, video games and more.

A husband-and-wife duo comprised of multi-instrumentalist Jason Lee Greenberg and vocalist Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, known for the 2014 self-titled album by Orisonata, Houston, Texas-based Progressive Power Metal entity Flame Imperishable is ready to take the world of heavy music by storm with their debut opus entitled Glory and Ruin, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, Brandon Sanderson, video games and more. Produced and engineered by Gregg Rossetti of Suspyre, who also plays saxophone and keyboards, and is responsible for the orchestrations in the album, Glory and Ruin is highly recommended for fans of Blind Guardian, Opeth, Epica, Nightwish and Ghost, with each one of its songs presenting either a heroic literary figure or a very tragic soul destined for a path of ruin.

Acoustic guitars ignite the opening tune The Halls of Waiting (Oblivion), where Jennifer beautifully declaims the song’s lyrics (“Broken, treachery, a given promise kept / of changing and of shifting shape / Thereby the snare was set / Revealed the truth of where / his companions lay / and thus his kinsmen found / their final resting place”) amidst an imposing and progressive sonority, whereas investing in a more direct, metallic sound we have Frozen in Time, with Jason doing an awesome job with his riffs and beats accompanied by the classic keys by Gregg in a first-class fusion of Symphonic and Progressive Metal. And the couple keeps delivering epicness and intricacy in Slavebranded, showcasing their more Dream Theater-ish side with hints of Opeth while keeping a more direct, vibrant vibe, followed by Shrine of Resurrection, featuring bass lines by Gregg and sounding a lot less metal or intense than its predecessors, but still very melodic thanks to the great job done by Jennifer on vocals. Then the whimsical, melancholic sax by Gregg in the interlude Bregalad’s Lament sets the stage for The Herald’s Approach, with a guest guitar solo by Drew Creel (Masqued) and another round of their magical lyrics (“Surrender the light / In the midst of ruin, defy / The silent watchmen of lies / Broken promises shattered inside”) while Jason and Gregg make a dynamic duo with their respective riffs and sax.

Flammable riffs by Jason and the futuristic keys by Gregg ignite the Symphonic and Progressive Metal feast titled Reign of Fire, also presenting a sick guitar solo by Drew, where once again Jennifer fires her fusion of operatic and metallic vocals for our total delight; whereas The Scarlet Gale (Part 1: Darkness Falling) will prepare our souls to the sound of the acoustic guitars by Jason and Jennifer’s whimsical voice for the 12-minute aria The Scarlet Gale (Part 2: The Descent), featuring male vocals by John Yelland (Judicator, Dire Peril, Principium). It’s an exciting musical voyage alternating between ethereal passages, sheer heaviness and climatic moments where John and Jennifer make a fantastic vocal duet while Jason is a machine of progressiveness, also presenting elements from the music by early Nightwish, Dream Theater and Opeth with the band’s own twist, therefore resulting in a metal opera that will please all fans of the genre, flowing into the closing tune The Scarlet Gale (Part 3: Reflection), a delicate, melancholic outro featuring the stunning classical guitar by guest Valerie Hartzell that puts a beautiful ending to the album, mesmerizing us all until the very last second.

“I fully devoted myself to studying and pursuing classical guitar. In getting back to writing metal music, it was a blast incorporating newly learned classical composition techniques, approaches to counterpoint melody, as well as baroque and romantic styled themes into heavy metal,” commented Jason about his approach in crafting the music found in Glory and Ruin, and it’s indeed a fun experience noticing all those nuances in each and every track of the album. Hence, don’t forget to give Jason and Jennifer a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream their creations on Spotify, and above all that, purchase a copy of their new album directly from their BandCamp page to keep the flames of Progressive Power Metal burning for all eternity.

Best moments of the album: The Halls of Waiting (Oblivion), Slavebranded and The Scarlet Gale (Part 2: The Descent).

Worst moments of the album: Shrine of Resurrection.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. The Halls of Waiting (Oblivion) 9:12
2. Frozen in Time 4:39
3. Slavebranded 6:00
4. Shrine of Resurrection 5:13
5. Bregalad’s Lament 2:52
6. The Herald’s Approach 5:32
7. Reign of Fire 4:44
8. The Scarlet Gale (Part 1: Darkness Falling) 2:21
9. The Scarlet Gale (Part 2: The Descent) 12:53
10. The Scarlet Gale (Part 3: Reflection) 2:57

Band members
Jennifer Greenberg – vocals
Jason Lee Greenberg – guitar, bass, drums

Guest musicians
Gregg Rossetti (Suspyre) – saxophone, keyboards, orchestrations, bass on “Shrine of Resurrection”
Drew Creel (Masqued) – guitar solos on “Reign of Fire” and “The Herald’s Approach”
John Yelland (Judicator, Dire Peril, Principium) – male vocals on “The Scarlet Gale (Part 2: The Descent)”
Valerie Hartzell – classical guitar on “The Scarlet Gale (Part 3: Reflection)”

Album Review – Orisonata / Orisonata (2014)

Beautiful vocals, superb saxophone solos, classical guitar, jazz, piano and many other elements make this Progressive Symphonic Metal album a very fresh and attractive alternative in the world of heavy music.

Rating4

orisonata-cover-artIf anyone asks you about Symphonic Metal, you automatically think of bands from countries like Finland, Netherlands, Italy, Germany or any other European country, but never of American bands, right? Well, that’s about to change with the self-titled debut album from American Progressive Symphonic Metal band Orisonata, a project by composer and guitarist, Jason Lee Greenberg, and his wife, vocalist Jennifer Grassman.

Orisonata can be compared not only to bands such as Nightwish, Within Temptation, Kamelot, Tarja Turunen and Blind Guardian, but also to the progressive musicality from Dream Theater and even to the Pop/Rock from Evanescence, Sarah Brightman and Muse. And the band was able to generate that high quality mix of classical guitar, jazz, and heavy music in a very solid and professional way, which in my opinion is the biggest strength of this project: being so diverse without losing their value proposition. In other words, Orisonata deliver what they promise, which is some very creative and unique heavy music.

And as the music is what really matters here, let’s get down to it. The album might have only 7 songs in total, but together they are responsible for over 50 minutes of music, highlighting the band’s progressive vein. The first track of the album is also the longest one: with almost 9 minutes, Journey to the Center of the Earth is a pleasant Heavy Metal voyage the likes of Nightwish, with amazing saxophone solos, changes in tempo, breaks and everything else you want to see in a progressive heavy song. Then come Once And Future King, a very progressive tune with interesting riffs and guitar solos, and The Great Baptism, a song that mixes the sonority of Dream Theater and Tarja Turunen in a way that would make both band and artist very proud of Orisonata.

The following track, Unholy Creation,  can be considered the most Heavy Metal one of the album with its fast drums, heavy riffs and many hints of Nightwish from their Oceanborn times, accompanied by the amazing piano from jazz artists Pamela York. Furthermore, the vocals and lyrics fit the song perfectly, making it the best track of the album in my opinion.

Oath Breaker keeps the energy level up with the great singing done by Jennifer, together with some awesome solos and music variations, while Robin Hood offers us more delightful saxophone solos amidst pure Symphonic Metal. The album ends with the beautiful ballad The Muses, a very “medieval” tune with highlights to the amazing contribution by Cynthia Butler on flutes.

orisonata-jennifer-grassman-photo-by-laughlin-photographyRegarding the lyrics, they’re all based on literature, legend and ancient mythology, and remind me of some old Nightwish songs such as “Sacrament of Wilderness” (you can check the lyrics from Onisonata’s “Unholy Creation” in the video at the bottom of this review), and in terms of the album art, it is also very well-done and matches with the album’s proposal and musicality.

And finally, all musicians involved in this project are extremely talented, but we have to salute the couple Jason and Jennifer for their brilliant work with all instruments and beautiful operatic vocals, respectively. Although they’ve been on the road for quite some time and won many awards for their previous music creations, it’s amazing to see the amount of passion they still have for composing new material. Besides the “dynamic duo”, I would say the most important piece of the music found in Orisonata are the stunning solos by world-renowned classical saxophonist Todd Oxford. What this guy does with his saxophone is unbelievable and adds so much value to the music that it’s hard to imagine any of the songs without it.

So far, the album as had a soft release on CD Baby and on Orisonata’s official website, but will shortly be available through Amazon, Spotify, and other major retailers, and you can also check more information about the band on their official Facebook page and on Twitter.

Of course, the band has yet a long way to go and only time will tell if they’ll succeed or not, but two lessons can already be learned from Orisonata: for all other independent bands in the world, this is the level of work, professionalism and creativity you need to put on your music in order for it to be successful, otherwise you’ll be just “one more band” in the market; and for heavy music lovers, Orisonata show how good the indie scene can be and that we should support it as much as we can if we want to keep the flame of Heavy Metal alive.

Best moments of the album: Journey to the Center of the Earth, Unholy Creation and Oath Breaker.

Worst moments of the album: Once And Future King.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Journey to the Center of the Earth 8:42
2. Once And Future King 6:35
3. The Great Baptism 8:04
4. Unholy Creation 7:18
5. Oath Breaker 5:01
6. Robin Hood 7:55
7. The Muses 5:07

Band members
Jason Lee Greenberg – all guitars & instruments
Jennifer Grassman – all vocals

Guest musicians
Todd Oxford – saxophone
Wade Vandesande – bass on “Oath Breaker”
Brad Shearhart – bass on “Robin Hood”
Pamela York – piano on “Unholy Creation”
Cynthia Butler – flutes on “The Muses”
Marco Bayarena – synth solo on “Journey to the Center of the Earth”