It takes something special to release one album and be noticed on a larger scale. But to follow it up with an equally acclaimed second effort without becoming drab is a plateau hardly reached by a “younger” band. After their debut 1975 Triptych was met with a lot of positive criticism throughout the prog world, M-Opus present their sophomore effort, Origins.
From start to finish Origins has a lot to offer. Some tracks have that bonafied symphonic prog rock feel and variety to them, while others hold an obvious nod to the earlier forms of progressive rock. The constant change of momentum throughout the album keeps it from becoming monotonous and dry. Given the time and effort put into the songwriting it’s easy to notice before right from the beginning that the trio comprised of Jonathan Casey (vocals, keyboards), Colin Sullivan (vocals, guitars), and Aran O’Malley (drums) have a lot of talent, and aren’t afraid to push the envelope.
The most important thing to mention would be the maturity M-Opus’ sound has gone through between their first release and Origins Overall, it’s become more balanced and rich. It should go without mentioning that every member of M-Opus, along with guest musicians, has a truckload of talent and imagination, but taking that and successfully putting ideas to sound without making it generic is something far more rare. Not one verse, chorus, bridge, intro/outro seems fake. Talent aside, Origins still has a lot to offer.
No song seems dragged out or sluggish, yet there’s no lack of variety either. Origins is a rollercoaster ride of emotion that never gets repetitive. Along with the solidity of the album as a whole, the feeling changes several times which keeps a fresh feeling throughout, and also raises the replay value significantly.
All said and done, this is an early treat in a year that will hopefully see many great prog releases. The production could suffer a bit more perfection, but aside from that there’s nothing else to complain about. The cover art is interesting, although somewhat bland, yet it portrays a lot about the undertone of every song in a different way. If you’re a fan of anything progressive I highly suggest buying this album. M-Opus is not a band to be taken lightly, and should be considered a threat to all the lackluster prog rock bands that are also trying to make it big.