Opera IX, who hails from some unidentified county locale between Milan and Turin, made a name for themselves in the '90s as one of southern Europe's upcoming metal groups. On this, their third full-length and first concept LP, they deliver the album that many thought they could make -- a brutal, epic record whose sound ranges from black to classic heavy metal. As with other Opera IX albums, the hook is the voice of Cadaveria, their female lead singer. It's no soprano wailing, as opera might lead you to believe, just grim, guttural howling. Truly vicious, she's one of the best frontwomen out there. The Black Opera Symphoniae Mysteriorum in Lauden Tenebrarum -- a heavy mouthful, but then again, it is a concept album. Cadaveria explains, "Lyrically this album is a magic and ritualistic journey into the sects of occultism described as an imaginary walk done by a spiritual warrior." Over the course of six songs, the warrior, led by Shaytan, the bringer of light, journeys toward supreme knowledge. Act one is the departure; Act two is the first evocation; in Act three he encounters evil and sex; the warrior communes with his astral spirit in act four; and in acts five and six he consolidates his new powers and offers a last evocation. OK, so that's not terribly interesting but something could be lost in translation. Either way, Opera IX still rocks; as does their cover of "Bela Lugosi's Dead," which rounds out the album. Unfortunately, Cadaveria and drummer Flegias left the band in 2001 to form Cadaveria, which means this could be the last really good Opera IX album.
AllMusic Review by Brian Whitener