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Pellek - "Ocean Of Opportunity" (CD)

Pellek - "Ocean Of Opportunity" CD cover image

"Ocean Of Opportunity" track listing:

1. Elucidation
2. Northern Wayfarer
3. Sea Of Okhotsk
4. Brigantine Of Tranquility
5. Gods Pocket
6. Stars And Bulletholes
7. Sky Odyssey
8. Transmigration
9. The Last Journey

Reviewed by on June 10, 2013

"t is easy to get lost in the vocal harmonies and symphonic elements, but this album is more than just a compliment to the musical acumen of PelleK, it is also a testament to the work of guitarist and producer Patrick Fallang..."

When PelleK decided to create a solo act and release an LP called “Bag of Tricks,” I thought it was a bit of a risk, considering the material was somewhat similar to his other gig Damnation Angels. As the year from that first release went by I realized Per Fredrik Asly PelleK simply cannot be contained. Anyone who follows the man on social media realizes that the magnitude of material already recorded (many of it covers) at such a young age – all of it astounding. From video game music covers to metalized version of Disney tunes to pop hits and fan requests, everything PelleK records at lightning pace sounds perfect and suddenly mainstream hits that metal heads would abhor become instantly respectable. With an eye towards solidifying this once solo project into a full-fledged and serious band, PelleK added established musicians and spent the last year (on top of all the rest) writing, recording, and perfecting “Ocean of Opportunity” – an album that has exceeded the brilliant “Bringer of Light” debut from Damnation Angels (finally released in the U.S. after what seemed like an eternity). With full orchestration and a conceptual idea about a municipal clerk turned nautical adventure seeker following the death of his true love, the independent release is among the elite released this year.

Describing the sound of “Ocean of Opportunity” in terms of comparison to like acts, it would be a combination of the symphonic mastery of Serenity with the slight modern edge dared by Sonata Arctica. This is in stark contrast to “Bag of Tricks,” a much more stripped down pseudo-euro power album. The opening intro of “Elicidation” shrieks of Serenity – it’s pomp instantly transports the listener to the times of tall ships and frilly laced puffy shirts. The overall feel is big and grandiose – lots of keyboard artistry from the man himself. Though “in your face,” the reliance on keyboard orchestration doesn’t swallow the guitar crunch. It is easy to get lost in the vocal harmonies and symphonic elements, but this album is more than just a compliment to the musical acumen of PelleK, it is also a testament to the work of guitarist and producer Patrick Fallang, a virtual unknown shredder adept at some impressive fretboard fingerplay.

The album’s title is a double entendre, as there is something for a large range of metal fans. Prog heads will enjoy tracks like “Sea of Okhotsk,” “Sky Odyssey,” and the closing opus “The Last Journey.” Speedy power metal fans will surely take to “Brigantine of Tranquility” and album favorite “Northern Wayfarer.” If you are looking for that Freedom Call type “happy metal” – then “Gods Pocket” will tickle your urges. Embedded throughout it all is memorable melody, sweeping orchestration, added nuances like layered harmony vocals, and the occasional flute and harmonica, which are unexpected additives that inject layers of excitement.

Oddly, any negative chatter surrounding PelleK seems to be related to image, with some labeling him a “pretty boy” who is more boy band and “not metal.” Somewhere along the way, many metal fans - old and new – have placed enormously high value on image, ironically, in a quest not to have one. I’m quite sure my rather portly balding image screams accountant rather than the tattooed lock flowing “warrior of metal.” In PelleK’s case, ignoring the music based on any pre-conceived notions is denying oneself the wealth of ambition and creativity in the music business unmatched by so many well established musicians. Forget about the fact that the man can play any instrument and produce albums on the same level as Charlie Bauerfeind or Jacob Hansen….the voice that illicits Beatles era teenage feminine shrieks from a live audience is one of the best in the business with a smooth, clear, and effortless range.

“Ocean of Opportunity” represents a significant step in making PelleK (the band) more than a side project. It’s not that “Bag of Tricks” was a bad release by any stretch, but the original intent was a collection of material written in PelleK’s (the man) youth. The sophomore effort, spawned by fan interest, caused the “doors of opportunity” to come a knockin’. What burst through was an “ocean of creativity,” eclipsing Damnation Angels for the moment and making an instant mark in the world of symphonic metal.

Highs: Multi-talented and ambitious PelleK orchestrates symphonic mastery.

Lows: If you aren't fond of Serenity style metal, plan to skip.

Bottom line: Fan interest caused "opportunity" to come a knockin'...forcing an "ocean" of symphonic creativity to flow.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)