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Amadeus Awad - "Death Is Just A Feeling" (CD)

Amadeus Awad - "Death Is Just A Feeling" CD cover image

"Death Is Just A Feeling" track listing:

1. Opia
2. Sleep Paralysis
3. Monday Morning
4. Tomorrow Lies
5. Lonesome Clown
6. Temporary

Reviewed by on September 28, 2015

"[The album] strips you of the boundaries that you place upon revealing your own feelings and forces them out in order to learn and benefit from the experience."

It seemed like it was just a matter of time before the Lebanese “Arjen Anthony Lucassen” – Amadeus Awad – would collide with the man himself. With Lucassen involved you can be sure Anneke Van Giersbergen quickly follows. Three of the most talented musicians in the world combine in what can only be called a complete progressive masterpiece. The byproduct “Death is Just a Feeling” is both emotionally draining as it is breathtaking beauty. It is an album born out of unfortunate circumstances emoting from Awad’s real life, partly derived from the divisive situation in his home country of Lebanon.

In contrast to what we heard with “Book of Gates” in 2014, “Death is Just a Feeling” is a soundscape journey into lost love, depression, and suicidal depths of despair channeled through an exceptional cast of musicians. A true masterpiece can only be written through personal experiences and the pain on “Death is Just a Feeling” is more than just felt, its overpowering. You won’t find any blasting riffs with Russell Allen as your pharaoh here, only melancholy atmosphere. You can’t escape the pain. The music is as captivating as any Pink Floyd album you can name…and that’s not said lightly.

Pain and sorrow drown in the gorgeous pensive music, which is produced and engineered with as much expertise as any Ayreon album you’ve heard – a credit to both Awad and Brett Caldas-Lima. Van Giersbergen’s unique haunting tones come right out of the gate in "Opia," "Sleep Paralysis" and again on what really is Awad’s crowning progressive achievement "Lonesome Clown." When Anneke sings…its so hard to distinguish whether you are listening to Amadeus or Arjen – the music is that brilliant. The riffs underlying layers of grief striken melody and oriental tones are laced with heft. It’s truly a stunning musical achievement from a remarkable songwriter.

The desperate “Tomorrow Lies,” with its Pink Floyd meets Marillion atmospheric inflection and stunning vocals of Elias Monsef, seem to drift like a feather before fading into the devastating brilliance of “Lonesome Clown” – a 12+ minute composition that is much a cornerstone track as on any progressive masterpiece you can conjure up. Anneke’s peculiar charm seems to dive right into the song’s main riff – a monument in orchestration. After a draining five tracks, the closer "Temporary" seems to ring the sound of hope that we can overcome the darkest of times: "Boy, don't you dare to blame yourself for this, don't you know that it's all temporary, you, your face and all the pain, it's all temporary..."

For those who find progressive metal/rock overdramatic and wrought with instrumental wankery – “Death is Just a Feeling” might not find its way into your CD player or iPod. As a fan of too few of the classics and greats of the genre, your author can relate. However, knowing the back story of where this incredible music comes from and that it's emotion is more than just from musical instruments that overwhelms the senses. When it comes to Marillion, or Arjen Lucassen (in any form), or Devin Townsend…and yes Amadeus Awad – no one can listen and deny its pure beauty. I know Amadeus is a humble man, but regardless, his name can be spoken with the absolute greats of the genre, because it already is.

In a journey of pain and despair, which many people can relate to on this journey called life, “Death is Just a Feeling” touches on so many emotions – love, death, suicide. It is an album born from that pain and one which shares the deepest inner most feelings, many of which we are too embarrassed to admit. Its strips you of the boundaries that you place upon revealing your own feelings and forces them out in order to learn and benefit from the experience. When an album does this….you know it is quite remarkable.

Highs: Remarkable progressive rock/metal masterpiece that ranks among the classics in the genre.

Lows: Too much pain, emotion and progressive dreariness may just have some fans running for something positive and basic.

Bottom line: A modern Pink Floyd or Marillion, Amadeus Awad astounds in a story of love, death, and deep despair.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)