Opium Denn’s ‘Demarkation’ is a well-crafted concept album with a unique style
In the new age of music where people seem to listen to their favorite tracks by their favorite artists on online streaming services, iTunes or YouTube, one thing that’s done is cut down on bands releasing concept albums, or an album, usually from rock bands, that feature songs fitting one particular theme or idea.
They’re still done, but not very often.
Enter the band Opium Denn, who’s taken the idea for a concept album and modernized it by producing nine music videos to accompany the 37-minute concept album titled “Demarkation.”
The album’s central idea, according to the official news release, is that it “tells the story of a life from birth to death…and back again.”
The release continues saying, “It’s been engineered with proprietary synapse-altering technologies that create a ‘letting go’ state of mind where the inner world of experience can be explored more freely than would be possible normally.”
To that end, the idea tends to work better on some songs than others. Just listening to the tracks without the videos, some songs sound like well-done rock tracks in the vein of Pink Floyd or Blue Oyster Cult, but the central idea is not immediately apparent.
A few of the songs, such as “I Am A Feeling No. 1” and “I Am A Feeling No. 2” feel similar to one another, but too much so. Listening to them back-to-back, I was unsure if I had already listened to the song when I heard No. 2, when in fact I haven’t.
“I Am A Feeling No. 3” differentiates itself nicely, although, and for my money is the best track on the album, along with the title track.
The ending of “I Am a Feeling No. 3” is haunting and majestic. It takes you on a musical journey that feels unique and powerful. It travels slowly but with a purpose.
One of more important elements of a concept album is making the songs fit well together and this album does that well. While some of the songs might come across as more abstract than others, they do have a cohesive feel to them. You don’t ever stop and say “now what is that song doing on this album?”
Each of the sections of the band work well together, too, which helps achieve that cohesive sound. Everything is mixed well together. The lead singer’s voice, in particular, has unique personality that you can’t quite define other than to say that it’s pleasing to the ear.
The pacing, particularly on the song “Leaf” is expertly driven. The band knows that they don’t need to go 90-miles-per-hour on every track in order for it to reach it’s goal. In fact, by slowing it down some, it makes the track feel much more contemplative and melancholy.
This album feels like expressive art done well. Even if you can’t follow the idea, you can listen to it and come up with your own ideas for what’s being expressed. That’s a sign of a good piece of music, in my view.
If you like bands such as King Crimson or Wigwam, you’ll enjoy Opium Denn especially. But, if you’re into high-concept music with well crafted songs, you’ll find something to dig here too.