Black Fortress Of Opium have crafted a weighty work with Stratospherical. The record opens ominously with “Blood Diamond”. The song features dynamic guitars* and bombastic drums supporting Ajda The Turkish Queen’s haunting voice. We stay immersed in this Led Zeppelin meets Siouxsie And The Banshees world on “Afyonkarahisar Battle Cry”, this time adding mandolin and a melodic bass line to the mix. “Blind” brings lush vocal harmonies to the fore.
Stratospherical branches out a bit at its midpoint. “Right Around Here” parts the dark skies with an indie-pop arrangement that would be tagged as upbeat were it not for the subject matter. The melody and vocal treatment make Ajda sound like an in-tune Liz Phair. Tony Savarino drops a timeless guitar solo into “Southern Hymnal”. “Cherry Blossom” has a killer swampy guitar riff at its core. The acoustic “Get The Timing” has an open feel that stands out among the otherwise dense production.
The album closes with “This Dark Clovd”. The song returns to the same exotic place that launched Stratospherical. We leave as we came, awash in a sea of swirling guitars and enchanting harmonies.
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* Check out the cool “Paranoid Android”-esque guitar line at the 2:38 mark. Awesome.