Caamora- She

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, September 20, 2009

Caamora was formed back in 2005 as a collaboration between Clive Nolan and Agnieszka Swita and almost immediately after creating the group the two began working on a rock opera version of H. Rider Haggard’s novel She. This undertaking would end up taking almost three years to complete, but the resulting effort is over two hours in length and available on CD and DVD. The CD version is spread out over two discs, and while it would certainly help to read the novel (or at least a story synopsis) before diving into this release if you are a fan of rock operas or progressive rock in general She is worth picking up.

As this project came to life Nolan and Swita got a lot of other musicians involved, meaning that the final performance sounds as epic as listeners might expect. The overall style of She is that of your typical rock opera, but some of the scenes throughout each act also falls into the realm of progressive rock/neo prog and even power metal at times. However, it is worth mentioning that power metal isn’t really the dominant style as there are only a few moments here and there where the tempo speeds up and the guitar riffs become much louder. The majority of the opera has a traditional neo-prog/neo classical vibe to it that is similar to what a lot of the well regarded bands in the genre offer on their albums, though the instrumentalists that contribute to Caamora do the style justice. In order to fully experience She listeners are really going to need a decent chunk of time, as the overall play time of this effort is a little over two hours in length and trying to experience it on a song to song basis doesn’t work very well. But if you take in the 2-disc set as a whole and really pay attention to the instrumental arrangements that make up the entire show, chances are you will come away impressed.

If you haven’t read the novel She or at least gotten a general synopsis of the story, it is highly recommended that you do so before checking this CD out as otherwise you may not get that much out of it. But if you have, you will likely come to the conclusion that the various vocalists that tell this tale have done the original story justice. As you may expect, Agnieszka Swita is given the spotlight throughout many of the scenes and this is certainly a positive element as she has a very melodic and powerful singing voice. The other vocalists that contribute to She also do a good job, but they don’t always sound as natural as Swita which is a little unfortunate. But overall, the performances on this disc are well done and listeners are sure to find that this is one of the better rock operas they have heard in recent memory.

This rock opera was a massive undertaking for this duo, but all of their hard work appears to have paid off as She is a performance that is not only epic but enjoyable to listen to. As I mentioned earlier, you’re going to need the time to listen to it in its entirety due to the fact that the songs don’t work too well when taken on an individual basis, but if you do have about two free hours and enjoy a lot of progressive rock and rock operas then don’t hesitate to check this out. Hopefully She doesn’t mark an end to Nolan and Swita’s collaboration as I would like to see what else they are capable of putting out.

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