Melted Space - Darkening Light album review

Ensemble cast unite for Frenchman’s third album

Melted Space - Darkening Light album artwork

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

What’s in the water – or beer – on mainland Europe? In Holland you’ve got workaholic Arjen Lucassen, famed for bringing together millions of musicians for his many Ayreon albums, and in France you’ve got Melted Space’s Pierre Le Pape. His third full-lengther under the Melted Space moniker, Darkening Light, enlists talents from the likes of Sons Of Apollo, Dark Tranquillity and The Gathering – and many, many more – to create a prog metal opera that when it’s good, it’s really good. Part Nightwish, part Within Temptation, part, erm, Ayreon, the record juggles prog, metal and a keen a sense of brain-tickling melody. The Dawn Of Man (I’m Alive!) blends Megadeth leads, Dream Theater progressions and Jeff Scott Soto’s powerful vocals, while Regrets manages to somehow juxtapose nightmarish black metal gurgles with ethereal female vocals. It’s not all a triumph, though – Newborns, for example, feels a little corny as the theatrics whirl up. However, by the time the almost eight-minute finale Fallen World dissolves into Opeth brutality, you’re left feeling a little forlorn that you’re about to leave this odd yet somewhat endearing universe behind.

A writer for Prog magazine since 2014, armed with a particular taste for the darker side of rock. The dayjob is local news, so writing about the music on the side keeps things exciting - especially when Chris is based in the wild norths of Scotland. Previous bylines include national newspapers and magazines.