For some reason we just got our copy of last year’s five-song live EP debut of Opus Dai, which is weird, since their new disc is now out. Nonetheless, Actum Procul is a great introduction to this Los Angeles foursome’s prog-rock. Driving beats, serpentine riffs and hooky melodies combine to make an engaging sonic environment that seeps all the way into your brain stem.
For a live disc, the sound quality is suspiciously good, but hey, forty years into the overdub age, who really cares anyhow? I will say that they should have edited out the crowd rapport crap—what sounds and feels really cool in the context of a concert is often rather dumb on disc, and breaks the listener’s absorption. That’s my only quibble, though, so we’ll let it slide.
Opus Dai are already being compared to The Mars Volta, which I find a bit misleading and frankly, I prefer Opus Dai—they’re less tangential and psychedelic, and more straight-ahead, glorious hard rock. Opus Dai are amongst the new breed of proggers—their sound is fresh, and contrary to common prog stereotypes, there were no songs about wizards. Although, with their lyrical talent, they probably could pull it off without sounding 1983.
So, Actum Procul is the yummy appetizer, and I won’t be waiting on our copy of the new disc to arrive by snail mail—I’ll go get it myself.