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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Caamora

She (Metal Mind Productions)

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  She—a lavish two-CD set written by veteran British progressive rocker Clive Nolan and based on H. Rider Haggard’s 1887 Victorian-adventure novel of the same name—fits practically every definition of “rock opera.”

  The majestic, large-scale story of a white African queen who made herself immortal by bathing in a pillar of fire, She embraces themes of life, death, reincarnation, sexuality and fate via progressive-metal, symphonic-rock, classical-music and even borderline-pop motifs.

  By integrating multiple singers who engage in dynamic vocal interplay (including Nolan, Pallas’ Alan Reed, Magenta’s Christina Booth and newcomer Agnieszka Swita in the title role), a tight band of musicians that sound as if they’ve been playing together for years and, of course, a choir that swells at all the right times, She was bound to be pretentious and rather preachy. But it also is so impeccably performed, and loaded with catchy hooks and choruses, that it’s easy to overlook She’s pomposity.