Album Review: Razia's Shadow: The Musical a creative compilation

Last month, Razia's Shadow: The Musical was released online, and later on CD, by the indie-alternative band Forgive Durden.

The epic album is a multi-track musical that features guests from similar bands playing various characters throughout the saga.

The first track, "Genesis," unfolds the story of an imaginary world gone amiss since its creation by O the Scientist, characterized by Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter.

O's creation, Ahrima, (Thomas Dutton of Forgive Durden) an inspired but frustrated angel, creates lamps to give light to the world and show O that he needs to respect him.

The operatic song "Life is Looking Up" shows a masterful compilation of the music on the album. Complex lyrics and an even more complicated piano score create a wonderfully uplifting song. Dutton's voice stays true to his assumed character, as is the case with all of the other singers.

Perhaps the most menacing of the characters in this tragedy is Spider, portrayed by Max Bemis of Say Anything. In the past, Bemis has attempted to write songs with story-like structures for his band's albums, but he has never been so fully in character as he is in Razia's Shadow.

Spider convinces the impressionable Ahrima to tear down his lamps, creating darkness again and empowering evil. Forgive Durden uses the power of the piano and the full chorus of artists to their advantage, mastering the conniving Spider's essence.

The world can only be reunited through the fulfillment of a prophecy of two star-crossed lovers of the Light and Dark, the Prince of the Darkness Adakias (Dutton) and Princess of Light Anhura (Greta Salpeter of The Hush Sound) who sing their reverie in "It's True Love" before Anhura becomes ill.

Since Adakias represents darkness, his presence makes Anhura ill, and the only cure is found in Doctor Dumya (Shawn Harris of The Matches) who says he can keep her from dying but only by having her remain in his possession.

The unforeseen ending comes when Adakias' brother Pallis (Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco), heir to the throne of evil, tries to kill the princess but inadvertently kills his brother in "The End and the Beginning."

Other impressive guest appearances include Chris Conley of Saves the Day as Toba the Tura and Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou as the narrator.

Due to the multiple musicians and sounds that Razia's Shadow: The Musical makes use of, it is difficult to determine what the quality of a live version would be.

If it is possible to get the necessary more than a dozen people together and the group manages to successfully maintain the integrity of the orchestral sound, the concert could definitely be momentous event.