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Opera metal

Mixing operatic vocal ranges with hard rock, Opera Metal is a unique style. The British band Queen is one of the better known exponents of this genre, exemplified by their world wide hit Bohemian Rhapsody.

Although most modern metal fans no longer take Queen seriously, the idea of mixing opera with metal is being explored in-depth within a small portion of the genre.

The primary influence of Opera Metal is the Power Metal genre created by Iron Maiden in the 1980s although a strong influence of gothic rock can be heard as well.

One of the first serious metal bands to hire an actual opera singer and orchestra was the progressive metal band Celtic Frost, on the album Into the Pandemonium. Many others experimented with the idea, but bands using full-time classical vocalists did not surface until the late 1990s. Modern examples are Nightwish, Tristania, Therion, Third and the Mortal, and Theatre of Tragedy.

Bands of this genre typically combine a female opera singer with a male vocalist using a more traditional heavy metal style. Some, such as Therion and Nightwish, hire full orchestras while others, such as Tristania, substitute keyboards for economic reasons. Most use a few classical solo instruments to add melodic complexity to their work.