Album Review of
At the Mercy of Manannán

Written by Robert Silverstein
May 23, 2023 - 12:21am EDT
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Quite simply put, M-Opus are the best progressive rock band in Ireland today. To fit the global prog scene of today, of course they sing in English but on their new album they also feature a track in their native Gaelic. While M-Opus draws on the dawn of 1970’s era progressive rock, there’s also a kind of post-Beatles pop melodicism that appears at times. Lead singer and the band’s main composer and keyboardist Jonathan Casey scores superb and often melodic arrangements while his pointed, electric bass work also echoes the best contrapuntal styles of legendary rock bassists like Chris Squire and John Entwistle.

The 2023 M-Opus album, At The Mercy Of Manannán is filled with dynamic, memorable arrangements that highlights the excellent group interplay. On this current CD, M-Opus includes Jonathan Casey (vocals, keys, bass), Mark Grist (drums), PJ O'Connell (guitars), Colin Sullivan (guitars). It has been reported that James Dunne recently joined M-Opus on bass.

Casey, an established film and soundtrack composer in Ireland today, brings a flair for the dramatic to the modern prog of M-Opus and although he was born in 1975, his music often has a seasoned, professional flavor. Casey is also influenced by jazz-fusion and instrumental tracks like “Whirlpool” and the CD-closer “Carnavale” brings another edge to their music. The single on At The Mercy Of Manannán is called “Valley Of Elah” and it’s clearly one of the band’s best tracks to date. With At The Mercy Of Manannán, M-Opus personifies the finest spirit of prog-rock in the year 2023.