EP Review: “Fire & Ashes” by Xandria

Ever since I got into the whole EDM craze, I’ve noticed a decrease in my metal intake in a day/week. It’s sad that when I think I’ve found as much as I can in one, I move on to another genre. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll give up listening metal music completely, that’ll never happen! I love symphonic metal a lot! I spent a good five years exploring the vast amount of bands in both rock and metal that now I need to explore other genres. Now that I’ve said my peace about that, let’s get on with this review!

Xandria is a symphonic metal band from Germany, after Manuela Kraller’s departure Dutch singer of Ex Libris’ Dianne van Giersbergen took over the vocals for their album “Sacrificium” that came out in early 2014. When the news was announced that they were going to have a new singer, I was sad. I think it’s fair to say a lot of people were upset about it. After we as fans discovered that the new singer would be Dianne, I was a bit hesitant. I took a chance on liking Manuela, I didn’t want to be let down again. So I listened to Ex Libris a little and after two songs I kind of fell in love with her too! Now fast forward to summer of 2015, the release of their EP called “Fire & Ashes.” I honestly hate when symphonic metal bands do EPs because I always want more than five or in this case, seven songs.

The way they explained it on their Facebook band page was that on the EP the first three songs were brand new tracks, then they remade two of their older songs, they replaced their past singer’s voice with Dianne’s and to round it out they included two covers. All three of these new songs sound like a good continuance of their album.The first song is called, “Voyage Of The Fallen” and I am very different in this genre than I talk about with my other reviews. I always say I love a good slow start to an album or EP, but for bands such as these a big, powerful track will grab my attention more than anything. That’s how I became a fan to it in the first place was the giant production it seems to have in every song you hear. Dianne has a very powerful voice too, she makes everything sound great. It’s a nice balance between them! The next one is called “Unembraced” has a softer beginning, but grows as it continues on. This one isn’t as powerful, but I don’t mean that in a wrong way. It’s still beautiful with more of a gentle sound throughout. The third song is “In Remembrance” and I love the introduction, hell the entire song is just gorgeous! Gentle and simple, you honestly don’t want to hear anything too crazy if it’s with this title! It’s a beautiful metal ballad.

The first song they chose to redo was “Ravenheart” which was the single and album title that came out in 2004 with their former singer Lisa Middelhauve. Of course, I’ve listened to this song in its original context so I’m going to be pretty honest about it. Not much of it has changed, Dianne definitely didn’t change the dymantics to fit her voice range as much. It’s fairly soft in both songs. When new singers sing the older songs, they sometimes change little notes, make them higher or last a little longer and I have to say Dianne did not do that. The second song they redid with Dianne is called “Now & Forever” and it’s off of their album “India” that came out in 2005. This song has a more melodic rather than a pure symphonic sound to me. So the redo for this song is a little better, but I think Dianne and the guitars sound stronger in this version than the original. The first cover they did, I actually reviewed as a single because I honestly didn’t think I’d write the review for the EP. If you want to read what I thought of their cover of Sonata Arctica’s song “Don’t Say A Word” just click here. The first cover they decided to include is Meat Loaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) and I have to say, I’m not feeling it yet. Hopefully I’ll come around to it soon!

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