Today’s album review is from a band called Xandria. I’ve been a fan of theirs since the end of 2011 I believe, so I’ve seen a lot of people come and go and heard a lot of amazing music for the last six years!
Xandria is a German symphonic metal band and they are made up of five members: Marco Heubaum and Philip Resemeier on guitars, Steven Wussow is on bass, Gerit Lamm plays the drums and Dianne van Giersbergen is the main vocalist. They released their new album called “Theater Of Dimensions” on January 27th, that day was a just good day of releases. I had a total of four albums and this won the chance to be review!
I’m basing my review off what it is Spotify, and they have both the Deluxe and Standard editions, but I’m only discussing the standard issue. Now let’s finally get into this, shall we?
If you’ve never heard a symphonic metal album, most of the bands will create a story within the actual album, so each song will contain a different section of the plot. I don’t think this is a concept album, but there is some kind of story telling throughout the record that I am still searching to figure out. The language that seems to be used in this album is what I’d call Old English, almost Shakespearean, hence the title of the album in general perhaps?
The first track has a soft introduction, the song is actually very beautiful! It is called “Where The Heart Is Home” and when I hear it, I think it has a good balance of soft and dramatic notes. I think Dianne’s voice just sounds angelic in this song! I can always get behind a song that is about seven minutes long! I think it’s a great, fairly tame start to the album.
Next is “Death To The Holy” and this was the song that reassured me that this album would be heavier than the last two albums. I’m not saying I didn’t like them, I do! I love them wholeheartedly, but I also love a heavier metal track too! I love the drum intro! I love the whimsical vibe you get throughout the song! It’s easy to stay on the beat as they arranged it, very catchy too! Dianne even sounds almost playful. I think that’s sort of unique to her because she has such a strong, powerful voice! The choirs sound amazing as always! I’m a sucker for choirs I really am! I am usually drawn to these types of songs for some odd reason! They just remind me of sailors, I know that probably sounds weird, but once you’ve heard multiple symphonic metal albums, you’ll understand why I say that!
I love the introduction of “Forsaken Love” it starts out with the villean pipes, which really bring out my interest in it. I love to hear anything with pipes, flutes, fiddles, and violins. Anyways, it’s a beautiful ballad. The next track is “Call Of Destiny” and when this was released at the beginning of January, I was secretly attached to it. I couldn’t get enough of it. Despite this, I find it a tad bit tame compared to their first single, “We Are Murders (We All)” when I heard this, I felt bummed, but now I like it and so much so that I included it into my Vikings Playlist on Spotify! I thought it fits in parts of the verses! There is a featured singer in that song, it is a Swedish singer Björn Strid of Soilwork.
The sixth track is “Dark Night For The Soul” and I really love the piano of this one. I think with someone like Dianne, been classically trained, this is where she really shines. Sometimes going simple can be a glorious thing, especially as a metal band in general. We’re so used to our heavy bangers and normal ballads, that some of us can’t appreciate softer ballads such as this one. It does have a guitar solo in it, but thankfully it isn’t obnoxious! I don’t normally care for guitar solos myself, but I think this one was very good! Marco and Philip have created some very gorgeous solos in the past I will say, so I do make exceptions every once in a while!
And then we have “When The Walls Come Down (Heartache Was Born)” and this one is a heavy track, the introduction has this ominous feel and then you suddenly hear the choirs and it’s very good! The next is “Ship Of Doom” and it has another soft beginning, but it very good. It’s another fantasy-like song, would probably be good on my Vikings playlist too, but I have like four of their tracks about sailing, so I’m going to hold out including it for now! Ninth is an instrumental called “Ceilí” and I was a bit shocked to see this, because they are not known to put this kind of track on an album mostly because they do not have a touring keyboardist. If they ever play it live, it would mostly likely turn up during intermission. It is a whimsical tune, very playful but also heavy in the guitars, so it’s a good mix.
The last four of the standard edition are next. We have “Song For Sorrow and Woe” and it is another slow start, but once the tempo increases you can kind of hear the horns, which can be sort of hard to decipher, but not here. Unfortunately I don’t really care for it, and even I’m surprised! It has everything that I usually look for, but it is an interesting song! Next we have “Burn Me” and this also features another singer, it is Zaher Zorgati of Myrath and this is another very tame song. I do like the duet between Dianne and Zaher, I think it is interesting dynamic since she’s so high and he seems to be more of a baritone.
I have a thing for unique introductions, I have a weakness for an acoustic guitar I think every person does, they just don’t want to admit it out loud. “Queen Of Hearts Reborn” has a quiet, but epic beginning and then it just erupts of sounds between the drums and guitars, they cut into Dianne’s high notes and she almost sounds evil in parts. I swear, I mean that in a good way! It brings out a new character for her. I could see this one becoming a favorite of mine! Lastly, we have the title track “A Theater Of Dimensions” and they are known for their final songs to be the longest of all the rest; this one does not disappoint, it is 14 minutes and 22 seconds long! The only bad part about it is the fact that it is really slow! Thankfully, it does gradually get better and becomes more intense as it goes on. It’s pretty good!
I love Xandria, I really do! I always look forward to their albums but I have to say, I just sort of felt let down in a way. I think it might’ve been the ballads or the way of speaking, sometimes that can be an issue with me. I do think it’s interesting and different, so I definitely can’t say I hate it, but rating wise I would give it a eight out of 10. I think the album is great, but not as amazing as “Sacrificium” but you can’t like everything.
Have you listened to Xandria’s “Theater Of Dimensions” yet? What did you think?