Album Review: “Theater Of Dimensions” by Xandria

15578479_10154323610840889_4576199446702677479_nToday’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?

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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!

Sisters Of The Light

I listen to a lot of music. Something you can always picture me buying is rock music. We know this already, but I’m not just an “all male band” lover. I love when the girls can get ugly in people’s faces just as much as the guys and yet look and sound beautifully. Since 2009, when I officially got into rock music, I got introduced to Flyleaf and Paramore. Both bands were off the hook, but something I liked with both bands. Besides Hayley’s hair, she really had some pair of lungs on her and the lead singer of Flyleaf, Lacey can scream like the rest of these guys. Except the difference with the females is the octaves they bring and they sound less freighting. Until one day, I had the guts to listen to Lacuna Coil. Lacuna Coil is in the genre of rock music that I really love, which is Symphonic Rock. Which takes classical instruments and heavy guitar riffs and drums and puts them together. I love how it sounds. When I first heard about what the genre was called, I went looking for even more bands and I was pleased with what I found.

Lacuna Coil, was one of the first bands I got interested. I had just started to listen to Sirius XM Octane and they had been playing a few songs from them like, “Spellbound” and “I Won’t Tell You” and after I heard these two I instantly become hooked to them. At that time, I was still using Playlist. I looked up even more songs by them, and found out they had been around for a while. Which made me feel bad since I discovered on them so late, but it’s what I’m known for actually. After them, I started listening to Evansecence and Flyleaf even more. Then my heart said, look up more bands. I did. I found Nightwish, Within Temptation, In This Moment, and Xandria. There were a few others but those just didn’t seem to click with me. These bands definitely won me over. Out of all of them, In This Moment is probably my second favorite after Lacuna Coil. Maria has some lungs, she doesn’t even sound human, but it works. She’s such a good screamer, I love her in the song, “The Promise” I am seriously addicted to that song. I’m listening to another one of their songs and she just did a big scream. Ahh! I love it!

Here’s some of my favorite songs from all these bands I’ve listed. Hope you enjoy! ❤
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFW03dcdeKA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTT6picaCoQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-rAuaSoSNk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLz61g0JLxQ&feature=fvst

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6JW5IFppYE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt15R_Vqix0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGKDuD91XHY