They decided to keep her. After going through six singers in as many albums, Xandria is sticking with that sixth singer, Dutch vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen, for their new and seventh album, Theater Of Dimensions. It's good to have steady employment.
Little needs to be said about Xandria's heavy metal style. Look up female-fronted melodic, symphonic, progressive power metal in the heavy metal dictionary and you will find Germany's Xandria. Among a host of others, such as Nightwish, Epica, or Sirenia, imitation isn't a form of flattery, it's a necessary attribute for these bands. It's a competition to see who can be more epic, bombastic, and outrageous while still trying to be somewhat clever and so not so imitative. Is it a treadmill or a vicious cycle?
Suffice to say, once more, Xandria pulls out all the stop to submerge you in their symphonic power metal universe. The orchestration is lavish and lush. Ms van Giersbergen's soprano vocals are soaring and operatic, and so difficult to understand, one of the Achilles's heels of female-fronted metal. Yet one of the best things about Xandria is that they don't spare or diminish the guitar solos; they're pretty awesome across the entire album.
The songs feature all these things, and Xandria tries to inspire you with some variety. In my case, where the songs are large on orchestration and operatic vocals, my interest sometimes diminishes. When The Walls Came Down, Death To The Holy, or Queen Of Hearts Reborn, by example, are simply text book examples of the genre, but very good ones at that. Alternatively, whilst having those elements, other songs have some interesting twists. Forsaken Love has this celtic folk entrance which moves into symphonic metal song with a strong rock groove, and Giersbergen's vocals are less operatic. Another, Call Of Destiny has all the choral and operatic vocals you could wish for, yet carries along like storming heavy power metal song, with a terrific guitar solo I might add. Similar is We Are Murders (We All), not quite as fast, but definitely heavy in riffs and orchestration that echo the lyrical theme. Another favorite was the three minute instrumental Ceili which combines melodic, symphonic, and folk themes with immense guitar solos. Perhaps, if only for Xandria, the most significant track is A Theater Of Dimension, where they merge the motifs of theater, opera, and film score in expansive and breathtaking proportions. The song puts them in the same arena as Nightwish's Imaginaerum.
Needless to say, Xandria's Theater Of Dimensions is as ambitious and entertaining as it is bombastic and outrageous. Xandria are masters of melodic and operatic symphonic power metal. Recommended.
Xandria's Theater Of Dimensions is as ambitious and entertaining as it is bombastic and outrageous. Xandria are masters of melodic and operatic symphonic power metal. Recommended.
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