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CD REVIEW: XANDRIA – Fire & Ashes

| 24 July 2015 | Reply

2822755

Label: Napalm Records

Release Date: July 31, 2015

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I really dig symphonic metal.  I love when it is done right – the tempo and feel of the tracks always seem to get me amped up.  “Voyage Of The Fallen” kicks the latest from Xandria off, and this is some great symphonic metal.  The beats and tempo are on fire, the guitars and keyboards are cohesive, and the vocals from Dianne van Giersbergen bring the whole piece together.  “Unembraced” follows and the drumming from Gerit Lamm really keeps the song moving between verse and chorus.  The guitars (especially the solos at the bridge) and keyboards work in tandem to support the lofty vocals.  A cover of Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” is a killer version that highlights the vocals and the playing of band founder guitarist Marco Heubaum, when he duets with Giersbergen near the end of the track.  “Now & Forever” from the bands 2005 release India gets a revamped sound and vibe on this disc.  The bass from Steven Wussow packs a punch on the bottom end and helps fill the wall of sound.

“In Remembrance” is a beautiful original song that builds slowly from the opening until the guitars kick in at the bridge and deliver one of the more moving solos on the disc.  The vocals are beautiful and this song allows Giersbergen to stretch her vocal wings.  “Ravenheart” is a rerecorded version of the title track from the bands 2004 release.  Hearing the band on this song demonstrates how stronger a unit they are since recording Sacrificium.  The vocals are a bit more operatic and suit the vibe of the track better.  Disc closer “Don’t Say A Word” is a clever cover of the Sonata Arctica track that features lots of guitars from Heubaum and Philip Restermeier, as well as soaring vocals and a heavy rhythm section that anchors the track and wraps this disc with a killer chugging tempo.

Tracklisting: Voyage Of The Fallen – Unembraced – In Remembrance – I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) – Ravenheart – Now & Forever – Don’t Say A Word

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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