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Guest vocals by: Henning Basse (Firewind) track
13, Zaher Zorgati (Myrath) track 11, Björn Strid (Soilwork) track
5 and Ross Thompson (Van Canto) track 8.
Xandria caught my attention with the Sacrificium album (2014), with the chorus beast Temple Of Hate being the first song I heard with them, and I immediatly took on a liking for the classic, old school operatic metal forged in the same vein as the early albums by Nightwish, but a tiny bit more intense and with some rougher edges.
The brilliant dramatic soprano vocals by Dianne van Giersbergen give it most away, and especially in songs like Song For Sorrow And Woe, Call Of Destiny and Queen Of Hearts Reborn. They are strong, powerful and thick, yet with a great and smooth tone being very soothing to listen to. Absolute top class in the genre.
So far I have only worked my way through half of the band's back catalogue but I have clearly noticed that they have constantly taken steps in the right direction, and continue to do so, with the latest shift of vocalist being the icing on the cake, even though no shadow at all should fall on the previous singer Manuela Kraller.
It happens a lot in Xandria songs to make it a tad more interesting than your average symphonic and operatic band, and they incorporate a great deal of nice melodies and, again, great vocals from Dianne van Giersbergen. This album is also a little heavier in parts than before which is a nice touch which suits them well.
This album continues pretty much where the last two albums have left us, perhaps a bit more modest in tempo and intensity in a direct comparison, but with more diversity and dynamic. There are a couple of fillers to be found (We Are Murderers (We All) and Dark Night Of The Soul), meaning non-saying songs rather than bad, but overall they manage to hold an impressively good quality throughout the extensive playing time, as with the earlier albums.
It's a safe and solid purchase for the already initiated
fans, and something to start paying attention to for the as of yet oblivious
fan of this genre and especially the early works of the band that serves
as an obvious inspiration.