Xandria – Neverworld’s End

Label: Napalm Records

Release Date: February 24, 2012

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by: ToddStar

I am not sure why I am so drawn to female fronted symphonic metal, but bands like Within Temptation, Nemesea, and Xandria are quite the constant spin in my rotation recently. Xandria brings a more operatic tone and voice to the mix, making it a strong addition to the genre. This disc was pointed out by a friend at Napalm (thanks Nathan). I like this so much, I have started my search for items out of their back catalog.

“A Prophecy Of World’s To Fall” is quite the undertaking to lead with on a disc, clocking in at over seven minutes, but it is worth every second. The musicianship, symphonic sounds, and vocals, especially at the end, leave you anxiously awaiting the rest of the disc. “Valentine” has great guitar work and really demonstrates the strength of new vocalist Manuela Kraller. The use of choral style backgrounds slightly detracts from the song, but not enough to skip through. “Forevermore” is another song that adds to the discs appeal, without standing on its own. I find it amazing how some of these songs seem to blend together, yet be individual. “Euphoria” adds to the mix with strong and emotional vocals. This is one of the tracks I find myself going back to time and time again.

“Blood On My Hands” has crunchy guitars and a solid rhythm section pounding their way through this song, as well as killer vocals and excellent use of a choral sound for background support.”Soulcrusher” keeps the train rolling. Again, the guitar work is excellent and adds to the track. Anything but self-proclaiming, this song seems to be the flight of the musical soul. “The Dream Is Still Alive” starts off exactly as you would expect, with dreamlike instrumental and vocals that seem like a lullaby. Manuela sings as if singing a child to sleep, but don’t be fooled, as this track is strong in its beauty and soft textures. “The Lost Elysion” brings things back to basics with one of the better guitar solos on the disc. The vocals of Kraller seem to lead the track, but are not overpowering.

“Call Of The Wind” has a bit of folk metal sound to it, making it my least favorite track on the disc. There is something about the song that doesn’t seem to fit in with the other tracks thus far on the disc. “A Thousand Letters” begins with music and mellow lyrics that make me wonder if the last song were an anomaly, but once the band kicks in and the vocals are dialed up a notch, I realize this song fits better to the rest of the disc. “Cursed” has the stereotypical big choral arrangements and symphonic sound, but doesn’t seem to make that climb over the top. “The Nomad’s Crown” closes the disc in great fashion, pulling out all the stops and laying down the gauntlet for all other bands of this genre. All of the vocals and musicianship come full circle on this track and set the stage for more great music from this band.

If you like your rock a little on the symphonic side, with a taste of opera and mysticism thrown in, this disc is for you. If you love music and want to try something new without all of the screaming and overtuned guitars of many of today’s metal acts, again, give this one a shot. Who knows, maybe we will run into each other looking for Xandria’s back catalog.

 

Xandria - Neverworld's End

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