Xandria - Sacrificium (2014)

While most of female fronted symphonic metal bands are well remembered by their singer, Xandria are not. During their productions, the Germany band already rolled four singers. If you love their previous recording, Neverworld's End, where in that album the singer produced a Tarjarian era of sound, in this new album "Sacrificium", the operatic voices are bit of scale down. Indeed, Xandria once again need to build up their sounds with new singer, this time it fall unto Dianne Van Giersbergen's shoulder. In her resume is a Master degree in classical singing, specialized in aria, formerly sing in the band Ex Libris and so on. The most significant changes on Sacrificium is the band does not laid their music on the template of Oceanborn or Century Child anymore, both respectively Nightwish's album of course. Instead the band try hard to redefined their original sounds. This time the sounds moves on to general symphonic metal in the vibes of Epica. Coincidentally, Sacrificium is face to face challenge to Epica's The Quantum Enigma both released this month,  similar case happened two years ago.

The album immediately starts with "Sacrificium", a ten minutes operatic metal composition. It is full of dramatic song with lots of choir layer, orchestration and stormy drumming. Soon it is confirmed that Dianne's voice, although not as operatic as Manuella (their previous singer), is flawlessly fit into the style. By this song, the band literally moves on from Nightwish to Epica, if you need an analogy. Move on to "Nightfall", the arrangement of choirs as intro is their best formula. Nightfall build up their song writing from calm verses to bombastic choruses. "Dreamkeeper" as usual is the album's third track that usually serves as contrasting point. The vibes slow gothic-ian tempo is utilized in this song. Benefit of Dianne's flexible voice to switch into 'classic gothic' style made the changes easily flows from their heavy mode to ballad mode. This song invited us to their fourth track, "Stardust", which is a minor power metal feel song. My favorite track actually. "The Undiscovered Land" is slowest track, a moving ballad. "Little Red Relish" contained some folk metal ala Sabaton. In this song we can examined closer to Dianne voices. The same folk elements also found in "Temple of Hate". The album close with a sweet violin and piano ballads, "Sweet Atonement".

I've mentioned that the album pretty close to what Epica's doing, but there are major differences. First, the female voices are exclusive in Xandria, meaning no other growling duet. Good news if you are old time power metal fans that did not enjoy modern crossbreeding. The other difference can be that Xandria played more traditional power metal, that closer to folk metal, rather than Epica's sounds which is progressive in nature. So indeed, they are quite two different bands in the core. Beside the singer, we also informed that bassist Steven Wussow is the new kid in the line up. The rest are members from the past. Sacrificium offered a large different set of music when compared to Neverworld's End. In this case the band build up more original sounds, fully supported by capable singer on board. A well composed symphonic metal album.

Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

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Xandria - Sacrificium (2014)

01. Sacrificium
02. Nightfall
03. Dreamkeeper
04. Stardust
05. The Undiscovered Land
06. Betrayer
07. Until The End
08. Come With Me
09. Little Red Relish
10. Our Neverworld
11. Temple Of Hate
12. Sweet Atonement

01. The Watcher (Bonus Track)
plus all instrumental version

Dianne Van Giersbergen – Vocals
Marco Heubaum – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Philip Restemeier – Guitar
Steven Wussow – Bass
Gerit Lamm – Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records

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