Not only did we get a new album from Delain early in the year but Xandria, too. This just keeps getting better. Xandria was also a band that I thought was done for, but unlike Delain, they didn’t completely split and get a bunch of new members.
Xandria did change singers again, bringing in Ambre Vourvahis. They were quiet for years, and it made me wonder where the band had gone. Until, surprise, they resurfaced, and now their new album is out. So what do I think?
I’ve said it before many times, but the whole sound this album has, it feels so mystic and when I hear this one, it’s like I’m travelling through space at lightspeed into another galaxy. I think that was meant to be the entire theme of this album.
It makes me contemplate what life lies out there among the stars. I’ve always believed in aliens, don’t judge me, so I like this song already. It’s a good intro and it’s also very progressive. It’s a fresh sound to indicate a new era of the band with Ambre taking the lead. Oh how we all missed you, Xandria.
Here we are, this track was the first single that introduced us to Ambre’s beautiful voice, the opera side of her voice really shines here. It’s a powerful song and it was the perfect choice for the first single to indicate that Xandria is back once again after years of silence.
I like to imagine this song is about rising up again after falling down from a failure, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, as they say. I will not give up, and I will not stand down, oh man, I have a strong desire to sing along to this one if I ever see this band live.
You Will Never Be Our God
I wasn’t sure what to think of this one, features Ralf Scheepers from Primal Fear, my friend knows that band better than I do so I don’t have much to comment on that. It’s not a bad song though, it has plenty of strong moments like the chorus, for instance, is really good.
So who will never be our god? Who knows, anyway, I think this one is growing on me so I need to give it some more time. I didn’t expect Ralf to have such harsh vocals since that’s not something I listen to regularly, it made me wonder who was doing that on the two previous tracks if not him. Oh well, decent song.
The Wonders Still Awaiting
Absolutely beautiful for the title track! It has such a mysterious vibe to it and it’s so easy for me to think about the Horizon universe when I listen to it: the machines, the tribes, everything. Why’s that? Because there’s so much to learn as I progress, leaving the Sacred Lands learning more and more about the world and its past alongside Aloy.
If a song can do that to me in my imagination where it transports me to another world, I love it. The chorus is so beautiful I want to sing along and this is where I came to really love Ambre’s voice. It’s not as heavy as some other tracks on this album, but that’s okay, it’s very melodic and I think it would sound amazing live.
And right back into the heavier sound, this one focuses on the guitars a lot. For a song called “Ghosts,” I was expecting something a little darker and melodic but that’s not the case with this one. Sometimes I have false expectations about certain song names, especially with symphonic metal bands.
Maybe that’s why this song didn’t cut it for me. Good guitar solo and piano after though, that’s one praiseworthy thing I can give it, other than that, not my cup of tea.
Your Stories I’ll Remember
I get some Nightwish vibes listening to this one, it’s a beautiful song. I consider it to be the ballad of the album, songs like these need to be played live more often. One of those makes the audience wave their arms in the air from side to side along with the singer during the song. I will do that and keep my phone in my purse any day.
The piano is really on point and it’s something I imagine like I am walking through a forest on a starry night. I love it and when it changes key in the final chorus, it sounds even better.
My Curse Is My Redemption
Sometimes these songs can be hard to review when they’re longer than four minutes which is what the majority of this album is like.
When I listen to this, it’s like an Evanescence song that isn’t about death, but about redemption instead. It’s a good song for driving down the highway no matter what time of day it is, as long as traffic is moving, otherwise it doesn’t fit. Solid song, I don’t love it but it’s pretty good.
Illusion Is Their Name
I was actually hoping this song would be on the slower side of things but it wasn’t. It was definitely not what I expected, a lot heavier with the two types of vocals present. The growling is probably what turned me off, did you know that it can be bad for your voice to do that? Ah oh well.
Not for me, but the chorus is decent.
Another song with the word paradise in it that I enjoy. Not as much as the one from Delain but this is still a lovely song.
I don’t know what else to say other than that but I seem to enjoy symphonic metal songs that move at a medium tempo like this as its predecessor was too fast and had too much of the growling in it so this is a nice refreshing track to give me a break from the harder stuff. The piano is beautiful too.
Mirror Of Time
Remember when I wrote my review for Delain’s album and said I didn’t like the song Mirror of the Night, well that’s funny because this song I actually do like and it has the word “mirror” in it. That’s quite a coincidence. Songs in these particular keys I always enjoy the most.
It’s also the second-longest song on this album! As I said, this album is quite progressive and this one doesn’t overdo the growls too much. It’s like what Epica does, which I’m used to, so it just needs time to grow on me.
This is the shortest song on the album and yet nothing here is under four minutes. It’s almost like it’s trying to be a ballad but… wait a minute is Ambre trying to growl with her voice? I have nothing against women doing that, but this is going to sound biased, I prefer it when she sings cleaner because I can’t sing growls and I would not even bother trying to do that, but that aside it’s just a matter of personal preference of what makes a symphonic metal song good to me.
So perhaps I have been misinterpreting this the whole time. I thought it was someone else in the band, but it’s actually her. Anyway, this is a decent song, but if I had to choose between this and “Your Stories I’ll Remember” I’ll pick the latter.
The Maiden And The Child
Another unexpected sound from this one, but I shouldn’t set my expectations too high. It sounds a little too similar to its predecessor except its duration is slightly longer.
It’s pretty fast and mysterious, at some point it does give that ethereal vibe but I am not in love with it.
We opened with a long track and now we shall close with another.
It has a very folk-like beginning before it gets to the core of the metal sound. This was actually the most difficult song to share my thoughts on because of how long it is. It makes you wonder if I was listening to a Dream Theater, how would I cover songs that are up to forty-five minutes long? Perhaps I should ask my friend who likes that band who also said he wanted to bring his blog to this platform.
Anyway, when I listen to this, it doesn’t sound like it could be a good finisher. I still like Two Worlds better if we’re strictly talking the two longest songs on this album. This one does have a great guitar solo though.
My final thoughts are, this is a decent album, I didn’t love it as much as Delain’s Dark Waters, and now that I realize that Ambre was doing everything in the vocals from regular, opera and growls, it makes me love her even more. I may not be a massive fan of growling vocals (I mean I like Mark Jansen in Epica but that’s about it), but we women can do anything men can do so hey, total respect right there.
My favourite songs are:
The Wonders Still Awaiting
Your Stories I’ll Remember
Mirror of Time
Not a bad album at all, even I didn’t enjoy it as much as their last one, it’s still pretty good. I felt like a lot of songs sounded the same to me, but I rest my case.