Album Review: Xandria – Theatre Of Dimensions

Artist: Xandria

Album: Theatre Of Dimensions

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Released: 27th January 2017

Track listing:

01. Where The Heart Is Home
02. Death To The Holy
03. Forsaken Love
04. Call Of Destiny
05. We Are Murderers (We All)
06. Dark Night Of The Soul
07. When The Walls Came Down (Heartache Was Born)
08. Ship Of Doom
09. Céilí
10. Song For Sorrow And Woe
11. Burn Me
12. Queen Of Hearts Reborn
13. Theatre Of Dimensions

Wow, where to even begin with this album? I recently became a Xandria fan so I had high expectations for this album after the release of the Fire & Ashes EP in 2015, and Dianne van Giersbergen certainly did not disappoint! This album is definitely their most experimental and magical album to date! I guess one way to describe the sound would be as a fusion of the orchestral sound of Epica and the theatrical elements of Nightwish. They really pushed their boundaries with this album, and it paid off! The album also features a strong lineup of guest artists from Soilwork, Firewind, Myrath and Van Canto appearing on a few tracks.

It’s difficult to choose a favourite track off the album because I was captivated from the first song. We Are Murderers (We All), features Bjorn Strid of Soilwork and might possibly be Xandria’s heaviest track to date! Not that that’s a bad thing though! This song is very angry, yet incredibly epic at the same time. Burn Me is another brilliant track that perfectly balances heavy and epic vibes! Another favourite of mine is Call of Destiny, which has a more stereotypical symphonic metal sound but still grabbed my attention. There’s something about the keyboard riffs that reminds me of Rhapsody of Fire (which is one of my favourite bands). The final track, Theatre of Dimensions, is a fantastic end to a brilliant album. It’s a much longer track than the others on the album, but it perfectly showcases the band’s diverse sound. This is probably the most theatrical track on the album, and I actually hope to hear more like this in the future!

The Theatre of Dimensions album is a masterpiece – there’s no doubt about that! I’d highly recommend this album to any symphonic metal fan!

J

xx

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My Top 10 Metal Albums From 2015

I actually had this post finished a while ago but forgot to post it! 2015 was a great year for metal, and many albums born in this year are some of my all time favourites. So without further ado, here are my top 10 favourite albums from 2015:

 

10. My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery

I’ll be completely honest, I’m quite new to doom metal, but I really enjoyed this album and it has gotten me into more doom metal. I fell in love with the overall sound of the album because while the lyrics and music are very deep and often dark, the music has a seemingly melancholic ambiance at the same time.

 

9. Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls

Who doesn’t get excited when a new Iron Maiden album is released? This album is overall beautifully composed as always and of course since hearing that Iron Maiden will be blessing our country with their presence this year, this album has had a greater impact on many of us South Africans than some of their previous albums (not that there has ever been an unsatisfactory Iron Maiden album!). Unfortunately it is obvious that Bruce doesn’t have the power in his voice that he used to have, but at least he’s not letting that stop him.

 

8. Stratovarius – Eternal

Before this album I honestly didn’t listen to Stratovarius much as I prefer Sonata Arctica’s sound (I have often heard the two being compared to each other), but this album may have converted me to a Stratovarius fan. The melodic and symphonic elements had me hooked from the first song. This album seems to be heavier than some of their other recent work, but it’s definitely a good change.

 

7. Ensiferum – One Man Army

This album was an excellent comeback after their slightly disappointing previous album Unsung Heroes, where I only enjoyed about half the songs on the album. There were quite a few negative reviews for this album, but I think that everyone is still just angry about Unsung Heroes and probably won’t let it go for a while. While this release isn’t as folkish (if that makes sense) as their previous albums it’s still a very good listen. It mostly features heavier songs with the catchy sing-along choruses that Ensiferum fans love. Definitely a staple album in any folk metal fan’s library.

 

6. Orden Ogan – Ravenhead

As a relatively new Orden Ogan fan, I was impressed by this album as it has stronger melodies and songwriting than To The End, the only other Orden Ogan album I really know well enough to comment on. This is also a great sing-along album with catchy choruses and typical power riffs.

 

5. Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Nightwish seemed to have lost their hype in recent years, but this album put them back on the map. New vocalist Floor Jansen (ex-After Forever) did an amazing job stepping out of her comfort zone and taking on the task of becoming the frontwoman of one of the once most loved symphonic metal bands in a very successful mission to revive them. Tuomas Holopainen is a musical genius and this album is the embodiment of perfection. It might even be his best work yet. Rumour has it that they will also be visiting South Africa this year and you can be sure that I will be right in front for this show!

 

4. Gloryhammer – Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards

Super cheesy power metal at its finest. This is one of those albums that I can listen to over and over again. While I know this type of music is not everyone’s cup of tea, this is definitely one of my favourite albums of all time. I love the weird and wonderful story that the album reveals about the epic adventures through the kingdom of Fife. This album is much more symphonic and epic than their debut album and has a possibly Rhapsody of Fire inspired sound.

 

3. Månegarm – Månegarm

One of the more recent metal releases, this one is still very fresh in my mind. I don’t think I have ever wanted to get my hands on a band’s entire discography after listening to one album before until I found this one. I had known about Månegarm for a while but for some reason never actually listened to them before this album. I regret not listening to them sooner because this album has me hooked! They might very well be one of my favourite bands now!

 

2. Powerwolf – Blessed & Possessed

Another great release from Powerwolf, but this one actually took a while to catch on. In the beginning I was not so impressed and complained a lot, but this really is an excellent release. Their fusion of operatic and “churchy” vocals and keyboards with power metal works absolutely perfectly. Powerwolf never fails to impress and I’m yet to find another band who does something even similar to what they do!

 

1. Korpiklaani – Noita

Naturally my favourite band is at the top of this list, but even though I always anticipate a Korpiklaani release, this album blew me away. It definitely exceeded my expectations in every way and is by far my favourite Korpiklaani album to date! This album definitely has more of a drinking song vibe than some of their other stuff and is amazing to sing along to (I would know! Seeing them live in September was the best day of my life!). Korpiklaani really is like wine, getting better and better with age. I’m excited to hear what they produce next.

 

Do you agree with my list? What are your favourite metal albums from 2015?

 

 

Don’t forget that the Metal Warriors Show returns this Tuesday, 5th January, 9-11pm (GMT+2) on The Grind Radio!

 

J
xx