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XANDRIA The Wonders Still Awaiting

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Wednesday, January 18, 2023 @ 7:59 AM


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XANDRIA
The Wonders Still Awaiting

Napalm Records (2023)
www.xandria.de




The last studio effort by German Symphonic Metal Act XANDRIA was 2017’s Theater of Dimensions. Not long after its release, the band began to fracture and fall apart. During the years that followed, XANDRIA guitarist and founder Marco Heubaum began rebuilding his creation.

With the arrival of 2023, so comes the arrival of a re-energized and reborn version of XANDRIA. Currently fronted by vocalist Ambre Vourvahis, and backed by top-notch musicians, XANDRIA is ready to unleash their 8th studio album The Wonders Still Awaiting on February 3, 2023.

What kind of world do you want to live in? That is the question posed on the pulse-racing, heart pounding opening epic “Two Worlds”. Heubaum and Klawonn’s driving guitar work and Garsios double kick drums keep things heavy, while the added choir vocals invoke haunting chills. The orchestral elements help the ever changing moods.

On “Reborn” the choir becomes more angelic and hopeful. The track acts as an anthem for the returning XANDRIA. Vourvahis’ vocals are melodic, at times operatic, and full of intensity. Human rights take center stage on “You Will Never Be Our God”. XANDRIA pulls back on the orchestral elements a bit, for a more straight-forward Power Metal feel. PRIMAL FEAR frontman Ralf Scheepers matches the passion Ambre has for the subject matter, with his signature guttural delivery.

On the album’s title track “The Wonders Still Await”, Ambre reminds us that in a world crashing around us, there still is beauty and hope out there if we want it. The tempo change in the middle of “Ghosts” is unexpected, and so is the death growl style vocal section. It’s as if Vourvahis had become possessed. “Your Stories I’ll Remember” is a compelling ballad full of sorrow and sentiment. The orchestral arrangements assist in adding texture, while also propelling emotions to the hilt.

Break-neck drum work leads the charge on “Illusion Is Their Name”. Ambre’s melodies go head to head with her death growls again as she laments about those in power pulling the wool over the world’s eyes. XANDRIA unleashes their arsenal of strings, pounding drums, assertive guitars, throaty growls, and melodic vocals on “Mirror of Time”. The thematic arraignments run the gamut from despair to hope.

Just as the album opened with an epic, it draws to its conclusion with one as well. On “Astéria” Ambre gives all that her impressive voice is capable of. She even sings a few lines in Greek. If you ever questioned why Vourvahis was picked to front XANDRIA, this song will put to bed all of your queries.

XANDRIA makes quite the impact with The Wonders Still Awaiting. The band silences all doubters with its impressive theatrical arrangements entangled with the heaviest of metal guitars and drums. The music is taken to another level with the intense mix of soft and fierce vocals courtesy of XANDRIA’s latest chanteuse Ambre Vourvahis.

Heubaum and his cohorts take ‘symphonic’ to another level with the added choir and pumped up orchestra. There are times throughout this epic where it sounds like the band is repeating itself, or going on a bit long, but it doesn’t take away too much from the enjoyment of The Wonders Still Awaiting.

4.0 Out Of 5.0


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