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An oasis of light - 98%

extremesymphony, September 29th, 2010

What is regular heavy metal? Short songs, full of guitar riffs, straight to the point, with loud aggressive vocals. In the course of time, many diffrent elements like orchestras, synths, vocal melodies were also added to it. But regular heavy metal listeners mostly refrain from listening to irregular heavy metal. Which regular heavy metal listener ( I am talking about the gentlemen who listen to thrash or traditional heavy metal ), would dream of listening to a female fronted symphonic metal band which also uses feather light orshestra in the background? There have been very few or I'll say no record which manages to be melodic using symphonic elements and female vocals, but manages to be pure heavy metal. But this particular band and particularly this album of theirs manages all those things perfectly.

Among the individual performances, once again the star of the show is Lanvall. Apart from the fact that he siglehandedly wrote all the songs for the album and that all of them sound amazing, his lead work in the album is totally fantastic. The notes practically flow into one another. All of the solos are technically challenging, yet they are melodic and sane. His riff work in the album is some of the best I have seen in any symphonic metal album. The riffs are heavy, as heavy as they were in any XYZ Kreator or Bathory album. As always, Sabine sounds superb on this record. Her voice sounds the same, melodic with a superb range, yet not sounding insanely operatic as is the case with many female singers in heavy metal today. The drumming is quite technical and sounds great. The production is superb, really hands down.

So we start the album with a minute long symphonic intro. The orchestra sounds brilliant, not like thousands of crap European bands whose use of orchestra makes the music fluffy and comical. Next Shadowplay is fast, with heavy riffs, it can't make much mistakes. The chorus of this song is really brilliant. Paramount is a bit slower, but the chorus is even better compared to the former song. Undying Devotion has nice interplay between orchestra and guitars which is also one of the highlights. Adamantine kicks up the ass as it picks up pace swiftly. It slows down for the chorus, where excellent orshestral melodies coulpled with a choir is used. Whale Rider is the ballad of the album, no guitars, but only Sabine and the orchestra. But don't make faces gentlemen this actually sounds good. Sabine particularlly shines here. Remember Me and Fallen From Grace both are fantastic songs. Place Of Higher Power, is the second best song on the album. The arabic melodies used in the song sound cool. The final song, the title track is the best song in the album. The song picks up quickly and the guitar work is particullarly brilliant. There are 2 symphonic interludes in the middle. The song picks up again. We have superb pace changes in this section. Overall this is one of the best songs ever written and recorded.

Overall this album is great one of the best ever written. The particular point about this is that, it manages to heavy and brutal if you concentrate at the guitar work, but it also manages to be melodic and beautifull if you concentrate at Sabine and the Orchestra. Concluding please don't hesitate to buy this album, even if it has a female singer fronting the band.