without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Stuff like this, "opera metal" as I like to call it, has always been very hit or miss with me. Therion has released several fantastic albums, and I'm not afraid to admit to liking the occasional Epica or Nightwish album, but this German band Xandria really caught me by surprise recently with how incredibly enjoyable their take on the style is with their newest release titled Neverworld's End.
Xandria has been around for well over a decade now, and I'm sure I've seen their moniker before, but I had never given them a chance until recently. They have everything one would be expecting from the opera metal style. They have the gothic-looking female singer, they write slightly dark yet groovy mid-paced riffs, and they utilize dynamics in their music extremely well. What sets Neverworld's End apart from a lot of the other albums out there that are like it is just how simply enjoyable it is from the very first listen.
Honestly, if you like bombastic opera-infused metal, you don't even have to try to enjoy this album. Every song is wonderfully arranged and composed and the execution is perfect. Oh, and this Manuela Kraller can absolutely slay with her vocals. They are quite stunning, and you can really tell that she's done a lot of work to achieve her level of vocal control. Considering this is the first album to which she's contributed for Xandria, I can safely say the band found a winner, and I'll be wary of thinking about checking out the rest of the band's catalog since she's not there.
The songs themselves are each fantastic opuses in their own right, maintaining a flair for the dramatic without being overly long and drawn out, which can hinder a lot of bands who play this kind of stuff. Overall, I would easily recommend this album to anyone who enjoys the flair of bands like Nightwish, Therion, or Epica but also finds enjoyment in the straightforward simplicity of Lacuna Coil. This album is quite a pleasant surprise for 2012, and it's truly worth your hour and three minutes.
Written for http://raisethyhorns.blogspot.com