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A lunatic daughter’s high-power rampage - 90%

naverhtrad, February 8th, 2012

Okay, as long as I’m on a roll doing reviews of metal from the realms of Eastern Christendom after Warnament and Holy Blood, I might as well reach back into the ol’ back file and pull out Дочь Лунного Света (or Moonlight’s Daughter for us Latin writing system types) by АнДем…

Wait, what the fuck is this?! And here I was getting my hate on to unleash upon another unsuspecting Epica / Within Temptation / Sonata Arctica clone! And—and yet—there’s a high-fantasy dark-haired elf maiden reclining tragically in the middle of a moonlit babbling brook with sparkles and faerie lights all around her on the album art, but what I’m hearing at the moment is some fucking ballsy speed / power metal with some rock-solid bass guitar riffage going on, like Accept had a secret love child with Pythia, who was somehow raised in a Moscow orphanage reading Mikhail Bulgakov and Sergei Lukyanenko, only to ride off in vengeance! Damn, this album served me up some hot, steaming humble pie. Sure, you have the occasional symphonic and choral backdrop and the lead vocalist is female, but Yuliana Savchenko is emphatically not of the perfect-pitch-aspiring, prima donna, I-wanna-be-the-next-Tarja-Turunen variety. Her voice is a sultry, soulful, sexy Slavonic alto, and even if she isn’t going for operatic dives on each breath she’s still putting a great deal of power out there. Her voice may have all the characteristics one wants in a pop singer, but she’s not out of her depth at all in this oeuvre. Listen to that transition between the admirably-restrained ‘Principium et Fons’ and ‘Хранитель Мечей’ to where Yulia’s vocals drop in, and tell me that she doesn’t sound downright ferocious on the uptake, upstaging even the lead guitarist and the drummer who were getting us all worked up on that bombastic sympho-speed metal hook. ‘Sword-Keepers’, indeed! The harsh-ish backing vocals are rare on this album (‘Дорога в Пандемониум’, ‘Мастер и Маргарита’), but used to excellent and creative effect.

And sure, you have the flower-metallic lightning-fast arpeggios and keyboard melodies littered all over (particularly on tracks like ‘Дорога в Пандемониум’), but not for a moment are they allowed to do any of the heavy lifting of the music. These guys and gals were obviously listening to Gamma Ray’s No World Order and Powerplant-era material and taking very careful notes. When they go for raw power, too – on the mid-tempo (or rather, slightly less speedy) title track ‘Дочь Лунного Света’ and on ‘Полночный Гость’ – Andrey and Denis still do not mess around. Those riffs mean serious business on your ears, drilling into your brain and sticking there.

And then around comes ‘Молитва’ (‘Prayer’) and throws me for a huge loop. ‘Epic’ is a word that gets thrown around way, way too often in metal circles, for regrettable but understandable reasons. (And appied as a self-descriptor by such undeserving bands as—well, you get the picture.) But this, my headbanging friends, is the power ballad to end all power ballads, outstripping even Rammstein’s ‘Ohne Dich’ and Falconer’s ‘Portals of Light’, so either the word ‘epic’ is here justly-deserved, or nothing deserves it. Each bass chord is slammed down and piled on with such sheer sincerity it borders on outright mawkish, but with the vocals it exudes such overpowering awesomeness that it makes me want to go out and buy a fucking cigarette lighter to wave every time it comes up on shuffle even if it makes me look like a complete fucking imbecile – that’s how moving this song is.

There are really only a couple of missteps on this album, barely worth mentioning. The song ‘Готы Идут На Рим’ is bit on the lighter side, with predictable and slightly disappointing chord progressions. Not a bad song at all, but slightly out-of-place. But the (mostly) instrumental intro and outro are perfect bookends to the album. Production is another issue; even though balance is incredibly good overall and the sound easily meets the exacting standards of twenty-first century power metal, the drums do sound slightly muffled, which is a shame, because the drumming on this album is, as everything else, unrelenting in its sheer ruthless awesomeness. Simply put, this is a tour-de-force of symphonic power / speed metal which should be heard and appreciated by fans of any of the above subgenres.

Okay, I’m done here. I’m gonna go listen to this heavy Russian jewel on continuous rotation for another turn or fifteen…

18 / 20

The Daughter of Moonlight - 87%

kimiwind, February 9th, 2010
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Irond Records

In the last decade, metal music has been strongly influenced by the female presence, and finding them in extreme metal genres is not astonishing anymore. Unfortunately, often women in bands are used as attractive fronts to achieve commercial success rather than to actually improve the band. Andem is a band fronted by a woman, but in their case her performance gives this album the distinctive flair to rise among the best power metal albums. This band plays straightforward power metal tainted with a tinge of gothic influence. So, Doch' Lunnogo Sveta is their second album to date, and this album is definitely a fine piece of its genre. In terms of production, the album is professionally produced, mixed and mastered. The sound is so clean, and the instruments are easy to distinguish. The artwork is also interesting, it gives an attractive sight to the release so to speak.

The songwriting on this album is very solid, as you don't see an instrument overshadowing the other. Every single instrument here made an impact on the music, which is a good thing. The music is fast, for such combination of gothic and power metal the use of guitars is pretty solid. There are some nice riffs in the song Hranitel' mechey. You will also encounter nice solos throughout the album. The aforementioned combination is strongly supported by a pleasent keyboard atmosphere drawing in a unique sound and embellishing the whole package. The drums are quite fast and the patterns are compatible with the music, this leaves a significant touch indeed. The bass lines are occasionally audible, they actually fill in and fit in pretty well.

But the effective gun in this masterpiece is the vocals, since they are very well done and moreover they blend well with the songwriting. Yuliana Savchenko is endowed with a really beautiful voice and it shows well in this release. She contributes with a magnificent emotional-like singing throughout the album. She apparently sings with heart and diligently, thus leaving great impressions and nice impact on the music. Although, there are still few slower parts in some particular tracks. For example, in the song molitva, you will definitely notice a radical change in the pace of the music, and consequently her vocal tones suddenly turn to be less powerful. Harsh vocals do occur occasionally, and they totaly befit the music.

Lyrically speaking, the themes covered in this album are sort of interesting. And in spite of the fact that all the lyrics are in Russian language, they are still worth to mention and talk about. The themes are heavily centered around tales and legends, and also influenced by the legendary writer Mikhail Bulgakov, as it shows in the song Master and Margarita.

All in all, Andem have improved their music with this second effort. I believe that, as long as they keep producing such good quality music, their name will get bigger and will eventually end up with broader fanbase, and obviously, more gigs outside Russia. If you’re lucky enough and got the chance to stumble upon this release somewhere, do not think twice and buy yourself a copy. I’m certain that you will never regret the bucks you’re going to spend on it.

Written for Encyclopaedia Metallum 09-02-2010
© Kimiwind