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Major Improvement - 92%

John_Crichton, May 31st, 2006

Lunatica's first album "Atlantis" was decent at best. It suffered faults that could have been fixed by a good production, but was not. Luckily, they got someone to do it right with their second offering. Keeping the album under an hour, they managed to produce 10 tracks that keep you busy, never letting boredom set in.

The album starts out with "The Search Goes One", and narrative that basically explains the story that continues from the first album. The orchestral pieces in the track are well done, given that it's not even a "song" per se. Drums later accompany the orchestra in the latter half of the track. There is some vocals, but it is not from the bands vocalist, Andrea Dätwyler.

The second track, "Avalon", right away shows this albums superior production quality over the last. Andrea's vocals are polished and are not brought so far forward that you can barely hear the band. She is an amazing vocalist, and this track finally shows it. The drummer accompanies some orchestral woodwinds, but the guitars are hardly used. When they are, they sound great.

"Elements" follows, and this time more of the bands own talents are put to use. The orchestra takes a back seat (but is still used), and the outcome is a great track. Andrea's vocals are paired with kick ass guitar work that never lets up, though can be somewhat drowned out by the drummer. Being the longest track on the album, I'm happy to inform it never gets boring. It will probably get the repeat treatment on your CD player.

"Fable of Dreams", being the title track, has a higher quality then many of the other tracks. It starts out slower than any previous Lunatica song, simply Andrea and a piano. Eventually a male vocalist is added, and the outcome is terrific. The band joins in about half way through the song, resulting in a full on ballad that almost every artist in the "gothic metal" genre seems to include these days. This one luckily rises above the pack.

"Still Believe" has what I believe to be one of the most well done guitar riffs in the genres history. It's simple, but you can't help but bang your head to it. It isn't underused either. It comes back many times, and when it's paring with the drums, the song becomes one of the albums best. You’ll probably end up wearing out your CD player with this one.

"The Spell" is probably the second best track on the album. The band and orchestra take a 50/50 on who does what when, and Andrea's vocals, as usual, sound terrific. A male vocalist joins in for some quick lines that go with the lyrics story. The guitar sounds very similar to the previous track, but it somehow works even better. This song also contains a what you might call a "rewind moment"

3:00 - 3:35 is one of those areas of a song that you find yourself rewinding and listing to again.....and again....and again. For a long time, too long actually. It's the only case on the album where Andrea does a tag-team style duo with a male death metal vocalist. And it works, perfectly. I usually dislike death metal vocals, but this song could change that.

"The Neverending Story" is probably the centerpiece of the album. Everything works together in this track. It even has some "techno" elements. Andrea sounds great, and the band is at a peak performance. Guitars rage the whole way through. The only problem is an odd vocalist who joins in for some choruses here and there who I found to be a little distracting. She sounds like an older Tarja. Not bad for those who like "opera style" vocals, but it doesn't belong here. Overall it's probably the best track on the album. Another track that will be wearing out the "back" button on your CD player.

"Hymn" is an interesting track. I never heard the Ultravox version, but it's hard to imagine it being any better than this. It's a great track that had I not known was a cover, wouldn't have thought twice about it not being a Lunatica song. It works perfectly with the sound the band has developed for the album. Guitars and drums are as usual doing a great job of keeping you busy.

"Silent Scream" is a remake of a song from the previous album. The old version was a decent song, nothing special. The vocals were too loud and the band was being shrouded. It sounded like a tape recorded live performance. This is how the track SHOULD have sounded. It's the prime example of how you can take a crappy song and turn it completely around with proper production. It contains some of Andrea's highest vocals as well. Something she should consider doing more of in the upcoming album, she's sounds great doing it.

"A Little Moment of Desperation" closes the album on a good note. The guitars are paired perfectly with some orchestral pieces, and the drums never stop beating your head in. Andrea tries a different approach to singing in the chorus, making a word-pause-word-pause-word effect. It comes out nicely, not sounding like the sometimes-gibberish James Hetfield was yelling in St. Anger.

If you listened to the first album and didn't really like it, don't worry (neither did I really). Give them a second shot, It'll pay off. This was probably one of the best releases of 2004, a surprise, as I wasn‘t expecting much. Hopefully the new album improves even further.