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Walking a very thin line... - 83%

Kritik, December 3rd, 2014
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Napalm Records

Lunatica had a strange evolution since their beginning. Their first two albums were good in their own right but haven't possess something different from another band in the grand category that is female fronted symphonic power metal. The change in a more uncommon sound will come with their third release.

What we got in this last full length, was a more power metal sound with symphonic arrangements. There were also many non epic kind of tracks. It was still quite joyful and the general technique used was in concordance with the power metal style. Also, female fronted band seems to rely almost always on some Gothic influence while Lunatica clearly departed with this influence on their third release. The only reason why I review this fourth CD is that with their last release, even if they have found their own sound in it, it seemed not so much learnt from the band members.

This "New Shores" isn't a revolution, but clearly the continuity of the departure from the other female fronted bands. This departure started already at the first song that feels more like the beginning of a journey of discoveries, while being told on an innocent level. This innocent approach is exactly why this band could please to a niche public. I seriously feel the joy the band tries to express in these songs and there are doing it, like in the third album, without the epicness or the darker tones the style is known for.

There's many surprises to be found in one spin here. The chorus of "The Incredibles" makes me think of Ayreon and their more than catchy chorus. Some other songs still have some epic feel on some of their passage, but the band clearly keeps the innocence present almost 80% of the time. There's equal use of sound sample, symphonic passage and electronic sample throughout the release to keep things fresh.

Lunatica seems minimalist in their approach in the genre, adding a sound only if it's completely useful. For example, I can cite the extremely moody acoustic guitar on "Farewell My Love" or the addition of the pipe instruments in "The Chosen Ones". The solos are another aspect where this band seems now to understand very well how to make it right, I let you discover them by yourself.

Lunatica doesn't have an excellent singer, but on this album, she has just exactly what the band needs. It's as if the band were addressing our children how much the tone is calm and serene also because of her. The minimalist approach just emphases how much the band care for us to ear every detail they care to implement. Everything is balanced and all these details are obviously easy to grasp.

So what about that thin line I was talking about in the title of this review. Well, if the content is in majority power metal with symphonic arrangements, it falls sometime into melodic rock n roll influence by Queen and some other songs in a strange kind of very detailed pop while not keeping the general quality present in the other songs. I also find that the majority of the songs could be completely unforgettable but they all miss something I can't clearly point out.

To summarize, Lunatica has found his own style and have now learned it well enough to put out a consistently pleasant release. The approach is not your typical female fronted symphonic power metal band, but clearly something much more calm and serene with little to no degree of epicness. Even the Gothic influence is sparse throughout the album. The sounds use in this album is quite wide and the possibilities for a next release seems impressive. The band is getting better and better by the time and I wouldn't be surprised if they are the next band to release an unforgettable full length next time they hit the shelves.

80s Pop Meets Power Metal - 89%

Desertcry, December 1st, 2012

This album often gets criticized by the metal community for sounding too “popish.” I cannot deny that it is true that this album does have a pop nature to it. I’m not suggesting that it is like modern pop dance music but more related to 80’s pop. Imagine taking songs such as Debbie Gibson’s “Foolish Beat” or the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame” and adding a strong dose of power metal to it. This is the best way I can describe this album. This type of sound may put some people off, however, Lunatica pull it off well.

Lunatica broke into the scene with their second album “Fables and Dreams” which I consider to be one of the best albums with female vocals ever. If you started listening to this band through this album you might be somewhat disappointed with “New Shores.” While “Fables and Dreams” was filled with power/symphonic hard driving metal, “New Shores” take a few steps in the lighter direction.

I do believe there are a lot of positive aspects that are over looked on “New Shores.” First the drummer lays down some solid beats throughout this album hammering out the double bass when appropriate and using fills without over doing it. The drums are what give this album the necessary power and drive needed to make this album strong. The bass doesn’t act just as a background instrument. There are many instances where the bass stands out such as with the intro to the title track and other places where he will rail out a bass line that makes the songs sound 20% better than if they just had a bass player who only followed the guitar chords.

The lead guitarist isn’t a shredder but more of a soloist who sticks with catchy lead riffs. The rhythm guitarist gives some variety throughout this album. The metal style scuffing after the title track’s chorus gives it that much-needed metal feel to bridge the melodic chorus and verse. Then there is the riff in “Two Dreamers” after she says “Nothing is impossible” that gives the song a strong extra kick.

Andrea’s vocals are sweet and unique. Thankfully she does avoid the cliché of attempting to sound like Tarja from old Nightwish, nor does she have a rough voice in the realm of Doro. I’m tempted to compare her vocals to the late Sabine Dunser who used to sing for Elis but even that isn’t a close enough comparison. Andrea is the type of singer that could sing 80’s pop however her voice works perfectly with this style of music.

This album does have its weaknesses. First, the two songs “My Hardest Walk” and “The Chosen Ones” kick into some hard driving riffs with the verses kicking in giving the listener a high expectancy of a kick ass chorus. However, the expected kick ass chorus never comes. Rather, in both songs they kick into something that sounds more like a pre-chorus and then go into the second verse. It drives me crazy because these songs would be prefect hard driving metal songs if there was a fucking decent chorus the band kicked into. The songs aren’t totally ruined though because after the second pre-chorus sounding segment there is a guitar solo that comes in to save the day.

The other criticism I have is “Farewell my Love.” I mean, I like ballads and variety on albums and this song is well written and catchy. However, I do not understand why Lunatica keep pulling in a suck ass male vocalist to do songs like this. It didn’t work for “Song For you” nor harmonizing on the extra “Emocean” on the last album and it doesn’t work any better here. Yeah, they got away with it in the song “Fables of Dreams” but not since. They just need to fire whoever is doing the male vocals and hire someone like Marco from Nightwish or Tobias from Edguy/Avantasia. I mean, the guy singing “Farewell My Love” might sound decent doing a duet with Linda Ronstadt, but he doesn’t complement Andrea’s voice. Just give Andrea the whole friggin’ song and it would be much better, I mean, it does have a good melody to it. The other two ballads on this album “How Did It Come To This” and “Winds of Heaven” are much better.

The best song on the album is saved for the last “The Day The Falcon Dies.” It is more of a straightforward power metal song more in the realms of what is found throughout “Fables and Dreams.” This goes to show that Lunatica still can rock it out even though they have been taking a different direction.

The lyrics vary. Some of them sound like they could be posted on Hallmark cards. Some are vague and I’m not sure what they are talking about. I really like the lyrics to “The Incredible” as it speaks out against the corruption of people who lack in caring for our planet. “My Hardest Walk” seems to be about a leader who is leading a bunch of people into war and is struggling with inner conflict and worry about the results. The lyrics aren’t bad and the band seems to try to put some positive meaning to them.

Overall, this is a good album if you are one of those people who grew up with 80s pop and still can listen to it, but also like hard driving music. If you want growls you will not find them here and if you want lyrics that are vulgar you won’t find them here. This is the rare type of metal that goes well with putting your headphones on, walking along the shore watching the sunset.

Brace yourselves for this JOKE! - 29%

BudDa, October 30th, 2009

These guys can't be serious. Is New Shores supposed to be some kind of BIG JOKE?! Probably Lunatica undermined the opposition or because this album was released early this year(February 27th), they couldn't have anticipated just how big 2009 would turn out for Metal. I am starting to think thats the only valid reason Lunatica can come up with for this latest piece of Laughter. Its totally uninspired, lame and almost not worthy to even be called a heavy metal release.

I have always known of Lunatica's pop-tendencies. I mean, these were all over their previous album for everyone to see. That has never really bothered me until this release. However, that would have been an entirely different issue cause then I wouldn't have bothered to write this review. But the thing that pains me most about New Shores, in addition to the overt pop sound, is that the album consists of 1 heavy riff. Yes, u heard me right..one fucking riff on the entire bloody album. In addition, one has to strain to hear this riff; But the WTF moment..the extreme low point on this album is when that only riff is either suppressed by some techno bullshit or ruined by synth.

Take an example of Incredibles, which would have been a lovely track cause its one of the few times when they decided to play some metal though only in flashes. There is supposed to be a hook at the end of the line in the chorus "...your time is running..". Actually, there is a hook at the end of that line..only that I couldn't fucking hear it. It took me about 5 fucking listens to figure it out. The next track is even worse. The heavy riff is there at the beginning only for it to be smothered by some techno shit..its so awful that even the wonderful solo played thereafter cannot save the music from the damage already done. The solo also on Into the Dissonance is bit too little too late and the track Winds of Heaven sounds like something that would give anything out of a Hillsong cd a run for its fucking money.

The vocalist does her thing I suppose but on a record as flat and mundane as this one, one can only do so much. This is a bad performance by this Swiss sextet. I don't care whether this is was intended for the mainstream folk or for the core melodic metal fans with an open minded opinion and eclectic taste. This is a bad record PERIOD!

Old Shores - 40%

Daru_Jericho, June 16th, 2009

After three years, Switzerland’s Lunatica return to the metal scene with their fourth full-length effort. This symphonic metal band have been gathering attention over the years and undoubtedly benefited from the female-fronted metal band phase after Nightwish and Within Temptation smashed into the mainstream a couple of years ago.

‘New Shores’ is an album that will probably not appease most metal fans. Symphonic metal is probably the metal subgenre that leans closest to pop music. Lunatica have always retained a pop sound but this album is more evident than previous efforts. It appears the band juxtapose their soft passages with heavy fragments like the near-thrash metal riff on ‘The Chosen Ones’ and the dramatic section of ‘Into the Dissonance’.

‘New Shores’ is an unmemorable release. There is a modern rock edge that is corrosive to the metal nature of this release and the title track is the best opener for this. Andrea Dätwyler’s vocals feel forced and emotionless. The techno stylings of this album, as on ‘The Incredibles’, seem amateur consisting of damaging, syncopated drum beats. This begs the question as to why the band has a drummer in their ranks.

Overall, this album is to Lunatica what ‘The Silent Force’ is to ‘Within Temptation’. Although the production is sleek, the album is strikingly predictable and after three years one would expect the band to concoct new ideas.

Originally written for www.soundshock.net