The more I get to listen to any Symphonic Metal band’s songs, the less words I have to describe the experience. I can’t find such a strong word that tells exactly how I can feel. XANDRIA is a band that I had to see for the first time on their last tour in North America with SONATA ARCTICA and DELAIN, back in October 2014. I didn’t realize that this German metal band had so many records out and had been around for so many years. After I knew they were scheduled to release a new EP titled Fire & Ashes (out now, Napalm Records), I had to listen to their songs to mark a piece of their art in my heart.
Following the release of the universally praised studio album Sacrificium which also marked the impressive debut of charismatic vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen, the new EP Fire & Ashes rises like the proverbial phoenix. With full symphonic force three brand new songs and two special re-recordings of all-time XANDRIA fan faves “Ravenheart” (Ravenheart, 2004) and “Now & Forever” (India, 2005) showcase the band at its very best. On top of that the band recorded two exclusive cover songs – “Don`t Say A Word” (SONATA ARCTICA) and “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)“ (MEAT LOAF) which have been rearranged and now gleam in full symphonic glory.
Fire & Ashes was accurately produced by Joost van den Broek (who has been working with the band for several years now), besides counting with the contribution of the incredible artwork from Felipe Machado. Even though Fire & Ashes is an EP (meaning: less songs, less playing time), it’s just enough time to know exactly what XANDRIA is all about in both their albums and live performances. Composed by members Dianne van Giersbergen (vocals), Marco Heubaum (guitar), Philip Restemeier (guitar), Steven Wussow (bass) and Gerit Lamm (drums), the performance that they achieve for each song gives a truly unique identity to the seven tracks that form the record. From their cover of “I Would Do Anything For Love”; to their jaw-dropping new songs… more specifically their opening song “Voyage of the Fallen” (which I wish I could sing during the high notes).
XANDRIA is another band that I have to give a standing ovation to, not only for producing the music that makes me feel alive, but also for being around so many years and for being humble and receiving to their fans. That’s what truly makes a great band, one that is conscious that both parties (fans and performers) get together at venues to create experiences that can last for years and even decades. I really hope you (and I) can catch XANDRIA live many more times and create another experience that I can keep in my memory for good and bad times.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM