Thursday, March 1, 2012

Xandria - Neverworld's End (2012)

It’s been five long years since Xandria has released a new album. The symphonic gothic band from Germany has finally returned with their fifth full length album, entitled “Neverworld’s End.” The album is breath taking with its gorgeous orchestration and well composed material. It offers beautiful operatic vocals along with ravishing strings and keyboards and monstrous guitar work.

“A Prophecy Of Worlds To Fall” opens this mystical story with dark synths and gorgeous violins and chanting choirs. Heavily distorted guitars come blaring through with aggressive riffs while the double bass pedals begin to shake the ground recklessly. The verse starts with angelic vocals from lead singer, Mauela Kraller. Her operatic voice reaches high a low octaves with ease as she draws you deeper into the music. A thumping bass lines joins her in the verse along with a beautiful flute that jumps in and out at times. The refrain contains more chanting choirs as Kraller's voice soars high over the guitars and drum rolls. It delivers a very epic and symphonic feel to the beginning of the album. You’re also met with a wild guitar solo that runs up and down the musical scale as soothing strings wrap around it giving off gorgeous tones. This song gives you a little bit of everything in its 7 minutes and definitely gives you a small taste of what’s to come.

Calm keyboards set the mood in “Forevermore.” Kraller’s voice lay gently over beautiful piano notes with catchy melodies and emotional lyrics. Chugging guitars slowly fade in half way through the verse along with rumbling drums as they set the refrain up perfectly. The chorus shows great range in the vocals as she jumps from low to high octaves very quickly. The melodies very catchy and will be repeat in your head for days. Kraller seems to have really poored her heart out in this one. “Euphoria” follows up and takes the tempo to a more aggressive speed. The guitars deliver quick chugging riffs while the drums explode in the background. Another catchy refrain comes through and sweeps you off your feet in this one. They even include a dark heavy bridge with lots of violent chugging and booming bass lines. They later follow it up with a wicked guitar solo. You’ll be hitting the repeat button after hearing this for sure.

“Call Of The Wind” opens with interesting string melodies that up are upbeat and melodic making you almost want to dance along. Operatic vocals come soaring in for the verse as monstrous guitars slam away in the background. The drum patterns will have you throwing your devil horns up in the air as soon as the chorus hits. Meanwhile Kraller’s voice floats perfectly on top of the melodic strings as they layer on top of each other. Wild cymbals shatter heavily in the background while snapping snares carry the instruments into the final refrain. This definitely keeps the album upbeat and exciting.

Another track that really sticks out is “A Thousand Letters.” This open with a beautiful flute melody as the verse begins in a slow motion. The drums stay basic with a back and forth kick and snare pattern. This allows you to really focus on the vocals and not get too distracted with insane drum fills. The chorus hits you hard with operatic vocals that reach high above the guitars and strings giving off that Tarja type of sound. Strings weep in the background as your destroyed by blaring guitar riffs that are slowly slammed over and over again. This is another emotional track that continues to show the dark gothic side of this album.

It’s clear that “Neverworld’s End” is heavily influenced by bands like Epica and Nightwish and yet Xandria manages to keep their sound unique and enjoyable. The production of the album is fantastic as well as the performance of the instruments throughout each track. The band has come along way and keeps improving with every album. Definitely check them out and I guarantee you wont be disappointed.


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