Xandria: 'Theater of Dimensions' - Album Review

Xandria’s seventh album hits us January 27th via Napalm Records and Theater of Dimensions is everything that we might expect from the German/Dutch Symphonic/Gothic Metal band. Building with a grand epic symphonic arrangement that might pit it within a fantasy battle before the choir raises it into a Metal hell. Dianne Van Giersbergen’s simply powerful vocals bringing the song together to that heavy beat and grand sense of scale that should be expected by a Xandria record. They do sound so much like Epica though. Theater of Dimensions doesn’t pull any punches with its first track ‘Where the Heart is Home’ and the almost 7minute running time shows the sheer scale they put into their song writing.

From here we start to get a few more traditional Symphonic or Power Metal themes but they blend in a rather catchy beat to make the songs stand out a little more and never ceasing from having that epic scale. At times an almost melancholy folk sound bears its way to the beautiful melodies that seem to reach out over many distances to find you. Not to be forgotten; the drums are relentless and offer up some well supporting but heavy riffs. This drumming is easily seen through songs like ‘Call of Destiny’, ‘We Are Murderers (We All)’ and ‘When the Walls Came Down (Heartache Was Born)’ but isn’t forgotten by any song. In fact the latter being a very strong piece for a Symphonic Metal anthem. ‘Céilí’ really hammers in the folk tendencies within the symphonic arrangements which feel like cheeky bits of fun for the grander and more powerful moments within the album. The album with its many fast riffs, either by an ever pushing guitar or complex symphony, speeds through the album but catching some emotional moments before the end which really climaxes with the song ‘A Theater of Dimensions’. Now, Dianne Van Giersbergen has really pulled no punches in showing off the sheer power of her lungs and she really starts to show a bit more range with this song. A song so large in scale that it builds and descends and smashes before a grand arrival of a everything the band can throw at you. With the album building to this moment, I would expect nothing less from them. Epic, powerful and large in scale that a complex arrangement of just over 14minutes feels so right for the band. At times Xandria are pushing the realms of their sound and clearly love the grand scale they pour into every song. They do this whilst keeping each song very interesting but have a tendency to dip into something a bit more cheesy like a Disney song made powerfully metal. None-the-less one of the more powerful moments of Symphonic Metal and Dianne Van Giersbergen has just epically powerful lungs that it’d be hard to recognise the bands importance within Symphonic Metal and she does so ever flaunt her talents on this record. 7/10

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