A project that started in 1997 by Marco Heubaum has paid its dues and now they are an international touring band.
With many line-up changes over the years, Xandria is complete with original members Marco Heubaum (guitar) and Gerit Lamm (drums). Also on guitar and has been with Xandria since before their first album is Philip Restemeier. Joost Van den Broek (keys). Joining the three in 2013 is Steven Wussow (bass) and the incredible vocals of Dianne Van Giersbergen from The Netherlands.
I was introduced in 2014 to Xandria with the release of Sacrificium. A true masterpiece of symphonic metal. In 2014 Xandria played in Toronto with Delain and Sonata Arctica and they were amazing. The disappointing part is they only got to play 5 songs.
In 2015, the EP Fire & Ashes was released. This was a tease of new material, covers and re-recorded tracks for the long wait of Theater Of Dimensions.
In January 27th, 2017 the wait will be over. I have had the new digital album in my possession for almost two weeks listening to it every day. The album produced by Joost van den Broek and album cover by Stefan “Heile” Heileman. High-class guest vocals can be heard by mighty Henning Basse (Firewind), Zaher Zorgati (Myrath), Björn Strid (Soilwork) and Ross Thompson (Van Canto).
The album starts off with “Where The Heart Is Home“. A perfect track to start off the new album with great riffs and an awesome compilation of theater production style instrumental genius, background choir and the remarkable operatic vocals of Van Giersbergen.
Continuing what we know of Xandria since Van Giersbergen has taken over vocals, is “Death To The Holy“. Upbeat, fast percussion, and symphonic ecstasy!!
“Forsaken Love” shows the softer side of Van Giersbergen, exposing a truly diverse vocal range.
“Call Of Destiny” brings out the best in Xandria and a well-picked video and single. Hard hitting drums, heavy guitar riffs and the incredible vocal texture of Van Giersbergen.
“We Are Murderers (We All)” was the first song to hit the internet with a lyric video. It comes to us with a much heavier sound and a nice touch of growls by Bjorn Strid.
“Dark Night Of the Soul” slows the pace down. A beautiful song showcasing not only the vocals but the music and songwriting talent of Xandria.
“When The Walls Come Down (Heartache Was Born)” keeps the album flowing with the symphonic momentum of possibly the best material Xandria has written to date.
“Ship Of Doom” A fun song that could be a setup for an outstanding live production.
On to the instrumental track “Ceili” This would be a perfect track before the band hits the stage on their next tour and coming out flying in their symphonic glory!
“Song For Sorrow And Woe” has a lot of different textures throughout the song and shows what Xandria does better than anyone in the industry – combining hard rock and opera sound into a symphonic theater production masterpiece.
“Burn Me” is a great duet with a Middle Eastern feel. I am usually all about the female vocals but the male vocals is a perfect fit. This is a song that really stands out for me on this album.
“Queen Of Hearts Reborn” a great story and showing a nice variety of musical and vocal talent of Xandria.
With the end near, we come to the last song of the album and title track “A Theater Of Dimensions“. Sharing vocals with Van Giersbergen is Henning Basse. This is the longest song in the Xandria catalog at over 14 minutes. Starting off slow and kicks into an orchestral sensation that would be a must played song if backed by a full ensemble or as a musical play. Otherwise, this might not fit on a regular live stage, unless a longer song would be the thing to tie it all together.
If you are new to Xandria and enjoy Nightwish, Leaves’ Eyes, Epica, Sirenia, Delain and any symphonic metal, you will love the new Xandria CD. Don’t hesitate — order your copy now and when you do, I would recommend the 2 CD Mediabook with the 5 song bonus acoustic CD. I look forward to getting my copy from Napalm Records.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin