Xandria – Neverworld’s End
text: Helena Torstensson
Xandria is a German symphonic metal band, formed by guitarist, pianist Marco Heubaum in 1997. First album “Kill the Sun” is released in 2003.
From the start Lisa Middelhauve was singer and front woman of the band, when she reassigned in 2008 she was replaced by Kerstin Bischof, but she left the band one year later. In December 2010 Xandria announced that the female singer Manuela Kraller would join the band. “Neverworld´s End” is Xandrias fifth album.
“A Prophecy of Worlds to Fall” is the first song on the album, and what an impressive beginning. An atmospheric intro followed by guitars, beat and Manuela Kraller´s beautiful voice sweeps in like a breeze. Her voice caresses my ears and, together with the intense music, it manages to transport me to somewhere else.
The first single from the album is the powerful song “Valentine”. I like the way this song kicks off; great music and vocals. The speed and energy is overwhelming. The mix of calm and fast parts works out very well. It is easy to follow what Manuela Kraller sings about. Although the music is distracting me at some point.
“Blood On My Hands” is a personal favorite. It opens beautifully with Manuela slowly singing and getting your attention. Then holding the attention by the chorus and it simply got stuck on my mind. I adore the poetic feeling that this song has, creating an own atmosphere. The way Kraller delicately phrase the words only takes things to a higher level: a very suitable new front lady.
The intro of “Call Of The Wind” takes my spirits higher, by a very playful and merry sound. When Manuela tells the story, I really enjoy it. The way this song twist and turn, creating a special feeling: excellent work by all musicians and technical knowledge. It is nice to be surprised like this, and it makes the listener curious for more.
With a haunting violin intro “Cursed” quickly sets the atmosphere. Add dark guitars followed by a whispered voice, and you have one very special and cool intro. What’s really interesting about this song, is the combination of the light vocals and the dark lyrics; the music captures and frames it all in an amazing way. I adore the way it develops and the heavy guitars that are presented all though the song. Sometimes the music drowns out the vocals, but when the music is like this, it’s forgiven.
“Neverworld’s End” is a very impressive album from Xandria. It was almost too easy to write about it: the music is breathtaking beautiful and I simply adore Manuela Kraller’s voice. It seems way to simple to conclude it, but it’s the essence of their fifth album. What I like the most about this album, is that the songs are built up of so many layers. So you can listen and re-listen to them and discover more depths each time. That is actually pretty awesome!
1. A Prophecy of Worlds to Fall
5. Blood on My Hands
7. The Dream is Still Alive
8. The Lost Elysion
9. Call of the Wind
10. A Thousand Letters
12. The Nomad´s Crown
Manuela Kraller – vocals
Marco Heubaum – guitars and keys
Philip Restemeier – guitar
Nils Middelhauve – bass
Gerit Lamm – drums