Continuing with the momentum of the band’s latest masterpiece “Sacrificium”, today we have Xandria and their bombastic EP “Fire & Ashes”. Featuring 35 minutes of music that span a few new songs, some re-recorded tracks and two covers, this is enough material to hold off any fan of the band and the genre until the band’s new record is ready.
Opening with a bombastic explosion, “Voyage of the Fallen”, delivers a very Epica-esque track that features very dynamic choir arrangements and a very dramatic musical progression. The band’s explosive sound is in full swing with this very apt opener, with Dianne van Giersbergen’s vocals shining from start to end. Changing the pace into a more melodic and head banging mode, the lush melodic passages of “Unembraced” make them perfect to start head banging. Both of these tracks are completely new and recorded especially for this release.
The band ends the ‘new songs’ section of the EP with the somber ballad-esque “In Remembrance” delivered via Dianne’s strong vocals and very mellow piano for the most part and closes strongly in a very epic way. This release features two very epic covers from Meatloaf’s “I Would do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)” which sounds very interesting with strong female vocals, and Sonata Arctica’s “Don't Say a Word” in which Dianne does a great job in trying to keep the same vocal harmonies as Tony Kakko and throws in some of her own special moves into the mix.
In terms of the re-recorded tracks, we have new versions of “Ravenheart” and “Now & Forever” with Dianne on vocals and some slight changes. We have some mixed feelings about this since we love the original versions with their original singer Lisa, and don’t mind hearing them live with Dianne on vocals, but I think re-recording them is not the best idea. Anyways, “Fire & Ashes” is a very solid EP with enough material in it to justify its purchase. Xandria have been refining their sound over the years and the new tracks really reflect this, leaving fans with very high expectations of any upcoming release from the band.
|Album: Fire & Ashes
Label: Napalm Records
Release: July 31st, 2015
Genre: Symphonic Metal