The first time I came across Xandria was with their second album Ravenheart. Not sure what really got my interest going to be honest. It probably was their unique style they displayed at that time. A German band, rocking in a somewhat delirious and quite poppy brand of Gothic Rock and Metal. And – on top – providing a much needed counterweight to other upcoming bands like Within Temptation back then.
Their style – or more their interesting mix of styles – is somewhat addictive and has this tendency to grow on you. For sure, they were not ground breakers in this genre. But they were able carve out a niche for themselves, starting with Ravenheart. And – frankly – back then not many foresaw such a brilliant future for this band that culminated this year of 2014 in Sacrificium. Even if they had this tendency to change their female front somewhat for every new album that came out.
Now in all fairness, methinks that a lot of the material got written for the fairy voice of their lead singer Lisa Schaphaus (also called Lisa Middelhauve in the meantime). And her ethereal voice really fits much better than the eternal Tarja copies that were En Vogue back then. I really like her contribution.
The album kicks off with three very good tracks Ravenheart, The Lionness and Back to the River. The latter sounding like a teaser to their 2005 album called India. Different styles again, from story telling first to a more flowing, kind of bombastic-poppy style to Indian influenced elements in the 3rd one. Very confusing, but never boring.
The album then lets off some after that, just to take on much more steam with Some Like it Cold and the excellent My Scarlet Name – one of my favorites. Snow White will for sure get on your list of remarkable tracks on this record as well. All very dark, Gothic, foreboding songs, sometimes a little evil – just the way I like them. A well rounded record, offering surprises at every corner – very well evidenced in the last track Keep My Secret Well.
No doubt Ravenheart proved to be the opening door for Xandria to their future very steep career over the following years to this day. I really like the album and continue to listen to it from time to time. And so should you.
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