Xandria – Sacrificium (2014) – Review

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RockmusicRaider Review - Xandria - Sacrificium - Album CoverWho would have thought that Xandria would evolve in this way. From the almost failed (oh yeah..), but widely hyped album ‘Neverworld’s End’, I had no great hopes for ‘Sacrificium‘, the newest concoction of this here group of lauded musicians.

Especially because the band likes to disband their front women at a very rapid pace. With that kind of turnover, you just will have trouble succeeding and delivering quality work – unless your singer is just a voice-piece. And let’s hope that this is not the case with this band. Honi soit qui mal y pense! – as we say in French.

But then, one can always be positively impressed, right? Because – lo and behold – ‘Sacrificium‘ is much better in quality, albeit a trifle bombastic, I daresay. Like in too much symphonic, kind of overdone. And much of the same, over-saturating your ears after a while.

The new Dutch front Dianne van Giersbergen is much better suited to the band’s style, not some kind of Tarja copy like the last one – even if she focuses a bit too much on the opera style for my taste. And there nevertheless is a tad too much of Tarja in these vocals. Guys, this is metal, not opera!! And I for sure hope that the band will be able to keep her on board a bit longer than their track record suggests.

To its credit, Sacrificium shows some Heavy Metal elements (sometimes sounds like Iron Maiden at their best…) together with the usual Gothic Metal and Symphonic Metal parts.

Sacrificium takes off with an epic production called … ‘Sacrificium‘ – the title track. It goes on for some 10 minutes total, monologue included, which is pretty brave for an entry song. Good one! But to deliver the cherry on the cake already in the beginning? Hmm.

But whatever they say, it IS an epic beginning to things. Seamlessly followed by Nightfall, which is a nice one as well. Track no 4, ‘Stardust‘ got my attention! Pretty good solo and well constructed.

Another tune giving this album some spice is Betrayer that shows some pretty good metal signs with some dark solos. Even if they tried a bit too hard to – again – imitate an opera and other already existing styles, not singing metal. But what can I say, good grief!!

W
ill the record reach the heights of Ravenheart or India? Not sure. But then again, this is much speedier material more reminiscent of bands like Diabulus in Musica and Epica. Even if the latter kind of overdid it in their 2014 edition of quantum enigmas and such.

All in all, Sacrificium is much better paced than the last album. A step up from the last production and for sure a change in direction. And with Dianne, Xandria landed a more powerful front and better interpreter.
I continue to be a big fan of Xandria and am looking forward to the next record.  Hopefully they will be able to improve away from the somewhat overdone piece to a fresher style. The future will tell.

*****

Record Rating: 9/10 | Label: Napalm Records  | Web: Official Site

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