Reviewed: December 2004
Released: 2004, Frontiers Records / Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Lunatica was established during the winter of 1998. Alex Seibert and Sandro D’Incau were the ones that formed the band and they wrote the first few songs. They had one problem when they first started out, they had no singer. After some searching they found a female vocalist in Andrea Dätwyler and she sang on their debut album in 2001, ATLANTIS.
Believe it or not, this band comes from Switzerland, a country that’s not famous for their sparkling metal community (except for the old 80s heroes Krokus, if anyone remembers them). ATLANTIS apparently became a big success and the band got booked on festivals like Metaldayz, the biggest open air metal festival in Switzerland.
FABLES & DREAMS is the band’s second album. The band produced the album with Domenico Livrano and it’s mixed and mastered by Sascha Paeth. I don’t know when or where the album was recorded. The production and soundscapes sound OK and it’s powerful and epic. Dätwyler has the biggest part in the mix with her vocals. According to the band bio, for this album they had more time to write the material compared with the debut and now the songs have been better developed. I don’t know who’s written the ten tracks on the album, or to be exact the nine songs plus the intro.
The band bio describes this as symphonic metal with female vocals but personally I think it’s a bit unnecessary to say the last thing because you ought to notice that if you look on the album and listen to it. To satisfy me the bio should also have written that the music is complex symphonic hard rock. Dätwyler shares the soundscape with keyboards. As I said before the music is very complex and epic with tempo changes. Maybe I should say that they have musical similarities with Nightwish, but Lunatica are more melodic compared to their Finnish colleagues. They also don’t use strings and big choirs as Nightwish does. Then we have the similarity that both bands have a female singer but Dätwyler isn’t classically trained and doesn’t sing with an opera voice. Dätwyler sometimes help from one of the guys on lead vocals. Dätwyler has a very beautiful voice that really fits this genre of music and Seibert impresses on keyboards. The other band members are really skilled too but they don’t seem to be a full band yet because the bass player is just a guest musician.
On the first album Lunatica were out searching for Atlantis, now they’re looking for the book called “Fables & Dreams”. The album kicks off with “The Search Goes On” which sounds like a grand movie soundtrack with a voice that tells us that two years ago they found Atlantis and now it’s time to begin the search for fables and dreams, which is a book made in heaven. It’s an intro that sounds like the intro to “Survivor” or any TV shows like that.
The intro goes directly into the first song “Avalon” which is a melodic hard rock tune with a great sound and with Dätwyler’s voice at the top of the mix. There’s some heavy use of double bass pedal drumming and keyboards that also are very high up in the mix. The guitars are at the bottom and there’s a lot of repeating of the chorus all way through the track. “Elements”, “Still Believe”, “The Spell”, “The Neverending Story”, “Hymn”, “Silent Scream (2004)” and “A Little Moment Of Desperation” are tracks that includes metal combined with melodic hard rock and numerous of tempo changes. Guitar, lead vocals and keyboard take up the biggest space in the soundscape and Dätwyler shows what a huge voice capacity she has. In the song “The Spell” there’s pure metal and it also goes faster than the other songs. It’s a more guitar based track too. Also“The Neverending Story” has guitars and keyboards in a more upfront position and the song also leans into the more harder metal sound. The first ballad is called “Fable Of Dreams” and has an intro with only keyboard and vocals. After a while the song turns into a more uptempo ballad and Dätwyler has help by a male vocalist that sings the chorus with her. The song is not impressive at all and also very slow.
FABLES & DREAMS is quite an impressive album of somewhat complex symphonic metal influenced by melodic hard rock. The material is very well written and well produced. Dätwyler takes the material and lyrics to another height with her beautiful voice. The album just gets better every time I’ve listened to it and you don’t get tired of the album in the first place, which is a very good sign. All of the nine tracks are of a really high class but if I have to pick my favorite tracks it must be “Avalon”, “Still Believe”, “The Neverending Story” and “Hymn”. For once the cover of the album looks really great and it sure fits the music and the motives of the album.
I can recommend this to all fans of symphonic metal combined with melodic hard rock. This is a new symphonic metal sensation.
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