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November 2010
Released: 2010, Independent
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Still the hotspot in Canada, Alberta keeps churning out quality metal acts. Latest contender for the metal throne is Edmonton’s Samandriel. This young band has just issued their 6 six-song debut EP entitled AWAKENING.

For an independent act they have done a nice job on their initial presentation with a simple but appealing package, a few photos, lyrics and attractive cover art. You can never go wrong with a naked chick on your album cover. The whole thing sounds pretty good as well, they acquired the services of Jacob Hansen to put the shine on the album.

Inside we get about half an hour of Gothic/Power metal. That’s a bit of a surprise because there are very few bands in Alberta doing that. The songs are quite elegant and refined as the quartet, present well-thought out songs. There are some nice mellower segments where the keyboards and bass intermingled quite well as heard on opening cut ‘Holy Load’. It’s still a pretty serious metal affair for the most part with Ryan Hopper providing some dark growls to counter-point the soprano vocals of Doneka Reid. She has quite a nice voice, it sounds like she was classically trained, but I’m not an expert by any means. I do what I like however and her voice has a very sweet component. She can also hit some pretty high notes at times. She sings tales of fantasy and ancient lore which I always find interesting.

I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest that this band would appeal to fans of Edenbridge for example. It’s not too bombastic like Nightwish can be, it is more straight ahead with a real sense of quality song-writing. I think that although this sound has been well-established for over a decade and the field is quite full of female-led, Gothic/Power metal type bands, I do feel that they have enough going for them that they could be quite comfortable at home on the Napalm label for example. Worth your attention.
Track Listing

1. Holy Load
2. Trial By Terror
3. Initial Reality
4. The Mighty Seabeast
5. Demise Of The Icewitch
6. Harmonious Madness


Doneka Reid-Vocals
Oskar Janovic-Guitar
Ryan Hopper-Bass, Vocals
Jeff Black-Keyboards
Jeff Church-Drums

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» Awakening
by JP

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