Released: 2014, Napalm Records
The first time Xandria entered my consciousness was with the release of the album RAVENHEART. Already a devout Nightwish fan, if was only natural I would make comparisons. While I didn’t dislike it, the album left me wanting. This didn’t stop me following the progress of the band and hearing the band strengthen with time.
Xandria’s albums just seem to get better with each new release. It could be the changes in singers; maturation of the band’s writing team; the gap Xandria is filling since the end of first-generation-Nightwish; or a combination of it all.
One oddity of this band is, Xandria goes through singers like I go through…underwear…well maybe not that bad. Yet another new singer joins the band for SACRIFICUM. She is Dutch songstress Dianne van Giersbergen, whose voice is divine.
When listening to the album, the first and title song “Sacrificum” and next song “Nightfall” seem to blend together and create one epic symphonic composition. This could also be because I listen to CDs while doing other things—long gone are the days when I have the luxury of devoting 100% of my concentration to an album; so bands take heed, you have to work harder for my listening attention now. Out of all the songs on the album “Dreamkeeper” has the catchiest tune—easily recognisable while the album plays in the background and I find myself humming the chorus melody occasionally. “Stardust” probably fills my first-generation-Nightwish need the closest.
“The Undiscovered Land” is a languid, eastern influenced piece and “Until the End” will definitely end up one of those songs which an audience will end up ‘oh-ing’ to during its introduction at a show.From “Come with Me” to “Temple of Hate” the album seems flow from a listening perspective and before I know it I’m listening to the last song. Overall, the album lacks some extra speed in places for my taste, which would have helped me distinguish between the songs in this part of the album. If I was given the opportunity to see Xandria live, I would be hoping that these songs would be broken up with some contrast.
While the simplicity and clarity of the piano in “Sweet Atonement” is soothing, I feel like I’m sitting at a concert recital rather than listening to a symphonic metal band and I’ve always been anti slow last song on an album—it really doesn’t drive you to hit the replay button. SACRIFICUM doesn’t have the musical contrast of first-generation-Nightwish, but it definitely helps fill the void.