Rating:
7.1
Xandria - Sacrificium
2 May 2014


01. Sacrificium
02. Nightfall
03. Dreamkeeper
04. Stardust
05. The Undiscovered Land
06. Betrayer
07. Until The End
08. Come With Me
09. Little Red Relish
10. Our Neverworld
11. Temple Of Hate
12. Sweet Atonement


The last time I reviewed Xandria's music was only 2 years ago, and despite the promise, they had a couple of line-up changes. So let's get this out of the way - The new vocalist and bassist sounds absolutely fine and fit in well. While their previous album sounded like a modern interpretation of Nightwish's Ocean Born, the change has evidently shaken up the band's sound.

It's evident that Xandria has taken a positive step in carving out an identity of its own. Each song feels like it has so much to offer, with the prominent orchestrations and plenty of choirs beefing up the whole sonic experience, marking it the largest sounding album by Xandria to date. Indeed, it would be injustice to listen to Sacrificium in cheap earphones or from those tiny laptop speakers. The result is a cohesive yet varied sounding piece that feels like plenty of care had been put into it. However, it is this sense of care that prevents those adrenalin pumping moments to lash out and fully snare the listener away, which reminds me of an overly protective mother bird preventing the chicks from spreading its wings. Where are those wild moments that ultimately make an album memorable?

That's not to say new vocalist Dianne Van Giersbergen doesn't do an admirable job, because it's her singing that provides the backbone of the lush grandeur. Nevertheless, beneath the bombastic choirs and symphonic soundscapes is something considerably less substantial, with some average chugs from the guitar, and a general lack of memorable hooks from the synths. Of course, it's unfair to review music by imagining a significant part of it removed. Though perhaps the music itself is not engaging enough, which explains why I started to analyse everything bit by bit by taking the music apart, hoping to find any missed details or redeeming features that have been elusive to my ears. It's akin to having great spices for seasoning, but the beef is missing.

This is by no means a bad album, and it's great to see the band trying something different to their last output, but I know I'd rather listen to some Edenbridge or Epica when I'm in the mood for this type of symphonic metal, or whack on Neverworld's End when I'm up for some Xandria. For now, I eagerly await to soar with the phoenix on the cover artwork when the band can finally spread its musical wings.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Band profile: Xandria
Album: Sacrificium


 



Written on 02.05.2014 by
Ag Fox
Ag Fox loves listening to music but is far from being a prolific writer. This corner just shows how territorial he is.
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AngelofDeth - 02.05.2014 at 08:50  
Great review, perfectly sums up the album - not the worst sympho album but far from the best and a significant step down from the previous album.

Though I would disagree about the vox, while not terrible they aren't nearly as powerful as the previous singer.
Xyanade - 02.05.2014 at 13:34  
Wouldn't say this is the top tier album in this genre, but there's some moment that reminds me old Xandria, (of course not Manuela's era). It may not favor those who like last album but it wasn't that bad compared to old entries, and thus, the review is a bit underrated, while the rating is now a bit overrated.
ManiacBlasphemer - 02.05.2014 at 13:49  
Written by Xyanade on 02.05.2014 at 13:34

Wouldn't say this is the top tier album in this genre, but there's some moment that reminds me old Xandria, (of course not Manuela's era). It may not favor those who like last album but it wasn't that bad compared to old entries, and thus, the review is a bit underrated, while the rating is now a bit overrated.


The rating will settle for an appropriate decent one later. I do believe though that this album is as strong as the previous one. It lacks the bombastic elements because of the new vocalist that has a less operatic voice, they had to tone down the sound a little bit. The review is somehow polarized. I do not find so many negative things about this album in it so the rating really confuses me. It should be around an 8 at least.
palesymphony - 05.05.2014 at 13:54  
I know NW fan would love Neverworld's End. I admit that NE is a great album, but the style of NE is different from the previous, the "old" Xandria style, which was really good. With Sacrificium, I think they did a great job - combine the old and the new into this. Manuella is a great singer, no doubt, but Dianne, well, anyone who has listened her band Ex Libris would have known of her strength, extraordinary voices. I've been an Epica fan for a long time before Xandria, but I must say in my opinion Sacrificium is better than The Quantum Enigma. The only reason is track #7 of TQE is too Chinese and nothing related with the whole album. (Track 5 of Sacrificium used some Chinese elements, too, but it isn't riddiculously lame as TQE's Fifth Guardian).
Xyanade - 08.05.2014 at 03:08  
Written by palesymphony on 05.05.2014 at 13:54

I know NW fan would love Neverworld's End. I admit that NE is a great album, but the style of NE is different from the previous, the "old" Xandria style, which was really good. With Sacrificium, I think they did a great job - combine the old and the new into this. Manuella is a great singer, no doubt, but Dianne, well, anyone who has listened her band Ex Libris would have known of her strength, extraordinary voices. I've been an Epica fan for a long time before Xandria, but I must say in my opinion Sacrificium is better than The Quantum Enigma. The only reason is track #7 of TQE is too Chinese and nothing related with the whole album. (Track 5 of Sacrificium used some Chinese elements, too, but it isn't riddiculously lame as TQE's Fifth Guardian).



Well if u have the earbook, listen to the instrumental disc, that will make you easier (than normal version) to find out that the melody of "The Fifth Guardian" is reused in the next track "Chemical Insomnia".
the_scarecrow - 08.05.2014 at 22:25  
It's a great album. A lovely blend of the exotic subtlety, from Kill the Sun, and the heaviness, from Neverworld's End.
Highlights for me are "Dreamkeeper", "The Undiscovered Land", "Little Red Relish", and "Temple of Hate".
The chorus of "Little Red Relish" sounds similar to the chorus of "Firestorm", from Salomé: The Seventh Veil, but that is in no way a bad thing.

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