Rating:
6.4
Arven - Music Of Light
30 September 2011


01. Music Of Light
02. On Flaming Wings
03. Raise Your Cups
04. My Dear Friend
05. World Of Hatred
06. Dark Red Desire
07. Midwinter Nights
08. Till Death Do Us Part
09. Ruined Castle
10. A Stranger's Story


Recorded by Kai Bender except for vocals, drums, piano recorded by Tobias Paldauf @ Zentralstudio Mainz and Choirs recorded by Stefan Schmidt (Van Canto)
Mixed by Kai Bender
Mastered by Sascha Päth and Michael Rodenberg @ Gate Studios
Artwork by Jan Yrlund


It has been a few years since people started to realise that there has been an excessive amount of female fronted melodic metal bands. As a result, to stand head and shoulders above others has been increasingly hard, and I think Arven realises it too as they certainly know how to differentiate themselves from the normal bunch - by having an almost all female supporting cast to back up their front woman! How about the music? Well, it's certainly within the framework of melodic power metal with vocals commonly associated with symphonic metal bands, but we also have a folkish vibe thrown in here and there, a bunch of other instruments making their appearances throughout the album, not to mention a choir.

Looks good on paper, but it's the actual listening experience that counts. I have to say that the musicianship suffers no comparison issues with male bands. Carina's vocals are of the classically trained variant, so if you are into that sort of style you certainly would not find it offensive in any way. The songs are quite varied and have got some individual identity in them, though not all of them being major successes. The most glaring example being the folk tune "Raise Your Cups" that's clearly more about raucousness and drinks whereas the operatic vocals sounds very restrictive and out of sync with the overall atmosphere. That being said, the anthem nature of "Till Death Do Us Part" and the title track's violin solo are certainly a pleasure to listen to. However, song structures are fairly formulaic, and the other classical instruments feels like they're just there for the novelty effect that mostly appear in the intro / outro of the tracks instead of being fully incorporated into the music. As with most female fronted melodic metal bands, the music has been waylaid by the lack of inspired riffs and solos. It's not that they are not there, but mostly it's just a decent affair more fitting in the background, with the vocal melodies being the dominant factor.

Bottom line, Music Of Light is a polished debut, but probably too polished and too safe and leaves the listener craving something wilder, more experimental and exciting. Those looking for speed and a major head banging session should probably look elsewhere. Then again, there's always an audience that wishes for an album that offers nice melodies that are quite memorable with a tinge of folk.

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


 



Written on 19.11.2011 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.
More reviews by Ag Fox ››

Guest review by
Awesomesaurus

Rating:
7.5
The music on the debut album Music of Light by this German band is female fronted melodic or gothic metal, add to that some symphonic and folk music elements and you have a decent picture of what you can expect. You can hear various renaissance flutes and violins, strings, classical themed piano parts, many decent guitar riffs, licks and solos and a enchanting operatic singer… so that would be the band reference that most of you would be able to refer to. Production of this album is immaculate, the sound is clean and spotless and the soundscape just begs to tell stories in songs. Speaking of songs, I would say that there are ten tracks on this album and if I would time it - I would notice that it will take about 51 minutes to play them all.

Read more ››
published 22.01.2012 | Comments (0)



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dismaleuphony - 19.11.2011 at 06:15  
I feel much the same way about this album. Good lead vocals & choirs, and all the folk elements are exciting, but songwriting just only average in the end. Easy to listen to though, so we'll see if they release something more interesting in the future...
Troy Killjoy - 19.11.2011 at 06:19  
Women or not, some of these songs are a complete mess. I for one wouldn't want to see them try to experiment.

I won't rate it because I won't bother listening to more than a few songs, but based on what I heard this floats in and around a 4/10. Bad.

Nice review though.
Ag Fox - 19.11.2011 at 10:43  
Written by dismaleuphony on 19.11.2011 at 06:15

I feel much the same way about this album. Good lead vocals & choirs, and all the folk elements are exciting, but songwriting just only average in the end. Easy to listen to though, so we'll see if they release something more interesting in the future...
I was wondering what your reaction would be. Good to see that we agree (=
Written by Troy Killjoy on 19.11.2011 at 06:19

Women or not, some of these songs are a complete mess. I for one wouldn't want to see them try to experiment.

I won't rate it because I won't bother listening to more than a few songs, but based on what I heard this floats in and around a 4/10. Bad.

Nice review though.
I'm surprised you could grind through even one song lol Thanks for the compliment though, it means a lot
Troy Killjoy - 20.11.2011 at 03:38  
Written by Ag Fox on 19.11.2011 at 10:43
I'm surprised you could grind through even one song lol Thanks for the compliment though, it means a lot

I managed to get through three, and I can't even remember the titles of the songs.
Void Eater - 20.11.2011 at 05:51  
This is perhaps the least metal band in the history of metal. A bunch of women in dresses, an album cover with pretty lights, an album called Music Of The Light, and the most inoffensive music since... Ever? No thanks. Needs more fat long haired middle aged men shouting about death.
Frank Sinistra - 25.11.2011 at 07:25  
This isn't music this is just another marketing strategy
a shameful release indeed
Susan - 27.11.2011 at 02:08  
Jesus H. If you're going to do some gimmicky marketing stunt at least make it DECENT. What's up with those sub-par lead vocals? At least bury her in the mix so we don't cringe every time she attempts another high note. I might actually listen to this album again if she had actually been MIXED and not just flopped on top of the other music like fresh road kill.

And LOL I see what you guys mean about the songwriting and song structures.

Seriously, this could have been good in a plasticky, guilty pleasure sort of way. This one... I don't know

(P.S. I'm not a fan of Van Canto but they sound great here. Probably the best part of the album.)
Ag Fox - 27.11.2011 at 02:44  
Written by Susan on 27.11.2011 at 02:08

Jesus H. If you're going to do some gimmicky marketing stunt at least make it DECENT. What's up with those sub-par lead vocals? At least bury her in the mix so we don't cringe every time she attempts another high note.
I haven't been into the symphonic category for a while now, so I'm definitely not feeling very authoritative in front of someone who does it as her job :3 But I won't say it's "sub-par". Just nothing special at all to me.

The thing with burying it in the mix would reduce the musical value. As mentioned in the review, the songs rely rather heavily on the vocal melodies (I don't remember a single riff >.>, perhaps I would mark it a little lower now lol), so if the vocals are quite buried then the whole album would be even less memorable o.o
Susan - 27.11.2011 at 02:50  
Written by Ag Fox on 27.11.2011 at 02:44

Written by Susan on 27.11.2011 at 02:08

Jesus H. If you're going to do some gimmicky marketing stunt at least make it DECENT. What's up with those sub-par lead vocals? At least bury her in the mix so we don't cringe every time she attempts another high note.
I haven't been into the symphonic category for a while now, so I'm definitely not feeling very authoritative in front of someone who does it as her job :3 But I won't say it's "sub-par". Just nothing special at all to me.

The thing with burying it in the mix would reduce the musical value. As mentioned in the review, the songs rely rather heavily on the vocal melodies (I don't remember a single riff >.>, perhaps I would mark it a little lower now lol), so if the vocals are quite buried then the whole album would be even less memorable o.o


I see your argument but let me clarify. Even if she were a good singer I still feel she is mixed too far in front of everything else. It sounds like someone recorded themselves doing karaoke. Normally I wouldn't say to bury a lead vocalist in the mix but if you have a crappy singer then no one would notice her flaws if she is just another part of the atmosphere! Seriously, I've heard it done

And going back to your point: if this album were less memorable I'm sure it'd have a lot more fans. Look at half the bands in this genre.. not very memorable yet people just eat it up. Better than getting negative attention? Maybe I'm wrong about that, haha.
Ag Fox - 27.11.2011 at 03:31  
Karaoke is a bit much, and I personally think the mix is okay. And I guess it's because I've heard much worse from some of the cuts material, so my tolerance is higher these days =P That being said, the producer is pretty famous (the one that did the Kamelot and a tonne of melodic power metal albums), so he probably thinks that's the optimal balance here between the vocals are the rest of the instrumentation too XD

well, I don't know how many people eat up about half of the bands of this sub genre of music, though presumably a large portion of those bands gets lapped up due to the front woman's attractiveness. As for this one...
Troy Killjoy - 27.11.2011 at 03:32  
Written by Susan on 27.11.2011 at 02:50
Better than getting negative attention? Maybe I'm wrong about that, haha.

I don't think you're wrong. From what I was able to endure from this album, I immediately noted its complete lack of... anything. It's just there - not memorably bad but not good either. At least with a lot of other symph-metal bands you get the so-bad-you-remember-it material or something at least above average, if not good.

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