Xandria - Theater of Dimensions

Xandria Theater of Dimensions cover
Theater of Dimensions
Napalm Records
Xandria is one of those bands that have always been there, receiving acclaim and rightly so, since they have always managed to maintain a certain level of quality, despite the lineup changes they’ve had. Managing to hold on to Dianne van Giersbergen, the singer they introduced in their previous and surprisingly solid album “Sacrificium”, who by the way is completely unrelated to Anneke, they offer a follow up, their seventh studio release overall, that tries to remain true to their style, while attempting to reconfigure the balance between rock and operatic elements. They manage to do so quite elegantly, possibly better than bands that are far more popular ie Epica, but took forever to come to a similar standard and possibly sound more bloated than Xandria ever did.
Without sounding acerbic, Xandria seem reluctant to add embellishments just for kicks, which helps the music being easier to take in, but on the other hand, there are a number of things you can do within the genre without being iconoclastic, so they soon hit a bit of a wall despite their best efforts in terms of pluralism. While they manage a good enough sequence of songs beginning with the polyphonic “Death to the Holy” and the somewhat celtic “Forsaken Love” and the more aggressive “Call of Destiny” in a more classic mode and “We Are Murderers (We All)”, which has the metal elements showing of more… the album only manages to go on for a couple of more songs, before starting to lose steam and even sound repetitive, despite the band’s best intentions. “Céilí” being instrumental and relatively light with some folklore touches, manages to avoid sounding cliché and “Burn Me” manages a good deal of pop metal goodness, without sounding too pretentious, but when the band attempts to write a mini self-contained epic on the eponymous “A Theater of Dimensions”, they just sound unable to avoid mild yawns from occurring especially during the “musical” interlude… “Phantom of the Opera” this ain’t so…
There’s hardly new ground broken, but the Germans manage to sound like the champions of the “second division” that might have also been able to play in the premiere league. Ms Dianne is a good match for them and despite “Theater of Dimensions” not being able to follow up entirely “Sacrificium”, I am sure that it won’t lose them any fans either…