This powerful symphonic metal band hails from The Netherlands and got their start in 2006. From humble beginnings of Martijn Westerholt and Charlotte Wessels and joined by a number of bandmates, they are now one of the hottest bands in the symphonic and goth metal genres. The band has created a number of excellent albums and with each new release they also have toured extensively playing live shows all over Europe and North America. With each release and tour they pick up new fans and their base and popularity continues to grow, and for good reason.
We were introduced to this excellent band when they toured with Xandria and Sonata Arctica when they came through North America. While there for Xandria, I was struck by the excellent live show, powerful symphonic metal and beautiful vocals. As with many bands we're introduced to, it's unfortunate we weren't able to be there from the beginning, as it is we're introducing them here with their fifth album Moonbathers, however we look forward to many more and recommend picking up their previous releases.
Moonbathers - Review
After hearing this band play live and then seeing the release of this latest album, I knew we had a great classic in the genre. With this album we have a great mature sound with an incredible mix of grinding guitars, driving drums and solid keyboards in the background which gives the music a nice, rich sound. On this album we're presented with eleven powerful pieces that fans of the heavier rock and metal sound will love.
As Martijn writes about the creation of this album, it gives some great insight into the composition and as we listen we can see how it all comes together. The hard tracks are hard and fast, the emotionally charged pieces are dripping with heavy and at times dark lyrics but always with a bit of uplifting light interlaced, a bit of hope amidst the oppressing heaviness the music brings. The album flows well, though there is definitely a wide variety of style and themes throughout. It starts off incredibly powerful with the bombastic and heavy piece "Hands of Gold". This driving selection really keeps up the pace and quickens the heart with all of the elements coming together and clicking perfectly. The listener is then launched into an onslaught of varying emotions, at times driving and heavy, other times taking the edge off a bit and splitting the album up with a nice ballad giving the listener a chance to take a breath and calm the heart. Then we're back into it all with one powerful and driving piece after another, all with Charlotte's siren-like voice luring and hooking the listener with skill and remorseless tenacity.
There are definitely some powerful favorites on this album. Of course I gravitate to the more emotionally charged symphonic metal pieces that carry that slight gothic touch. The introductory track mentioned above is one as a bombastic piece with so many excellent layers mixed together perfectly. While "The Glory and the Scum" delves into more of a rock and heavy metal style, the somber and beautiful vocals tie it all together so well that this quickly became another favorite. The heavy use of keyboards and solid percussion on "Suckerpunch" as a firm backdrop and interwoven tapestry for the poweful female vocals and the thought-provoking lyrics bring this one out in star-studded form. Of course we can't pass up the beautiful ballad "Chrysalis - The Last Breath" with it's ethereal touch of soft piano and backing symphonic elements along with the haunting vocals. As the album moves on we come to a definite favorite that has resided in our top 10 since the album's release in the form of "Danse Macabre". Again the band is able to take the powerful percussion and grinding guitars and mix them with various symphonic elements including piano and various layered synthesizers for a perfect backdrop to Charlotte's powerful vocals which on this piece become as much a foundational instrument as any guitar or keyboard might be.
In addition to all of these solid tracks, classic hard rock fans might recognize the cover of Queen's "Scandal" which somehow fits so well with the album and is a very well done cover from these talented artists. This band has really pulled together an excellent album here. From start to finish the listener is held entranced with each powerful and captivating piece. We have a great addition to our collection with this album and fans, both old and new will love it.
Label: Napalm Records