Xandria’s “The Wonders Still Awaiting” Has Significantly Raised the Bar For Symphonic Metal – Out Friday, February 3rd via Napalm Records!


Ryan Murray | Co-Owner | Chief Editor | Contributor

r.m.music84@gmail.com


📸 – Tim Tronckoe


Xandria’s latest full-length studio album “The Wonders Still Awaiting” is absolutely their strongest effort to date! Releasing on February 3rd 2023 via Napalm Records, this absolute must-hear album brings you on a journey of the incredible wonders that we as a human race are capable of!

With their most in-depth collaboration since its inception, Xandria’s upcoming album sees a collaborative effort with a 40-piece classical choir, authentic Celtic instruments, live violin and cello from Subway To Sally’s Ally Storch as well as the Bulgarian National Radio Children’s Choir, all coming together to create one of symphonic metal’s greatest releases in quite some time. 

Xandria has seen some line up changes over the years, and have, with each release, continued to grow and evolve. “The Wonders Still Awaiting” sees a masterful work that substantially raises the bar. It sees a work that is not filled with repetitive formulated aspects that cater to only one genre, but filled with diversity, allowing different elements to shine through, even further solidifying the identity the band has grown into.

The massive and epic “Two Worlds” is a perfect opening with epic choirs, bombastic guitars, and even some death metal growls from Ambre, weaving a tale of two worlds that we find ourself in, one of which can still be obtained if we just change our ways. The verses give off strong “Last Ride of the Day” vibes, while there’s a riff a bit more than halfway through that reminds me a a much heavier version of “Noise”, both songs by Nightwish.

Tracks like “Reborn” have a bit more of a pop/rock sound that is heard in the verses, while the choruses easily reminisce of Epica’s “Beyond the Matrix”. 

With a mix of 80’s classical metal and melodic death metal reminiscent of bands such as Arch Enemy, “You Will Never Be Our God” sees a track that seems to describe how religious extremists from any faith can destroy so much.

Songs like “The Wonders Still Awaiting” illuminate with adventure, imagination and the hopes that we’ll eventually realize the wonders that truly do await uswhile tracks like “Your Stories I’ll Remember” and “Scars” expose a more intimate and vulnerable side of the band. From the interview I had with Ambre, we learned that “Your Stories I’ll Remember” is a track about a family member that Marko has lost, and everything from the lyrics to the instrumentation really go deep and evoke feelings of sorrow and heartache, yet also beauty. 

“Ghosts” a more epic tale with fantastic layering, seemingly about feeling isolated and alone in a world falling further and further everyday.

“My Curse Is My Redemption”, while has some incredible riffing, is a bit on the more delicate side, but has incredible melodies and strings throughout!

If you’re also a fan of power metal, “Illusion Is Their Name” is the track for you! You credible power metal riffing and vocals, but as a variant, has some harsh vocals by Ambre as well. This track has some great hooks as well. 

“Paradise” sees a 6/8 time signature with an urgent call to wake up and stop destroying what could be a beautiful home, but instead is becoming a ‘deathlike paradise’ because of us destroying it. “Mirror of Time” also shows massive variety with blast beats and death metal growls mixed with incredible melodic hooks and instrumentation, with a more classic sounding guitar solo as well over some incredible vocalizations by Ambre. 

Closing out this incredible journey is the massive and epic “The Maiden and the Child” and “Astéria”! These two songs create a massive wall of sound that really leave you with a lasting impression wanting more. These last two tracks have some massive hooks, and I absolutely love the vocal melodies and how incredible well they are layered with everything else. “Astéria”, having been influenced by war refugees, specifically in more Arab counties Ambre had said in our interview, this track sees incredible layering, vocal melodies and has a fantastic arrangement. There are some really solid death metal sections of this track, but are layered incredibly well with the orchestration surrounding it. 

One thing is clear – Xandria, for me personally, has substantially raised the bar with this release. Not everyone is going to like the album due it’s diversity, having so many influences compact into one work, but this album not only sounds incredible, it brings us on a journey of self discovery, imagination, and the strong potential we as a human race are capable of reaching.

Verdict – 4.9/5.0

Be sure not to miss this album, available Friday February 3rd worldwide via Napalm Records!

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