VISIONATICA Enigma Fire (Frontiers) [Release date 12.07.19]

You have to ask yourself, on occasions, where has originality gone?

Visionatica, a[nother] female fronted symphonic metal band, this time, from Nuremberg, failed to make much of a global ‘splash’ with their 2016 debut Forces of Luna.  A perfectly acceptable album in symphonic metal terms, with a decent enough set of tunes, and in vocalist Tamara Amedova, a front woman easy on the eyes and ears.

But it met with something of a ‘yawn’ from symphonic metallurgists, who had seemingly heard it all before.  Because, if you want the likes of Nightwish, Delain, and Within Temptation, why look any further?

And sadly the band’s follow-up, Enigma Fire, while again perfectly competent (and listenable), continues to offer nothing significantly new to an already overloaded genre.  All the expected hallmarks are present and correct.  And all delivered with meticulous Teutonic efficiency.

Had symph metal never been invented thus far, and Visionatica opened for someone like Rammstein, then, yes, Visionatica/Enigma Fire would be mind-blowing.

But frankly, when the originators of the genre are starting to sound clichéd – Within Temptation’s current album Resist being a prime example – do we really need a second generation of ‘more of the same’?

But if you’re a symph metal junkie in need of a fix, then get your rocks off here.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

ARDOURS - Last Place On Earth

ARDOURS Last Place On Earth (Frontiers) [Release date 09.08.19]

I’m beginning to think Frontiers Music will give a deal to just about any female-fronted symph metal band, with a half decent CV.

Visionatica’s sophomore release Enigma Fire – a perfectly competent (and listenable) album – offers nothing significantly new to the already overloaded and somewhat narrow genre.

And so, to Ardours – another goth/symph metal project, this time featuring Norwegian goth/symp metal band Tristania’s Italian lead vocalist Mariangela Demurtas, and multi-instrumentalist and producer Kris Laurent, the pair having formed a bond in the Sardinian (Italian) metal scene.

With Tristania’s Tarald Lie contributing lyrics and drums for the album, Mariangela and Laurent see the project as a fresh and promising style, straddling the lines between rock, metal, and goth.

And that’s just what you get – power chords aplenty, big symphonic swathes of keys, driving rhythms, excellent semi operatic vocals, and a wall of sound interspersed with the occasional quieter melodic interlude.  And all impressively delivered.

But to my ears, I’m sorry, it’s just ‘another’ symph metal album that blurs into the next with all the originality of an Aldi or Lidl ‘own brand’ KitKat.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

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