Out Now

(Napalm)

Is operatic metal the new symphonic rock? Xandria certainly hope so. And with the deliciously dark Dianne van Giersbergen at the helm there’s no reason why it can’t be seventh time lucky for a band that almost hit the big time with 2014’s Sacrificium.

If you’re a fan of Nightwish, Delain, Within Temptation et al beware: Xandria might employ a feisty female out front but the similarities end there: this is hardcore stuff from a vocalist who knows no boundaries.

She’s joined by a heavyweight cast of no-holds-barred singers as Theater Of Dimensions digs deep and gets dirty – the pounding thrash metal of We Are Murderers (We All) isn’t for the faint-hearted. Key contributions from Henning Basse (Firewind), Zaher Zorgati (Myrath), Björn Strid (Soilwork) and Ross Thompson (Van Canto) add muscle to van Giersbergen’s melody.

There are more mellow moments. The folksy ballad Foresaken Love is beautiful in its stark simplicity and provides a fitting contrast to the album’s more brutal shades. Theater Of Dimensions dares to be different. But different is good.