Awakening EP

Written by: PP on 17/01/2011 01:56:59

Samandriel from Edmonton, Canada are either a brave or an ignorant bunch, sending in a copy of their debut EP "Awakening", considering what our usual stance is with gothic metal and/or female fronted heavy metal given the staggering amount of saturation present in both genres. Much bigger productions than theirs get slaughtered frequently on, but fortunately this is not going to be the case for Samandriel, on the grounds of the following few things.

First off, given their distance from Europe, Samandriel automatically sound distinctly different from your average dime-a-dozen gothic metal act from this region. Though still faithful to the genre's core dynamics, Samandriel toys around with the conventional rulebook and pushes in their own interpretations of the style, starting from acoustic guitar intros that borrow from Spanish music, to heartfelt, down-to-earth solos and consistently solid vocals courtesy of Doneka Reid. She sounds like she's classically trained, her voice being closely reminiscent of Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish) given a operatic-but-powerful approach to singing. This is extremely positive, because lately far too many gothic metal groups utilize a silky-soft vocalist with a delicate voice, which is often in stark contrast to the perceived heaviness of their soundscape otherwise. Here, the rest of Samandriel don't let her off so easily, with Oskar Jankovic displaying some excellent and varied guitar playing throughout, and a supporting growler adding some sparingly used shrieks on the background when necessary. It takes some superb pipes to still stand strong facing such stiff competition for space in the soundscape.

The EP is symphonic, but not overtly so. The synths may be present continuously, but the focus is not directly placed on the theatrics. More often than not, they are used merely in the background to give both space and texture for the rest of the band to perform their duty. All of this is probably why Jacob Hansen chose to master this record, giving it a crystal-clear, modern sound that leaves many of their peers in its shadow. "Awakening" is only an EP, but if this is an indication of what's to come, then their eventual debut full length should be enough to get them signed on one of the big gothic labels here in Europe.


Download: Trial By Terror
For the fans of: Nightwish, Epica
Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.10.2010

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