It’s been quite some time since I last posted something like this, but I’ve recently joined the Female Symphonic Metal group on Facebook, at first without even realizing that it’s connected to the YouTube account with the same name, which I had stumbled upon somewhat earlier, and now my list of bands that I should look into more is becoming completely unmanageable. So I thought I might as well offer a little free advertising to those that have impressed me the most at first glance, as well as to the group itself, and I’ll also throw in a nod towards the splinter group, called Laissez Faire Metal. That was created by some users who were unhappy with Simon’s rules, in particular with the fact that he only accepts songs that are recently released and in English and won’t tolerate advertising anything that falls outside the strict scope of the group, so I won’t be going there myself because it’s just these rules that keep out the things that I wouldn’t be interested in anyway, but it’s there for anyone who wants it.
Actually, I’m going to start with Suddenlash, which is a band that I discovered by clicking on their ad and then mentioned on the group myself almost right away. Their entire six-song demo is available and I do recommend that you give it a listen or two, because it’s very rare that you see bands sound so confident and polished on their first album, not to mention on a simple demo. Everything seems to click into place and their vocalist is amazing, though I do think that her voice sounds so much like Tarja Turunen‘s that it made me frown at first, knowing my poor opinion of Tarja’s solo work.
Next is Downcast Art, who make four songs from their first album available before you need to start digging on your own. Now I haven’t done that, but I did listen to the three songs that are posted there and in English and that was more than enough to blow me away. Outstanding voice and another polished and very confident debut album which, at least based on these songs, could put quite a few established bands to shame. The album’s title song is such an excellent example of soft gothic metal with electronic elements that actually work that I can’t help but think that it’s exactly how Theatre of Tragedy should have ended up sounding around the turn of the century, if they wouldn’t have decided to take a giant shit on it all and release those dreadful albums instead.
And another band that sounds amazingly good when you realize that they’re still working on their first album would be MoonSun, though it’d help if they’d decide where they want to post, because you can find some more songs on their Dailymotion page and some others (plus a few funny videos) on their YouTube page. What first drew my attention were their Nightwish covers, making me wonder where was this girl back when they were looking for a new vocalist, but their actual songs are stunning as well and I think that using an acoustic guitar only helps.
Then you could say there’s a gap before Reasons Behind. They make four songs available and it seems that the album itself only had five, so looked for My Last Act as well, but you can hear that insecurity that’s so typical of new bands, making you wonder whether they’re holding back because they don’t know what may happen if they, for lack of a better term, unleash themselves or because they know all too well that their abilities won’t allow them to go further without ruining even what they have. However, there are also moments when it certainly seems that they have much more in reserve and they only need some more practice and confidence, as well as some better equipment, to show what they’re truly capable of.
Moving further down the list, we get to Sense of Creation, though that same insecurity and a sound that I’m not that keen on would have probably made me put them far lower if my first contact with them would have been any of the songs that are listed there. However, the one they linked to on the group was Inner Child (Orchestra Version), which is an absolutely lovely piece. With vocals and compositions like this and if they’ll choose to focus in this direction, they could get far.
And I think I’m going to stop going through the list here, but not before also mentioning Tears of Magdalena, which I believe I bumped into before joining the group. Now I couldn’t personally listen to the band’s songs in general because they insist on ruining them with growls, so I gave up after bumping into a couple of those, but I was lucky enough to find October Rust before that happened, and that is an absolutely lovely piece in each and every way. In addition, I recently saw Vampire Romance linked to on the group and risked listening to it, being rewarded with a piece that’s very good despite “featuring” growls, because it accomplishes that very rare feat of making them work. Of course, I’d still rather do without them, but at least in this case they don’t deter me from enjoying the rest of the song and can partially see their purpose as well.
Last but definitely not least, I’m ashamed to say that I have only recently found out that Xandria released their new album back in February… Still, better late than never, because I was basically hooked on it for about a week straight. Far from me to say anything bad about Lisa, but their new singer just helped the band move up a league. As far as my favorites go, I guess they’ve always been in my top five, constantly making it into playlists when I wasn’t hooked on some new find, but this is the first serious challenge to the top three since I discovered Edenbridge, several years ago. If you are at all interested in the genre and have also somehow managed to miss it so far, you absolutely must listen to this.