Release Date: January 30th, 2015
Label: Self Release
I have to say, it is rather traditional to go easy on indie new comers for many of us reviewers, especially if we know how hard it is to create an album from zero to release. Therefore, my review of the Spanish band, Annysia will be more within the lines of friendly advice at points where I think the band needs to improve itself. It is not a new release, but I just received a review copy.
The music is good. Nothing ground breaking, but it is a rare – VERY RARE – commodity to come up with a neck breaking hit on the first disc. I’m looking at my music archive and there are some examples, but scarce to say the least. The thing to focus is that the band has potential. Guitars, especially in the lead section, needs some love in their future works but the sound of the disc, Nephilim, is rather pleasing to the ears. Although it is not in the same league with A class releases, it still does not disturb the ear. Though it would be best if the band ditches the rhythm guitar tones that sound like a Zoom 505 to my ears with their next album. For those who don’t know; Zoom 505 was a legendary distortion pedal with a horrid sound that also sounded good for some bizarre reason. Call it masochism. Anyway, vocals. Vocals is a point where the band is both powerful and weak. Whenever the singer, Demontia (more about this later) sings within her comfortable range, she sings well. It needs more work? Sure, but then, almost all the singers on their debut albums need that except for some epic few (like Dio on Holy Diver – which is not his first time, I know – or Darren Hayes on Savage Garden, who is a rare gem regardless of genre). However, whenever Demontia sings in high keys, things change and the singing becomes aimless. She needs to better learn her range and focus on her powerful traits rather than trying to be someone else. A mistake (almost) every new band makes. We don’t need another Nightwish or Within Temptation or Lacuna Coil or -insert any other known band / artist name here – in that matter. In Demontia’s case, it would be best for her to try singing from a lower key. It may change the worlds in her performance. And the occasional growls, I’m not digging it, sorry.
Keyboard performance and orchestration is generally good through the disc. Intro is killer, although too long for an instrumental piece that opens an album. It really gets you into mood, just like the outro. Not sure I would say the same for the rest of the tracks. That is probably because there are several that sound pretty much the same. The track Nivek is a bit different both in composition and in sound. It also features Mike LePond of Symphony X on bass as a guest. It sounds more old school black metal / folk metal than power metal both with its up-tempo beat and because of the noisy mix. No need to say anything about Mike LePond’s performance. The man is a beast.
Now, some notes for the band; first, let’s start with music. Rather than aiming for a full album, unless it blows the minds and souls, it may be better to focus on lesser tracks with more variety and punch. It is hard, I know. You want to present your work to the world of listeners, yes. But still, this is a thought to consider for a new band that still searches the niche (not a must but an option).
Presentation is another, rather big issue in this case. Many first time bands make the mistake of leaving presentation behind in their quest to reaching bigger audiences. Solely relying on Facebook or a webpage poorly designed, photo sessions done by friends or artworks bought from stock websites (I’m giving general examples here) are rather poor choices that almost always hurt the band in the long run. Especially after releasing a CD. Demo, album, ep or a fun track, it doesn’t matter; a band has to present itself at its best. Photos should be professional, which is not doing too good in Annysia’s case, artwork should be striking (again, an issue here) and a website and social media presence to follow with visually appealing design. I know, handling all these is very hard at the beginning. Been there, done that. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it still is a must. Also, using nicknames, code names, titles are fun but they are also so 90’s. We are living at a time of social media and personal communication which are on a level where people share the food they eat with photos, updates, messages (they even picture the post process which is a bit too grotesque, I accept). That is stupid, but then, so is using fossil fuel. Still, they are both parts of the world we are currently living in.
Another thing; fantasy as a genre, no matter the medium, requires everything to be epic. Epic wars, epic songs, epic books, epic visuals, epic movies etc. When you are aiming for something that requires this much epicness, you have to make it EXTRA sure that you can carry the weight it comes with. If you are taking it seriously, it should show with everything you do. Production, details in booklet etc. Check Rhapsody of Fire’s first album, the Legendary Tales. You can also make fun of it like Bal-Sagoth did for decades. If that is not the case, then Annysia should focus on these things as fast as possible, near to improving their musical side with a never ending practice loop. There is no stop to improvement. Don’t give up, it never achieves anything.