Vuur - In This Moment We Are Free – Cities album review

Holland’s prog/doom princess returns to get heavy

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There’s something hugely invigorating about hearing Anneke van Giersbergen fronting a metal band for the first time since she left The Gathering a decade ago. Not just the single finest female voice our world has to offer, but a songwriter of startling depth and skill, she has truly excelled in this new environment, with an album full of dark, dramatic and dynamic prog metal that embraces both the singer’s wildly varied past, her long association with Devin Townsend and the crunch’n’churn of the 21st-century tech metal movement. The soaring, subtly skewed melodies and vibrant ensemble performances lift In This Moment We Are Free far above the average. From richly unsettling opener My Champion – Berlin (each song is dedicated to one of Anneke’s favourite cities) to the blissful refrains and woozy drift of Sail Away – Santiago, this is a simply magnificent debut.