With a sound rooted in blazing symphonic metal, a large turnover of vocalists and a penchant for absurd bombast, Xandria have weathered their fair share of Nightwish comparisons. Even though album opener Where The Heart Is Home would fit snugly onto Once with its dramatic orchestration, chugging riffs and spiralling solos, Xandria aren’t mere copyists.
The German five-piece have been on an upward trajectory since 2012’s meaty Neverworld’s End continuing with 2014’s lavish power opus Sacrificium. A Theater… takes their fantastical arrangements to an even darker place and an apocalyptic We Are Murderers (We All) and When The Walls Came Down (Heartache Was Born) are crammed full of screaming electronics, demonic choirs and latest chanteuse Dianne van Giersbergen’s powerful vocals. Yet for all their fairytales and folklore, Xandria lack that same grandeur, heart and sense of wonderment that’s propelled their Finnish peers to world-leader status.