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Anthea

Tales Untold

Review by Gary Hill

While Anthea doesn't reinvent the wheel, their version of symphonic and progressive metal is an intriguing blend of sounds. They can get brutal, but also lush. It has technical moments along with more visceral. This is a strong album based on an inventive example of melding varying types of metal into something unified.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Tales Untold
Symphonic metal, with both angles on full display, brings this into being. This is a furious and intense ride as it gets underway. This is such cool stuff. There are thrashy moments along with more technical ones. It's a really dynamic cut. It even drops back to a mellower, balladic section. It fires back out to the song proper to take this to its closing.
Ascendence
This comes in driving and yet symphonically tinged. It drops to a more stripped back section for the first vocals. This screams out further down the road. It's quite a varied and dramatic ride.
Song for Winter
Coming in fast-paced and suitably symphonic, this drops back to an almost balladic approach for the first vocals. It intensifies to seriously powerful symphonic metal for the chorus. When it drops back to the mellower section for the next vocals, it's more meaty than it was on the previous verse. Again, we power back out to more symphonic metal from there as the chorus hits.
The Deceiver
Coming in dramatic, this works out to some seriously thrashy zones as it kicks into overdrive. The vocals on this are on the brutal side, at least on that section. This thing moves through a lot of different movements, and we do get more melodic vocals further down the road. This is a real powerhouse with a lot of different things built into it.
Sapiens
Tribal percussion starts this cut. Some other world music textures emerge to take it from there. We're nearly a minute in before it turns metallic. Even then those world music things are still there. This turns to something that is like a mix of thrash and klesmer music further down the road. This thing just keeps reinventing itself. I love the tastefully staccato pattern that serves as the backdrop for the first vocals. They retain the world music things as it grows. For some reason I'm reminded just a little of Rainbow's "Gates of Babylon," but this is much fiercer. This turns seriously proggy as it works onward. There is some killer keyboard work at times. They take us out into some extreme metal stuff for a time. This is so dynamic and diverse.
Memoriam
Intricate acoustic guitar with some icing on the cake accompaniment starts this track. It builds in melodic ways from there, remaining mellow. The vocals come in over the top in balladic ways. This doesn't get into seriously metallic zones, but it does get more involved and rocking at points.
Looking Glass
This has a great combination of extreme metal, symphonic and other concepts. This is diverse song that covers a lot of territory.
Empyrean
This gets very brutal at times. Yet it also has some seriously symphonic metal sections, and it drops to mellower, almost operatic territory. There are some of the most effective symphonic metal sections of the whole album built into this. This has some real crazed moments. It also has a lot of magic. This might not be epic in terms of length (just over four minutes), but it's definitely epic in scope. This is one of my favorites here. Everything about this just works so well, and it seems to encompass all sides of the band's sound.
Sunder Heart
Fierce and powerful, this is another great example of the dynamic and driving nature of this band. It gets into some brutal zones at times, but it's also symphonic and at times on the mellower side.
In Time

Here they cover a song written by a guy I've gotten to know as a friend over the years, Robbie Robb. They put in a powerful metal version of the tune. It's driving, dramatic and anthemic. They restrain some of their more diverse tendencies here, but still manage to make this their own.

 
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