Published on Wednesday, 08 July 2015 17:10
Album title: Icy World
Release date: 13 July 2015
Label: Crysella Records
01. Cry (feat. Aina)
02. My Truth And Its Gist (feat. Aina)
03. She's Crying Over The River
04. Dance With Death
05. Icy World
06. Why (feat. Aina)
07. In The Darkness Of The Night
08. Station Of Sadness
09. In Black And White Dreams
10. For Nothing
11. Only Angel Will Turn Away
12. Lullaby For The Lady
The Russian metal and gothic scene has grown very much in the last couple of years and it's nothing strange that hundreds of new bands are emerging from there. The only problem is that most of them didn't find their own style and are leeching more or less on the Northern European tradition, but still, you know, nevertheless this is the problem also everywhere else. In all this flood of new bands coming from Russia there are some interesting acts that gained a lot of attention all around the world and I believe that the new project named Anfel, which is centered around the main composer Denis Lobotorov who managed to bring together an interesting package of musicians, is certainly worth some of your interest if you are into female fronted gothic/symphonic/doom metal. I know that it's difficult to create something original and outstanding within this genre, also in here you won't find any special peculiarity, but nevertheless these Russians managed to make an album that has all the necessary elements for being worth some of your precious time. I must also tell you that after some failed attempts of Crysella Records to release a good female fronted metal release I was a bit afraid of what to expect, but the folks of the label this time had a fortunate hand.
Beside the aforementioned main composer, vocalist and bass guitarist Denis, Anfel features female vocalist Viktoria Belchenkova, guitarist Elvira Alchemida from symphonic/extreme metallers Blackthorn, and the guest female vocalist Aina, featured on a couple of tracks, as well known from Blackthorn fame. Musically Anfel (the name is a short version of And New Future Ever Lives), is very strong, with main orientation on gothic doom metal, the prominent heavy driving and often melodic lines are well befuddled with a powerful rhythmic line, while the gothy and symphonic ambiances created with synths serve to bring kind of a multidimensional rich sound, yet because of the great production everything has kind of depth, density and is even stronger as it would be otherwise. Anfel serves here and there with similar vibes to the early days of Norwegian legends Tristania, but also early Sirenia, For My Pain..., as well Theatre Of Tragedy, and most of all because of variety of female vocals and sometimes similar compositions the German gothic/symphonic metal act Coronatus comes in mind. Vocals are mostly centered around the mellow operatic mezzosoprano of Viktoria, backened here and there by Denis's death metal grunts and Aina's soprano. Most of the time this combination works well, especially on the flowing "My Truth And Its Gist", on the catchy "Why" and on similar in structure "Dance With Death", or even more on the almost solemn highlight of the album, the semi-ballad "Station Of Sadness", where the sound of piano and cello must bring some shivers within this almost epic composition.
Now, even if Icy World offers a lot of great tunes and I must expose the fact that there are no unnecessary fillers, there are some moments where Anfel didn't really successfully managed to take advantage of their talent, for example in the otherwise powerful and dense opener "Cry" where female vocals works somehow silly, or in the mellow gothic/symphonic metal of "She's Crying Over The River". Also the in a way rather scatty "In The Darkness Of The Night" didn't really caught my sympathies and those growls on "Only Angel Will Turn Away" are simply unnecessary. But still, don't take me wrong, those are not in any way that bad compositions, we heard much worse things within the genre from much more renowned acts. The album after all nicely closes up with a combination of immense vocal structures, dark powerfull riffs and gentle melodies within "Lullaby For The Lady". All in all, Anfel's Icy World is a nice refreshment, even if it doesn't bring something that unique, original and absolutely spectacular is a strong, professionally done, well composed and very good produced album and a must for every devoted fan of female fronted metal.
Review written by: T.V.