Angtoria - God Has A Plan For Us All
Listenable Records
Orchestral Metal
13 songs (49'10)
Release year: 2006
Listenable Records
Reviewed by Crims

I stumbled upon Angtoria a few months ago and finally had the opportunity to sit down with their CD and take it all in, after giving it just a quick spin upon the first discovery. What drew me to the band was that Sarah Jezebel Deva is the vocalist. Most of you are probably familiar with her work in Cradle Of Filth as she sang on two of their more popular and well known releases: Dusk and Her Embrace and Midian. I for one have never been a huge fan of Cradle Of Filth. They are very hit or miss for me as I tend to either love certain songs or completely loath others. The two CDs previously mentioned are my personal favorites from Cradle Of Filth despite some complete crap on those releases and part of the actual appeal were the excellent female vocals from Deva.

Angtoria are rather varied in their execution. The overall scope of the music is highly keyboard centric, which is not too surprising since the band started out as instrumental only, before landing Deva. Many similarities can be made to recent Nightwish in this regard. Actually, the more I listen to the music the more I’m reminded of Nightwish as the guitars are rather heavy but have a clean tone that more or less seem to emphasize the melodies with the synth work being the main instrument. The keyboard and synth is well done as there is a lot of variation as they provide Gothic melodies, epic string compositions, and even occasional horns, which aside from Hollenthon we don’t hear all too often. The guitars some times harmonize with the piano or brief neo-classical moments which altogether make for a rather interesting listen if you’re into the whole orchestral based Metal thing. The rhythms themselves are rather varied and while there are no double bass monsters, the majority of songs are up tempo with quick spurts of double bass and lots of fills.

What separates this band from Nightwish and orchestral based groups (mostly Gothic bands) are the vocals of Deva. Sure enough, female vocals are nothing new by now but Deva has such a fantastic voice that her vocal melodies create an atmosphere all their own. There are some choruses on here such as on Suicide On My Mind, I’m Calling, and Original Sin that are fantastic and provide some of the best melodies in the genre. What’s great about Deva is she’s not operatic but has such a pleasant, not-typical to Metal tone, that it helps separate her from other female vocalists. The music also has some Gothic undertones but while the music isn’t exactly “feel good”, it doesn’t have the depressive or melancholic guitar of typical Gothic Metal, even though Deva’s voice some times invokes those type of atmosphere’s all her own with the help of the keys. With that being said, the lyrics seem to be very much in the Gothic vein and are not my cup of tea, but is a personal taste more than anything: as an example Six Feet Under’s Not Deep Enough and Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned are very silly lyrically and in the case of the former do not ruin a very good song, but in the case of the latter do ruin an average song.

Despite some awesome songs with quality synth work, great vocal melodies, and passable guitar riffs there are quite a few songs I was indifferent to. Songs that just didn’t really do anything for me, for one reason or another and I think part of the problem is that the track listing is 13 songs long (with one intro). You could easily throw away about 4 tracks and though the CD would be much shorter it would be far more appealing. Also, as varied as the synth work is and for the most part the tempos, the guitars are one-dimensional. They feel like more of a background instrument at times, that while they complete the overall package, they never really stand out with a few exceptions and for a lot of Metal heads (including me to an extent) this doesn’t constitute an enjoyable listen. After all, Metal should be guitars first, everything else second. For this genre that actually doesn’t work, which is why some people consider bands like this to be border-line Metal or not Metal at all as the focus is on vocal and keyboard melodies, rather than guitar riffs and guitar melodies. When all is said and done, the whole “what is Metal” debate is, well, best debated elsewhere but I can say that if you’re into the whole Nightwish, Within Temptation, Tristania, Edenbridge (sort of), female fronted, highly orchestral type of Metal (music) than this a fine band that succeeds because of an inspired vocal performance and keyboard work but is hindered by repetitive riffing and some silly lyrics. Keep an eye on this band though; it is only their first release and they feature many veterans from the scene so they should only get better.

Killing Songs :
The Calling, Suicide On My Mind, Six Feet Under's Not Good Enough, Original Sin
Crims quoted 76 / 100
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