Andem - Pendulum of life 4.5/5

Reviewed: 9-26-08





Tracklist:

1. Intro
2. Nine circles of hell
3. From nothingness
4. I see the look
5. The sign
6. Silver winter tears
7. Legend of poisoned souls
8. Pendulum of life
9. Mad angel
10. Angel, demon and me


My quest for Russian bands takes a big step forward with the discovery of Andem and their full-length debut 'Pendulum of life'! Formed in 2005, Andem contains experienced Russian musicians that have been or are in many bands. Most familiar to me are guitarist Sergey Polunin of the heavy/gothic metal band Lady Winter (who currently have a solid debut 'The rain can't be forever'), and keyboardist Natalya Ryzhko of the power metal band Callisto (who currently have a very good 's/t' debut).

What's so great about 'Pendulum of life' is that it's the first excellent Russian-language CD (the title and tracklist are translated, as usual) that features the "beauty and the beast" vocal style (with exception of Alkonost, but they're a different music style). What's even better however, is that Andem blends symphonic metal, gothic metal and power metal to perfection. Yep, Andem is the Russian answer to the popular group that contains Nightwish, Epica, Atargatis, Dawn of Destiny, Seraphim, Abonos, To Elysium, Adastreia, Trail of Tears and After Forever. I know these bands aren't directly comparable to each other, but I hear similarities to all of them with Andem, and as far as quality, Andem is up there with the best of them.

The band is fronted by the wonderful Yuliana Savchenko (the "beauty"), whose voice mostly remains in the soprano range, and she's easily competitive with other female vocalists. Even though her role dominates the "beast", those who like the "beauty and the beast" vocal style will be more than happy with the vocal side of the CD. The "beast" vocals are strong and as we typically get with this vocal style, the 2 vocalists alternate their singing but are also in harmony some of the time.

As for the musical side, it's awesome! Seriously, there are plenty of powerful riffs, excellent guitar solos, more than enough speed to satisfy, and while the keys are upfront a lot of the time, they are performed in a catchy and melodic manner. It's obvious the band is full of experienced (and talented) musicians, as the songwriting is outstanding. It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the faster songs, but special mention must be made of the galloping and monster track 4 "I see the look", and the slow and smooth track 8 "Pendulum of life" (which shows the softer side of the band), as both are exceptional.

The fact is, if you're a fan of the "beauty and the beast" style of symphonic/gothic/power metal, it shouldn't matter that this is a Russian-language band. I know there are many of you that have been hesitant to jump into the language, but you simply must pick this up. It's really that good, and it's definitely going to be a favorite of mine for a long, long time.



CLINT




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