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Canterra – Heartmachine

Canterra
Heartmachine
by Gary Hernandez at 04 October 2020, 6:10 PM

CANTERRA is a Gothic/Symphonic Metal band out of Leipzig, Germany. They formed in 2006 under the name OLEUM; in 2009 they changed their name to AVATAR; and in 2011 they changed their name yet again and became CANTERRA. CANTERRA, btw, may or may not be a variation of the Spanish word “cantera,” meaning “quarry.” It’s also an Arabic female name. Yep, a little too much Google can be a terrible thing. At any rate, under the AVATAR moniker they released one EP and as CANTERRA they have two full-length albums to their credit. The second, “Heartmachine,” was released on August 7, 2020.

Korinna has stated in interviews that the album centers on two major themes: environmental and human self-destruction and living your dreams and changing the world. Overall, it is more about the latter than the former. It’s hard to listen to this album and not have your spirit lightened with its epic riffs, triumphant lyrics, and inspiring choruses . . . which is an excellent attribute given everything that’s happening in the world at the moment.

Musically, comparisons are obvious — EPICA, SIRENIA, WITHIN TEMPTATION, etc. — it is a sizable subgenre, after all. And while CANTERRA does not necessarily break the boundaries of the genre, they are very good. Like most Symph bands, CANTERRA features a strong female vocalist, in this case soprano Korinna König. Her articulate, clean styling is perfect for the band. She does not overpower or steal the stage, letting guitarists Harry and Hannes make their mark. Her vocals are like a fine wine, but if you want the whiskey version, check out their debut album, “First Escape.”

The album picks up momentum as it progresses, with the first several tracks having a “singles” vibe to them. For me, the standout tracks begin mid-way through with “The Day,” “Another Tear,” “Revolution,” and the closing track, “Fear Me – Fast.” The penultimate track, “When The Rain Begins To Fall,” fits into that feel-good singles category. Not that this nor the first three tracks are bad, they just seem more commercially focused and smooth around the edges.

Their first album, “First Escape,” ended with a soft, endearing track (“Der Einzige Erbe” – trans: The only heir) which, even though I couldn’t understand a single word of it (German), made me think of unrequited love and sadness. “Fear Me – Fast” features Harry throwing in some harsh, guttural vocals and is by far the heaviest track on “Heartmachine.” It makes me think of velocity and sharp objects. Fun juxtaposition, that.

Altogether, CANTERRA’s sophomore album is impressive. It’s so impressive, in fact, that I went back and bought their previous album just so I could hear their progression. I was not disappointed. If Symph is your thing, then you should check out this band. CANTERRA is like a beam of light that shatters the darkness. It warms, it inspires, it gives hope, but is still formidable.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. A Lifetime
  2. Heartmachine
  3. No Bitter End
  4. The Day
  5. Another Tear
  6. Revolution
  7. When The Rain Begins To Fall
  8. Fear Me - Fast
Lineup:
Tom Steudel – Bass
Mark Cross – Drums
Hannes Otto – Guitars
Korinna König – Vocals
Hendrik ‘Harry’ Zantop – Guitars and grunts
Record Label: Canterra – Heartmachine
     


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Edited 03 December 2022
 

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