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Tothem - Beyond The Sea Award winner

Beyond The Sea
by Daniel Fox at 03 December 2013, 2:57 AM

The thing I used to enjoy about LACUNA COIL was that they were the only band I had ever known of with that particular sound; later I discovered RAVENSCRY whom created a more technical and operatic form of Gothic Metal, and just now, the melodic Gothic band, TOTHEM. Oh, and all three of these bands are from Italy, and all are fronted by female vocalists. Quite an effective musical trend, Italian bands seem to be setting; I won't complain. In a way, TOTHEM sounds like a combination between the previous two bands, combining the driving, crunchy Rock-based music of old LACUNA COIL, and the symphonic undertows and operatic vocals of RAVENSCRY to create not-just-another-female-fronted-symphonic-band, but something unique and worth a listen.

The fast and hard-hitting "Run to You" kicked the album off perfectly, and I can almost instantly hear the RAVENSCRY vibes creeping through, yet smoothed over with vocals that sound very heavily influenced by Cristina of LACUNA COIL…. That ever so often transition to the more operatic kind belted out by Giulia of RAVENSCRY. That being said, it proves that Roslen has quite an impressive vocal range, and additionally is technically able to quickly alternate between multiple types of vocal styles without missing a beat or note. Nicely contrasting is the almost folk-like, "This is the Time", which sounds melodically and rhythmically influenced by ELVENKING (yes, another Italian band; I am sure loving this trend). Roslen once again hits soaring, high soprano notes, anchored by seductive, deeper tones. "Rescue" is possibly one of the heavier tracks on this album, even though played at a relatively mild-paced tempo. The bulldozer-chugs are balanced out by Roslen's exceptional voice; I am even noticing her accent coming out more in this song specifically, which of course adds a unique flavor all over again.

Touching back on the folk motif, much to my pleasant surprise is "The Witch", with many medieval-inspired melodies and vocal rhythms, and is therefore infectiously catchy. An acoustic version of this track would have been perfect also, but the addition of metallic guitars adds a thicker, modern flair of epicenes. Although the rest of her performance on the album is stellar, the vocals literally made the hairs on my neck stand up this time. Going back to Symphonic Rock / Metal roots is the up-beat and driving "Cross the Line" which doesn't surprise nor disappoints with its predictable, but effective riffage; additionally, Roslen's range, by now, officially hit superhuman heights. The finishing track, "Where the Angels Lie", opens with a steamroller of a distorted bass chug, and is overlaid with arabesque keyboard melodies. Again, much of the song reminds me of LACUNA COIL, particularly with regard to the seductive vocal melodies. The band in fact did a great job of making this song almost hypnotic, in the drudging chugs prevalent throughout the song, feeling as if one is being gradually pulled faster and faster down a black river.

While I felt some diversity amongst the tracks was lacking, individually they are strong songs, even more so because I recognize similar sounds from bands I already love, whether the effect was intentional or not. I also believe that Roslen's voice may be the turning point for people's opinions on TOTHEM, because she definitely performs some of the best female metal vocals I have heard. Italy simply needs to keep turning out excellent metal bands, and I will definitely keep an ear open.

4 Star Rating

1. Run to You
2. Smile Again
3. This is the Time
4. Light of Soul
5. Rescue
6. Beyond the Sea
7. Fight with You
8. The Witch
9. So Close so Far Away
10. Cross the Line
11. Still
12. Where The Angels Lie
Roslen – Vocals
Black Cyril – Guitar, Vocals
Marco – Piano, Keyboards, Synth
Leo – Bass
Andrea the Joker – Drums / Percussion
Record Label: Maple Metal Records


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Edited 27 November 2022

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