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Visionatica - Enigma Fire

Visionatica
Enigma Fire
by Gary Hernandez at 27 August 2019, 5:55 PM

VISIONATICA is a Symphonic Metal band heralding from the metal motherland of Germany. Everything about VISIONATICA says Symphonic Metal, from their album covers to their name to their song titles. Let’s say you purchase “Enigma Fire” without ever having heard the band. Let’s say you take said album home and slap it on your way cool turntable because you’re a vinyl type of person and that’s how you roll. You gently set the stylus down and your speakers crackle to life. If you’re surprised at what comes out of those speakers — crystal clear soprano, sometimes operatic, always soothing; inspiring, exuberant guitar solos; epic riffs paired with synthesized violins, cellos, and harps rising in waves like a whole frickin’ orchestra; lyrics about the power and beauty of life, the universe, and everything — if you are surprised by any of this, then you missed some serious clues along the way.

If you’re a fan of the Symphonic Metal, it will be difficult not to be a fan of VISIONATICA. This is not to say they re-define the genre — they don’t — but they certainly contribute to all the things that make it good. Tamara Avodem is an amazing vocalist and every person in the band, including the new bassist, Tim Zahn, is an accomplished musician. With that said, let’s talk about the album. There are lots of exotic sounding arrangements and instrumentation that I want to call Middle Eastern. The band cites oriental Balkan, so we’ll go with that. Other elements include some language variations. The intro, “Amari Sudbina Kali,” for instance, is performed in a language that baffled my Google translator. Whatever language it is, I just wanted more. “To the Fallen Roma,” a heartening tribute to the Sinti and Roma who were killed in the Holocaust, also features a non-English tongue — Roma I am guessing — which plays out very well.  Additional vocals on this track, btw, are attributed to Tamara’s Macedonian relatives.

Thematically, much of the album pays tribute to ancestors. In addition to “To the Fallen Roma” there’s “The Pharaoh,” obviously about ancient Egypt but metaphorically about much more. Then there’s “Roxana, The Great,” which is about the wife of Alexander the Great. And finally there’s “Secrets of the Ancestors,” which is about . . . well, secrets of the ancestors. Beyond giving respect to those who have gone before us, the album also offers a healthy dose of positivity. While it would be difficult chore not to feel uplifted after listening to these nine tracks, there’s more range to “Enigma Fire” than you’d expect.  Sure, “Roxana, The Great” will inspire you, but “Fear” will thrill you and “Incomplete” will break your heart.

My favorite tracks go to “Amari Sudbina Kali,” “The Pharaoh,” “To the Fallen Roma,” and “Rise from the Ashes” (featuring guest vocalistchael Liewald from WINTERSTORM, who also appeared on VISIONATICA’s first album, “Force of Luna”). Tracks that weren’t on my repeat list? Probably just “Incomplete.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good song, but if I want this level of heartbreak — let’s call it ‘utterly shattered’ — I’ll put on WITHIN TEMPTATION’s “Forgiven” (live version for extra pathos, please) and cry like whatever it is that cries a lot, but, you know, in a manly way.

So for everyone out there who says they’ve had enough of Symph Metal, and despite all the other strong Symph Metal bands I’ve praised in the recent months, sorry but VISIONATICA is pretty damn good and so is “Enigma Fire.” Buy it, enjoy it, come back for more.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Amari Sudbina Kali (Intro)
2. The Pharaoh
3. Fear
4. Roxana the Great
5. Dance of Fire
6. To the Fallen Roma
7. Incomplete
8. Secrets of the Ancestors
9. Rise from the Ashes
Lineup:
Manuel Buhl - Guitars
Tamara Avodem - Vocals
Gerhard Spanner - Drums
Tim Zahn - Bass
Record Label: Frontier Records
     


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