Qantice - The Anastoria - (8.5/10)
Published on March 12, 2019
If you’re looking for a power metal album to reawaken your childlike sense of whimsy and wonder, Qantice’s The Anastoria is for you. Its sci-fi-themed storytelling is full, rich, and sickeningly sweet. Needless to say, I love it. The orchestrations are expertly composed and lively, which makes for an immense and powerful sound.
This first track* starts with such fucking vigour that I listened to it probably six times before I even thought about the rest of the album. The furious gallops in the first verse gave me goosebumps and David Akesson’s vocals instantly stole my attention. With Alexandra Laya’s climbing violin lines and the bountiful orchestrations to finish it off, I was (to say it conservatively) very excited to hear what else The Anastoria had to offer.
This is Qantice’s first album with their new lineup, now featuring the aforementioned David Åkesson on vocals and Alexandra Laya on violin. Additionally, as with their previous albums, there are a slew of session musicians on various woodwind instruments and piano throughout the album (which makes me extra happy; the fewer MIDI tracks, the better).
While the rhythm and solo guitars are strong and the drums beat ridiculously fast through the entire record, Laya’s violin playing has to be the most metal part of the record. She plays that god damn thing so fiercely, especially in ‘Gone Astray’ and ‘Rivers Can’t Fly’, that I wouldn’t be surprised if she had to replace her bow after each song she recorded. Plus, her soloing in ‘Mad Clowns’ holds its ground to the masterful guitar solo.
Now, I’ve talked a lot about the sheer speed in this album, but that doesn’t mean that that’s all these guys can do. In fact, their skillset and songwriting encompasses a vast array of musical space, from the light, peaceful reflection of ‘Cosmic Sway’ to the bouncy swing of ‘Krooner’ to the dynamic, fantastical atmosphere created in ‘Timeline Tragedy’. No one song on this album sounds like another (or even derivative of another) which allows for a uniquely variable product.
The impact this record produces can be felt from the outer reaches of the galaxy. There’s so much to be heard within that it’ll take numerous playthroughs until you stop hearing new things, like that tasty trumpet lick toward the end of ‘Timeline Tragedy’. This album is an absolute must-listen. I guarantee that it’ll impress you. And, if you aren’t impressed by it, I will give you nothing.
*I don’t consider the minute-long instrumentals as the first track, partially because every power metal album has one and it gets redundant mentioning them and partially because I hate them with a burning passion because 90% of the time they’re a waste of space.
Originally written for PowerThorn.com