The Dutch symphonic metal band swings for the fences on its fourth album, delivering a convoluted, long-winded meditation on organized religion.
The Dutch symphonic metal band swings for the fences on its fourth album, delivering a convoluted, long-winded meditation on organized religion, but despite some inspired moments, it winds up being dragged down by the sheer weight of it all. Singer Simone Simons has never sounded better, her operatic high notes approaching the power of the formidable Tarja Turunen, as Nightwish-derived songs like "Never Enough" and "Beyond a Belief" give us some of the most accessible melodic metal the band has come up with to date. Epic tracks like "The Obsessive Devotion", "Fools of Damnation", and "Death of a Dream" showcase the band's ever-growing power and versatility, often eschewing typical symphonic arrangements in favor of something as aggressively theatrical as Dimmu Borgir. As time wears on, however, it becomes more and more difficult to match the band's enthusiasm, and as the 13-minute title track brings this bloated, 75-minute album to a close, we're wishing they'd ended things a half hour ago.