|'Mandylion' was the album that introduced Anneke Van Giersbergen, whose outstanding vocals have become the trademark of the band over the years. Her performance on this album is amazing, as she has a certain warmth to her voice which is uplifting. Looking back at the band's earlier work, the doom elements from the debut 'Always...' are almost completely gone, except of course for the dark and somewhat gloomy nature of the album.|
The production is very good, clean and crisp, and the band cleverly added some spoken parts and samples, for instance in 'Strange Machines'. Additional instruments like the flute and the tambourine spice up things nicely as well.
The opener, 'Strange Machines', is supposedly the track that brought the band a lot of airplay and the deserved attention. However, for me there's a song that stands out head over heals from the others. Well, two actually, as 'In Motion' is divided into two parts, the tracks three and eight. When Anneke's unquestionably superb voice hits you in the killer chorus, the sensation is fantastic. This atmosphere is present in other songs, but none had this big an impact on me.
A nice surprise is 'Mandylion'. This instrumental, which reminds me slightly of the ambient songs of Dead Can Dance, sets the stage for the epic 'Sand and Mercury' and its strong opening guitar riff.
Fans of early The 3rd and the Mortal or Lacuna Coil should get this one immediately. Not only is this a powerful, passionate and uplifting album, it is also an essential release for anyone into emotionally heavy music.
1. Strange Machines
3. In Motion # 1
5. Fear the Sea
7. Sand and Mercury
8. In Motion # 2
Duration : Approx. 53 minutes
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