Frontiers Music SRL
“My life was shaken up by figurative earthquakes through several elements shifting in recent years and that’s what this album represents. It’s a challenge to make an album that’s musically heavy without being dragged down by melancholy, but that’s what Sander and I set out to do from the beginning and it worked out beautifully!” -
After 8 years the release of “Alloy”, the debut album of Amanda Somerville's solo band Trillium, the three-petal flower band is now back with a new sophomore album “Tectonic”.
Best known for her collaborations with various high profile European metal bands like Exit Eden, Avantasia, Epica, Kamelot, After Forever, and her amazing musical partnership with Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske under the Kiske/Somerville banner, Amanda Somerville is easily one of the most sought after and gifted female vocalists of the current hard rock and metal scene.
Time to Shine
Full Speed Ahead
Cliché Freak Show
With a vocal range from tenor to soprano and a stylistically diverse singing ability, Amanda’s voice is well suited for multiple styles, but this new Trillium album is firmly rooted in the metal genre, thanks also to the creative contribution from Amanda's husband, former After Forever and HDK guitarist Sander Gommans.
“Where “Alloy” was rather dark and moody and restless, “Tectonic” is on the whole more uplifting and full of strength and character, though it’s just as full of emotion.” - Amanda comparing the album's sound
Starting with the opening track “Time to Shine”, the song comes in sounding victorious with serious, hard-edge vibes from the melodic guitars and heavy beating drums with uplifting energy that makes it sound like they’re telling us “we are now back and better then before”, you can already hear how much production has improved giving us bigger and louder sound in this album compared to “Alloy”. There's a drop from the heaviness in the middle of the song that prepares listeners for something bigger in the next half, the guitar solo and Amanda’s soaring vocals shines so brightly especially in the end where she holds that last high note. The autobiographical lyrics by Amanda said this is a song that says, “OK, I’ve arrived and it’s where I want to be: here I am, now let’s keep it going”. The music video for the song is filled with a kaleidoscope of colors and many different women showing their strength, the video serves as a focus for the album's sound to show the essence of the hopeful and uplifting spirit. Next song “Stand Up” opens to the sounds of the electric guitar and cymbal clashing and with a symphonic direction filling the background. The soft vocals of Amanda takes the lead and the song begins to pick up with heavy playing of the piano and introducing us to bigger string arrangements, the background choir shouting “Stand Up” gives you a sort of a punch in the face of energy and positivity as Amanda sings to you that she will pick you up and that “we can this together”. “Full Speed Ahead” is a heavy power driven track, comes in charging at you with very thick riffs and proggy keyboards. Here, Amanda uses her tenor voice to start off the straightforward aggressive track and her soprano vocals paves it’s way in the second verse, once we reach the chorus line, the two voices clashes together making it sound as there were multiple voices singing along. I was fooled by the name of this song expecting it to be more of a fast song, but with it's pacing gives the track so much heavy progressive metal, plus with elements of symphonic, it reminded me of the late Dutch band After Forever. Next is “Hit Me” comes in with some electronic elements in the beginning with a sultry singing Amanda, but when the song gets to that first chorus she starts singing loud and proud with a fighter’s spirit with the enthusiastic choir work. “Fighting Fate” comes in with its brilliant opening riff and Amanda goes more into an operatic tone in the choir, and after the songs midway point, drums begins rumbling in the background and heavier rhythmic string arrangements.
“Nocturna” begins with a high and mighty power drive and then transitions to a lighter but dark tone just 15 seconds later, impressive electric guitar works was the highlight on this track setting the ever-changing tones leading and standing out of the orchestral arrangement. The vocals stays mostly in the lower range, but when going to chorus line the song changes the atmosphere going to a more uplifting side and finishing off with a choir saying “Nocturna”. “Fatal Mistake” is a tribute to the band’s former keyboardist Simone Oberender who committed suicide in 2012The instrumentation goes more of a sadder approach to the song’s atmosphere and Amanda’s voice follows suit, but once we start reach to the more intense parts, Amanda show off her talented versatility in this track’s difficult and complex vocal structure with many of her ranges going all over the place like if the voices in our heads are asking us “why had this happened?”, “do you know how much in pain I'm in?” A dark song but still retains a positive message in trying to say “what could’ve been done to help?”, otherwise, a beautiful to their late friend. “Shards” is more of what could be a song about a bad relationship or a break-up, the lyrical contents tells you how much lesson one has learned and rather leave the toxicity of someone that was brought into their life behind to move on and find happiness. Instrumentally, another great guitar opening and more of the bass is more noticeable in this track, very catchy song as well. “Cliché Freak Show” is a moodier track with melancholic melodies, Amanda goes for more a theatrical approach and the background music in the opening felt whimsical as if it you were at a circus show. Closing the album is “Eternal Spring”, opening with orchestral strings and a piano melody with Amanda's softening her vocals again. The ballad starts off calming and when song kept progressing, the song picks up more energy giving it a more cinematic feel to end Amanda’s personal album with a positive note.
“The core and essence of “Tectonic” is very personal and comes, basically, from the hearts and minds of a singer and a guitar player and I think that’s very apparent when you listen to the songs. Sander and I didn’t want to overthink things and over-complicate the songs. There’s definitely some bombast in there because we both have a love of keyboard arrangements, but they don’t rule the roost here. Also, the only guest performances are by good friends from my hometown in Flint, Michigan who also played live with me solo and with Trillium, and also some great mates and colleagues of Sander’s, so it’s really a “family” kind of album. We tried to keep things simple, and yet I think it’s anything but low-key!” -
Amanda on the production of “Tectonic”
The score in my very honest opinion, I give the CD a 10 out of 10, I love the album's equal use of progressive and symphonic, it wasn’t too overpowering or overdone, the voice is clear as day and production is more fuller, I couldn’t find any flaws from this album. “Tectonic” triumphantly continues where “Alloy” left off 7 years ago, Amanda may seem to be a very busy woman when it comes to being a musician and a mother, but that doesn’t stop her from writing and creating great music that her fans expect. I'm excited to see what’s in store for her others projects.
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Amanda Somerville – vocals
Sanders Gommans – guitars and bass (except track 3: bass by Mark Burnash, 2nd guitar solo by Paul Owsinski and track 11: guitars by Paul Owsinski)
Andre Borgman – drums
Erik van Ittersum - keyboards