TESSELLATION OF THE UNIVERSE
Every now and again an underground band releases an album that is better or at least just as good as an album by a mainstream band. I have seen it with Dynazty, Sunburst, Persona, Walk in Darkness, Moonscape, and now I am seeing it with this Russian-based symphonic metal band called Sanctorium. Formed in 2005, it took them almost a decade to release their debut album entitled “The Depths Inside” (2014). And in March 2017 the Sanctorium have released their sophomore album, “Tessellation of the Universe” via Gravitator Release.
Their music is largely based on the ever-so common ‘beauty and the beast’ approach where the melodic female vocals of the amazing soprano Daria Zhukova are in stark contrast with the colorful male growls and screams by Sergey Muraviev. But this should not be and it’s not a bad thing, especially when they are done well, and the instrumental support such a diverse interplay. The classic mix of heavy guitar riff, delicate keyboard lines and bombastic symphonic arrangements give the songs a certain undeniable Epica vibe. And a quick listen to their first single “Kaleidoscope” is enough to convince listeners of the band’s potential and talent.
Absorbed by Umbra
Sons of Heaven, Maids of Earth
The Threads of Fate (ft. Thomas Vikström)
Name of Rose
Bonus track: The Rain (acoustic version)
The musicians draw their inspiration in various mythologies, legends, the history of ancient civilizations, mysticism and philosophy, which are reflected in well-written lyrics. The album opens with “Absorbed by Umbra” a majestic instrumental piece based on violin and piano notes, which sets the tone for the rest of the songs and flows directly into the second track, “Chronos”. This track has a chorus that reminds me so much of Epica’s vocal melodies from “Unchain Utopia” it’s uncanny. But apart from this, it has a very good choir section and a nice build-up to the music.
Dariya “Eirene” Zhukova – vocals
Olga Gavrilova – keyboards
Alexandr Mutin – guitars
Alexey Scherbak – guitars
Viktor Shevchenko – drums
Ilya Wilks – bass
Sergey Muravyoy – growls / vocals
A stand-out from this album is the oriental flavored track “Chorozon” which starts with a beautiful violin line by Ehab Sami and death metal vocals before Daria’s powerful vocals take over the
chorus. As a Myrath fan, I love those wonderful Arabic melodies and I am always fascinated when a band uses Myrath’s trademark sound on a song and manages to make it their own. And Sanctorium
have done just that with “Chorozon” but also with “Caravan”, which is a bit more mid-tempo and has some intriguing violin and piano lines throughout it as well as a solid rhythmic section. “The
Threads of Fate” is a ballad / duet that features Therion’s Thomas Vikström and has a 60’s rock vibe to the chorus as it brings to mind Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind”. Thomas and Daria’s vocals
work so well together and, alongside the choir section, create a beautiful song with a deep philosophical meaning behind the lyrics.
“Name of Rose” develops gradually into quite a heavy and aggressive song, followed quickly by the equally heavy and aggressive “Nuclear Song”. “Shaman’s Cure” has an impressive bass line as well
as gutturals that counter Daria’s vocals neatly while “Heterogenity Creates…” is an instrumental piece that again shows the band’s skills at creating beautiful compositions. I need to mention
Olga’s rich and extravagant piano work which adds an extra layer of elegant melodies to the songs and round up the band’s sound superbly.
Though not perfect, but far above average, this album mixes all the best elements of symphonic metal: orchestral background, choir sections, strong soprano vocals, a good dose of guitar riffs and some piano / violin lines for an extra punch into something really melodic and heavy. Fans of old Nightwish, Epica or Xandria will definitely love this album and band.
I rate “Tessellation of the Universe” with a solid 8 / 10.
Follow the band on social media: https://www.facebook.com/SanctoriumOfficial/
Buy / Listen to the album: https://sanctorium.bandcamp.com/album/tessellation-of-the-universe