If you haven’t heard of ANTHEA, this needs to change and you will find out why after listening to them. The LA based Symphonic Metallers are due to release their debut album Illusion this week and after listening to this mesmerising record, it is easy to see why it’s receiving high praise from critics. This stunning debut offers up a variety of bombastic songs that will appeal to a variety of metal fans.
The best album openers have the ability to entice you in whilst creating a grand impact. Illusion’s opener Reach definitely fits this category. Bands WINTERSUN, KAMELOT and NIGHTWISH come under the ‘for fans of….’ section on their press sheet. As a fan of all these bands, I can tell you that this proves to be more than accurate. From the moment I pressed play; I could hear magical NIGHTWISH-esque cinematic scores, KAMELOT style vocals and synthesisers and WINTERSUN type growls.
I could tell from this first track that yes you can clearly hear these influences but they don’t sound too much like the bands listed. They have been able to create their own sound that a variety of fans will love. This follows on throughout the rest of the record.
Eclipse is heroically fast in tempo. It reminds me of a crucial part of a story where the main character has a lot do in a short space of time. The verses in my mind represent our hero running as fast as they can to complete this highly urgent task. The soaring chorus gives off feelings of victory and faith. I should not that there is a part of this song where there is a delicate piano melody providing a stunning accompaniment to Diego’s voice, this strongly reminds me of KAMELOT.
From the off, Moirai is easily on par with one of KAMELOT’s many collaborations. The passionate duet between band’s vocalist Diego Valadez and guest vocalist Chiara Tricarico (ex-TEMPERANCE, SOUND STORM, MOONLIGHT HAZE) works really well, I was captivated by their powerful vocal work. I can hear hints of DARK SARAH within this track, The Wolf And The Maiden comes to mind as I listen to this.
The Light Divine is my personal favourite track on the album. I was immediately drawn in by the gallant score and prevailing vocals. This track is a Power and Symphonic metal fan’s dream come true. It contains powerful verses that allow you to picture riding on a majestic steed to embark upon a noble quest. All of this is backed up with grand cinematic scores. What I also like about this track is that you are not quite sure what is around the corner. There are some unexpected twists and turns, I won’t ruin the surprise by revealing them here. You need to listen to the album to find out what those are.
It ends triumphantly on the songs Reflections and Moirai (Symphonic Version). If this album were a story or film, Reflections would be the part where the character thinks about what they have experienced on their journey and what is to come in the future. The profound vocals and carefully thought out music arrangements do well to portray this. Moirai (Symphonic Version) allows the listen to wind down after being blown away from such wonderous majesties.
Are you ready a quest of discovery and wonder? ANTHEA’s Illusion is the album for you. It isn’t just an album, it’s a remarkable journey that you will want to embark upon again and again. Given these Covid ridden times, this tale of escapism couldn’t come at a better time. This remarkable debut is solid proof ANTHEA are future Symphonic Metal icons in the making.
Words: Lotty Whittingham
Illusion will be unleashed this Friday via Rockshot Records.
Find ANTHEA on Facebook.