Review: Ignea “Dreams of Lands Unseen” [Napalm Records]

Review: Ignea “Dreams of Lands Unseen” [Napalm Records]

- in Reviews

For their new album, Ignea take us on a trip around the world, with musical experiments and strange adventures. Are you ready?

Dreams of Lands Unseen is a concept album about Ukrainian photographer Sofia Yablonska, with each song being about one of her experiences and trips to a different place. So this is basically a mixture of symphonic metal, death metal and world music, a rather creative and fascinating combination. The intro, Téouras, is an instrumental with a Middle Eastern influence, which we also hear in the following track, Dunes. This one is a really kick-ass opening, with highly energized riffs, and Helle Bogdanova’s powerful growls, contrasted by a nice, sing-songy chorus. Her clean vocals are not really lyrical and not really in a power metal style either, but they have a peculiar melody to them, that you recognize immediately. They also sound very nice.

The rest of the album is just as good, and makes us hungry for more. Continuing the diversity of musical influences, “Camera Obscura” has a sort of dance-y industrial metal, growls and lower-pitched singing, and the sounds of a camera going off, with lyrics about the art of photography. “Incurable Disease” also starts with industrial sounds and clean vocals, before using growls and heavier riffs. “Nomad’s Luck” is another fast-paced and heavy track with a Middle Eastern influence. “The Golden Shell” and “Opiumist” both are Chinese-influenced symphonic metal tracks. Shell becomes with a somewhat stereotypical Chinese melody, and overall, feels like a shallow and caricatural use of Chinese music. The same cannot be said for the much more interesting “Opiumist”, a seven minute-long track with traditional instruments (stringed instruments, flutes and even some brief throat singing), electric guitars, and guest vocals by Tuomas Saukkonen from Wolfheart, with his growls contrasting with Helle’s melancholic singing. This is one of the most ambitious and creative tracks on the album, and one that really fulfills its promise of taking you on a musical trip around the world.

“To No One I Owe” is more typical symphonic metal, with the kind of defiant, independent lyrics I love, in both English and Ukrainian. “Далекі Обрії”, the one song fully in Ukrainian, is one of the highlights of the album, with ferocious growl, eerie music box-like synths, heavy and psychedelic guitars.

Finally, we end our journey with “Zenith”, and its nice heavy riffs, strange bell sounds and peculiar singing in English and Ukrainian. It’s a nice way to wrap up the album, combining all of its musical ideas.

This was a very nice musical journey. While not every song is as good as the others, there are many good ideas, many things to enjoy about this album. It has great vocals and very creative instrumentation. It also introduced me to a historical figure I had never heard of, but who seems to have lived a fascinating life. This is a very ambitious album, that should impress you and will definitely be enjoyable.

Interview HERE.

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