Amanda Somerville is one talented individual. I do not think a lot of people realize how much influence she has had on metal, and especially European metal. For an American, that is an impressive achievement, though she has lived in Europe a long time now. She is a singer-song writer, coach and producer. A lot of the bands she has worked with are part of Europe’s elite such as Kamelot, Avantasia, Serenity, MaYaN, After Forever, Edguy, Epica and Xandria. A very impressive list indeed. She is also part of the band Exit Eden, who released a great album last year. Somerville also has her own band as well, Amanda Somerville’s Trillium. They have just released their second studio album entitled “Tectonic”
Somerville poses a true gift with her vocal range, but also variety. She can certainly hit the high notes and sing in that symphonic metal style that is so popular right now. The fact she can handle straightforward metal vocals with such ease is what sets her apart, and that can be tricky sometimes for symphonic metal style vocalists. Her voice has so many different nuances in it, there is something in every song that is different on the album, which is great. I must also mention the great guitar work throughout the album. Most of it is performed by her husband, former After Forever guitarist, Sander Gommans.
The album starts with Time to Shine. It has a nice melodic guitar opening, but even though it is melodic, it packs a punch. Somerville’s straightforward metal vocals I discussed earlier start and one verse into the first song I was hooked. The well-done chorus allows her to play with her voice a bit, and it sounds amazing. A long melodic guitar solo in the middle of the song really adds a nice touch. One song in and I was already excited to hear more. It is so important for the first song of an album to really grab the listener, and this song succeeds in every way. There are also some very soft vocals in the song that are mesmerizing. The song ends with Somerville unleashing a very long note that finishes off a dazzling opening song.
Full Speed Ahead is another song. We get a raw guitar opening here that leads us into some edgy vocals. After that we get back to Somerville’s straightforward metal vocals with a little high-pitched singing scattered in. The song really has the feel of two songs combined into one, but it blends together perfectly. This song is much different than the opener but is still fascinating. We have a much more aggressive guitar solo in this song that just shreds. I can already tell I will be listening to this album a lot! This song also has a solid chorus and another really long note by Somerville to end the song.
Another song that really jumps out to me is Hit Me. It starts out melodic with Somerville singing in almost a sultry style vocal. The amount of versatility she has vocally is special. The song picks up and fires into the chorus. After that, the songs intensity has kicked it up a notch. I have now touched on three songs on this release that are all different in style, but sound like they belong on the same album. Once again, we are treated to another guitar solo that fits the song quite well. Anyone who has read any of my reviews knows how much I love great guitar work and solos on an album and this one delivers the goods! Another strong song, that is flawless.
As we get towards the end of the album we have the song Shards. Another great guitar opening sets the tone for this song. Every song on the album really has a strong musical opening. This song is more of a symphonic rock anthem. Great vocals, chorus and guitar solo. I am beginning to sound like a broken record here. I just do not what else to say. This album is very special for how good every part of it is. I would add the production and mix of the album are spot on. I just can’t find any flaws to point out. This entire song has a great pace to it and just leaves you wanting more.
What else can I say that I did not cover above? If you are into symphonic metal or power metal and enjoy female vocals this album is quite simply a must own. It is full of surprises with its different vocal styles and stellar guitar work. Somerville is an absolute treat to listen to throughout the entire album. I have to think this release will be one of my top five albums of the year.
Purchase the new album HERE!
Follow Amanda Somerville on Facebook