Lunatica broke into the scene with their second album “Fables and Dreams” which I consider to be one of the best albums with female vocals ever. If you started listening to this band through this album you might be somewhat disappointed with “New Shores.” While “Fables and Dreams” was filled with power/symphonic hard driving metal, “New Shores” take a few steps in the lighter direction.
I do believe there are a lot of positive aspects that are over looked on “New Shores.” First the drummer lays down some solid beats throughout this album hammering out the double bass when appropriate and using fills without over doing it. The drums are what give this album the necessary power and drive needed to make this album strong. The bass doesn’t act just as a background instrument. There are many instances where the bass stands out such as with the intro to the title track and other places where he will rail out a bass line that makes the songs sound 20% better than if they just had a bass player who only followed the guitar chords.
The lead guitarist isn’t a shredder but more of a soloist who sticks with catchy lead riffs. The rhythm guitarist gives some variety throughout this album. The metal style scuffing after the title track’s chorus gives it that much-needed metal feel to bridge the melodic chorus and verse. Then there is the riff in “Two Dreamers” after she says “Nothing is impossible” that gives the song a strong extra kick.
Andrea’s vocals are sweet and unique. Thankfully she does avoid the cliché of attempting to sound like Tarja from old Nightwish, nor does she have a rough voice in the realm of Doro. I’m tempted to compare her vocals to the late Sabine Dunser who used to sing for Elis but even that isn’t a close enough comparison. Andrea is the type of singer that could sing 80’s pop however her voice works perfectly with this style of music.
This album does have its weaknesses. First, the two songs “My Hardest Walk” and “The Chosen Ones” kick into some hard driving riffs with the verses kicking in giving the listener a high expectancy of a kick butt chorus. However, the expected kick butt chorus never comes. Rather, in both songs they kick into something that sounds more like a pre-chorus and then go into the second verse. It drives me crazy because these songs would be prefect hard driving metal songs if there was a decent chorus the band kicked into. The songs aren’t totally ruined though because after the second pre-chorus sounding segment there is a guitar solo that comes in to save the day.
The other criticism I have is “Farewell my Love.” I mean, I like ballads and variety on albums and this song is well written and catchy. However, I do not understand why Lunatica keep pulling in a weak male vocalist to do songs like this. It didn’t work for “Song For you” nor harmonizing on the extra “Emocean” on the last album and it doesn’t work any better here. Yeah, they got away with it in the song “Fable of Dreams” but not since. They just need to fire whoever is doing the male vocals and hire someone like Marco from Nightwish or Tobias from Edguy/Avantasia. I mean, the guy singing “Farewell My Love” might sound decent doing a duet with Linda Ronstadt, but he doesn’t complement Andrea’s voice. Just give Andrea the whole song and it would be much better, I mean, it does have a good melody to it. The other two ballads on this album “How Did It Come to This” and “Winds of Heaven” are much better.
The best song on the album is saved for the last “The Day the Falcon Dies.” It is more of a straightforward power metal song more in the realms of what is found throughout “Fables and Dreams.” This goes to show that Lunatica still can rock it out even though they have been taking a different direction.
The lyrics vary. Some of them sound like they could be posted on Hallmark cards. Some are vague and I’m not sure what they are talking about. I really like the lyrics to “The Incredibles” as it speaks out against the corruption of people who lack in caring for our planet. “My Hardest Walk” seems to be about a leader who is leading a bunch of people into war and is struggling with inner conflict and worrying about the results. The lyrics aren’t bad and the band seems to try to put some positive meaning to them.
Overall, this is a good album if you are one of those people who grew up with 80s pop and still can listen to it, but also like hard driving music. If you want growls you will not find them here and if you want lyrics that are vulgar you won’t find them here either. This is the type of metal that goes well with putting your headphones on, walking along the shore watching the sunset.
Listen to “The Day the Falcon Dies” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR2Nt0-0Xe4