Every restart is difficult, especially if one has to replace Lisa Middelhauve. After a break for several years, the Germans Xandria are back with their new singer Manuela Kraller.
Musically “Neverworld´s End“ can outshine the previous records. Mastermind Marco Heubaum presents a really consistent but also bombastic album with nice melodies and emotional piano/orchestra parts. But then there comes the vocal part, of which I can´t say that it sounds bad on the record. Manuela tries to follow the vocal style of Tarja Turunen but unfortunately she isn´t as multifarious as the former Nightwish singer. Her predecessor Lisa, who mastered besides high and deep keys also some growls, managed to make something special of the band, using exactly that variability.
Manuela was touring with the band already, and maybe this is the problem I have, I know what she can do live and only afterwards I listen to the album. And unfortunately I have to say with regret that she will not fulfill the high expectations, which this album will impose on her when it comes to gigs. Especially with the high notes, she had challenged a certain pain threshold. I´d honestly love to be convinced I was wrong when seeing her next time because I really wish the band to succeed. But something is clear, Manuela needs much more practice for this.
For the next album, I´d wish for more variety concerning the vocal style and melodies as well as the compositions because after five songs the record slowly becomes boring. The songs are not bad but just too similar and for my taste, it is too much of a copy of the old Nightwish records.