The symphonic metal genre has an eventful history and is still dominated by female fronted pioneers like Nightwish, Epica and Within Temptation, which almost belong to the general musical education. In the meantime there are countless comparable bands in the genre, and also German bands like Xandria and Beyond the Black have long been considered established.
The six-piece symphonic/folk metal band Coronatus, which was founded near Stuttgart/Germany in 1999, has even two female singers at disposal, Moni Francis (alto) and Leni Eitrich (mezzo-soprano), who show their singing skills on the band‘s tenth album „Atmosphere“, which will be released on December, 3rd. Both ladies are the result of another line-up change and make their debut as new band members.
The last two albums „Secrets of Nature“ (2017) and „The Eminence of Nature“ (2019) dealt with topics such as nature („Die See“, „Tränen des Himmels“) and worries about the natural resources of our home planet („No Planet B“). This guideline is also continued with the new work, as the album title „Atmosphere“ already suggests: It’s about all kinds of atmospheric phenomena that also reveal themselves daily in a figurative sense. Stylistically, I see the emphasis on richly orchestrated symphonic metal, but folk and medieval influences cannot be denied either. There are also some musical surprises, but more on that later.
„Atmosphere“ is available as a digital download and as a 2-CD digipak. With the second disc you can listen to the entire album in a purely instrumental version. I don’t necessarily need that, but if you like it, you should enjoy. The actual album offers ten songs and is introduced by a short, but enjoyable intro. The following „Justice in the Sky“ is a neatly arranged symphonic metal track in which both singers with their different voices harmonize perfectly. The very high ranges are just as impressive as the powerful deeper voice. A very successful start, I dare to say. The fast-paced „To the Gods of Wind & Sun“ with its catchy chorus is also recommended. Again both ladies convince with solemn singing and lyrics, which just manage not to sound kitschy („To the goddess, who hover over, hover over this land. Hear her drumming to praise the goddess, ruling over the sunlight!“). In any case, the hooklines have untreatable potential for addiction; for me the best song on the record.
„Time of the Raven“, which was previously published with a music video, sounds too much like Nightwish’s „Last of the Wilds“ for my taste. Okay, it is common practice that influential bands in the genre are used as a musical pattern, but here I lack the musical independence. Speaking of Nightwish: With „Williwaw (A Musical Tribute to Nightwish)“ the Finns even have a song dedicated to them that could actually have come from the pen of Tuomas Holopainen. The song is well performed, but qualitatively it doesn’t quite come close to the legendary symphonic metal heroes.
The rocking „Firedance“ with its pop music sounding chorus and the atmospheric ballad „The Distance“, which once again brings out excellent vocal performances, are recommended as well. „The Swarm“ and „Keeper of Souls“, both up-tempo songs and with a rather folky touch, also sound very good. The jazz/soul music shaped finisher „Big City Life“ is completely out of line in terms of style, even if Moni Francis, known from TV, cinema and cabaret appearances, can present her multi-faceted voice here. Still, the song seems like a foreign body that leaves me shrugging.
With solid compositions and dense orchestration, „Atmosphere“ definitely knows how to please, even if no milestone of the genre has been created. There are surely plus points for the two new singers, who cover the vocal spectrum professionally and with commitment. Kristina Jülich’s violin also produces a special flair. Unfortunately, there are a few songs that I like less, but this may also have something to do with my own expectations as soon as it gets to symphonic metal. Anyway: Some really awesome tracks and the ladies’ strong vocals easily tear it out.
Release Date: December 3rd, 2021
Label: Massacre Records
2. Justice In The Sky
3. To The Gods Of Wind & Sun
5. The Distance
6. Williwaw (A Musical Tribute To Nightwish)
7. Time Of The Raven
8. The Swarm
9. Keeper Of Souls
10. Big City Life
2. Justice In The Sky (Instrumental Version)
3. To The Gods Of Wind & Sun (Instrumental Version)
4. Firedance (Instrumental Version)
5. The Distance (Instrumental Version)
6. Williwaw (A Musical Tribute To Nightwish) (Instrumental
7. Time Of The Raven (Instrumental Version)
8. The Swarm (Instrumental Version)
9. Keeper Of Souls (Instrumental Version)
10. Big City Life (Instrumental Version)