(19 September 2009) AnsoticcA is a new Dutch band certain to appeal to fans of Within Temptation, Nightwish and Epica. Fronted by the stunning Carie van Heden, the lineup is completed by Adrian Delborg (guitars) and Maarten de Vries (synths and programming). These three musicians met in 2008 in a small town close to Berlin and have since brought their passion for epic symphonic-metal to life. After the unsuccessful try-out of some female singers, Carie was asked to join the band. She said, "First I thought they were joking, my voice coun'd fit that kind of music. But I was completely wrong."
Carie studies at the Rockacademie in Tilburg (Netherlands) where Floor Jansen of After Forever was able to develop her talent. Carie gained a lot of experience at more than 400 concerts around Europe with several bands. Her voice has "a high degree of recognition." A very busy young woman, she continues to tour with other bands in Germany. We are going to be hearing a lot more from Carie van Heden.
Although surely influenced by acts like Within Temptation, Epica and Nightwish, AnsoticcA succeed to step out of unifomity and to create a unique sound that attracts and touches. The band say, "Epic melodies, combined with heavy guitars is the simple but effective mixture, a sound that already causes positive reactions worlwide and proves the fact -- 2010 will be the year for AnsoticcA -- and, more important, for fans of good music." Read our interview with Carie van Heden for further information and our pre-release album review below.
The Dark Age is a nine-track 40-minute collection of symphonic metal tracks. The majority of the tracks glisten with Carie's soprano lead and lush choir-like backing harmonies. Guitar riffs explode during instrumental passages while a thick yet crisp rhythm section punctuate the arrangements. An instrumental "Overture" is likely to open the final album. It clearly demonstrates the depth, maturity and power of the individual band members working individually and as a team. While there are allusions to some of the most popular Dutch symphonic metal bands within the tracks, Ansoticca can be most compared to Within Temptation although Carie's vocals are more closely aligned with Floor Jansen of After Forever, Manda Ophuis of Nemesea or Simone Simonds of Epica.
We concluded that our pre-release stream is likely not the final mix since the lead vocal work was heavily biased towards the left side in the stunning rocker "Heaven Burns." Not only are the arrangements powerful, but the backing harmonies have been superbly arranged and Carie's solo in this track most clearly demonstrates the crystalline soprano voice she posesses. Listen for Carie's classical treatment in the bridge. The stunning ballad "Open Your Eyes" builds power from beginning to end. Although no drummer is credited yet, crisp percussion punctuates the band's material. Lush harmonies underline Carie's voice in this standout. The same can be said for the rocker "Silent Tears."
The awesome power of "I'm Alive" is delivered with rhythmic guitars while Carie's lead is offset by lush choirs. The stunning track "On Fire" most clearly demonstrates Carie's range and power, soaring over the epic and highly cinematic arrangement. Ansottica rock through the entire album yet they integrate orchestral passages. "Our Time" is an example of a high power rock tune with quieter passages that give the listener a break and let Carie's voice be heard without heavy instrumentation. The quieter vocal passages and instrumental breaks are tremendous.
Carie was selected to be the singer for Ansoticca because she has the power to deliver vocals against roaring guitars as well as quieter passages. A gentle ballad with orchestral and gothic arrangements, "Rise" is the gentlest song on the album. The constrast that develops as the song crescendos is dramatic. Listen for the Within Temptation-style synth washes and choir. Our stream ends with the ballad "Willing To Believe." Carie's soaring vocal glides over a piano melody and warm keyboard washes in this stunning number that builds with percussion and additional arrangements and ripping guitar excursions as it reaches its climax.
AnsoticcA's album will be released in 2010. Until then, listen to some of the streams available at the band's MySpace. Also listen to selections of Carie's solo work at her MySpace. During the last quarter of 2009, AnsoticcA will finalize plans with their label, finish the album artwork, and tour around Carie's schoolastic schedule. The album will surely attract enthusiasts of the ever-growing female-fronted symphonic metal scene. Release details will be published here as soon as they are available.