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HARDWARES

TOTHEM

Beyond The Sea

(Maple Metal Records)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 7.0

On the surface, one might be tempted to slag TOTHEM off as being just another female-fronted symphonic/gothic metal band from Italy. Although Tothem has been around for more than a decade, Beyond The Sea is the Italian quintet’s debut full-length album. Tothem might not yet be in the same class as NIGHTWISH, WITHIN TEMPTATION, EPICA or fellow countrymen (and women) LACUNA COIL and RAVENSCRY, but they are out to prove that they can stand on their own two feet. If you listen carefully, you can hear varied influences such as ’70s prog rock, jazz, chugging metal and obviously opera and classical elements. However,Tothem possesses a slightly heavier sound than your standard symphonic/gothic metal band, and at times, pull off some unbelievable, full-on, chugging metal riffs. At the same time, the band also swim in the commercial pop rock pool such as EVANESCENCE. The 12 tracks that grace the disc are spearheaded by the diverse vocals of Roslen Bondi and the melodic yet hard-driving music of bassist Leonardo, drummer Andrea, guitarist Black Cyril and keyboardist Marco. Bondi has a great set of pipes and can easily shatter glass with her voice if she had to, but she doesn’t exclusively stay in the high soprano range on every song. She seamlessly alternates between various vocal pitches, which adds flavor and dynamic to the songs. A lot of the song structures and orchestrated textures are guided by the keyboards, which provides some juxtaposing to the chugging guitar riffs. Although this type of operatic style of singing in metal is an acquired taste, Tothem definitely has something special to offer, which will ultimately make them stand out within the genre.



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