ANA albumANA
The Art Of Letting Go 

If you’re looking for your next dose of emotionally-charged symphonic metal, Australia’s ANA‘s inaugural release is waiting to grace your ears. Blending together influences from classic rock, symphonic metal, and hard rock, ANA‘s forthcoming debut EP The Art Of Letting Go offers a palatable listening experience tailored for fans of the genre.

The album makes a slower-paced start with I’m Not The One, beginning with electronic musical elements and later introducing listeners to the heavier core sounds. While the song features powerful vocals, bluesy guitar phrases and a well-executed guitar solo, there was a slow-building tension that never quite finds its release. Anna Khristenko’s emotive vocals aptly emphasize the lyrical themes of emotional turmoil.

The following track, Scars, tells the story of regret, longing to turn back time, and a determination to never again compromise one’s self for the sake of someone who inflicted great pain. At 3:34, the track is the shortest of the album and is reminiscent of later-era Delain in terms of melodies, orchestration and overall atmosphere. There’s a beautiful, catchy chorus that lends a glimpse into the breadth of Khristenko’s powerful, dynamic vocal range.

Ouroboros, the third track and second single from The Art Of Letting Go, features memorable melodies that are somewhat reminiscent of eastern European folk music. The song’s introductory hook pays a strong resemblance to Journey’sSeparate Ways before it progresses towards catchy, well-composed pre-choruses and choruses and Josh Mak‘s catchy guitar solo. Synthesizer organs complement the song’s dramatic tone, though their higher frequencies at times surprise the listener and overpower the vocals. The organs might have fulfilled their intended dramatic impact with additional orchestration to balance the overall sound. To keep the listener interested for a longer song like this, I would have loved to hear more frequent musical changes.

Lyrically, Ouroboros is the album’s most powerful track. Depicted in their logo and album artwork, the title is the namesake of a Greek-derived mythological serpent consuming its own tail, representing a cycle of live, death, and renewal. Powerful imagery seen in the band’s EP and single artwork, making it a prominent thematic element for the band.

In Sirens, the penultimate track of The Art Of Letting Go, the band depart from synth-dominated tracks, transitioning to more pronounced symphonic elements. The song features orchestral sections, including a well-placed guitar solo that blends tastefully the symphonic elements. Tory Giamba‘s bass and Anna‘s vocal melodic lines are fantastic – a clear stand-out on the album.

The album concludes with Moth, musically the most memorable track with strong dynamics and structure that hold the listener’s interest from start to finish. Khristenko’s vocals rightfully steal the spotlight, showcased and complemented by a gentle piano melody. It later features well-complemented harmonies.

Synths tend to dominate the mix, while the vocals and bass are well-positioned. While the guitars exhibit a muddy quality throughout, it might’ve been a purposeful strategy to emphasize synthesizer and symphonic elements. Anna Khristenko’s vocals exhibit excellent control and strong presence throughout each track. To better complement it in future releases, I’d love to hear more depth, less drum compression, and more guitar presence (apart from the solos).

As a final overall impression, I’m left feeling curious about ANA’s future stylistic direction. With such varied musical styles and elements throughout this EP, it’s difficult to pinpoint a signature sound or unified identity that suggests what fans can expect in future releases. With that aside, if you’re a fan of Delain, After Forever, or Lacuna Coil mixed with classic rock influences, this album will check off the right boxes for you!

The Art Of Letting Go is scheduled to be released by Eclipse Records on March 29, 2024.

Angela Ambrose