Author: Laura Waalboer
One of the funny nicknames of symphonic metal is “fairytale metal”. The epitome of this is the German SNOW WHITE BLOOD. This foursome released the EP ‘Once Upon A Fairytale’ in 2016 and the title showed which way the band wanted to go. In these five songs the fairytale world of, for example, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, but also the stories of One Thousand And One Nights, were brought to life and provided with modern symphonic metal. I like that, because I love substantive texts.
With ‘Hope Springs Eternal’, the first full-length, the same concept is used, namely taking the listener into the world of fairytales, stories, legends, fables, etc. with the theme ‘hope’. I don’t know exactly what is meant by “modern”, but I don’t mind, because these eight songs have more body and sound and are a lot more mature than the debut. It is also special that these eight songs each have their own character. As eight different stories in themselves (a bit at the expense of the consistency of the CD, but a grouch who pays attention to that). The recipe book of symphonic metal is neatly followed. Bombastic orchestration by singer Ulli Perhonen, crystal clear and high vocals of course by the same Perhonen, fierce drumming, heavy guitar riffs and as said lyrics to really listen to. Support from a real choir is also available. But how does it sound? Well, good.
‘The Court Jester‘ sets the tone. A heavy song, crystal clear vocals that do not lose power in the higher regions. Solid guitar, a lot of variety and although the Nightwish and Epica influences are not far away, they certainly don’t bother. That is no different with the even stronger ‘Drop A Stitch‘. In this up-tempo song in the style of Delain, Perhonen sings in a lower key with a more rocking tone. That means that SNOW WHITE BLOOD, and especially Perhonen, can apparently handle everything; it gets more interesting. The sensitive ‘Falling Stars‘ is successively reminiscent of Nightwish, Xandria and Amberian Dawn, but what sticks are the excellent vocals. And the compelling guitar solo.
Even after the first fairytale-like tones of ‘Longing For The Sea‘, Nightwish associations immediately emerge, but the narrative way of singing gives it its own character. A sudden change of style halfway through, for example an up-tempo folk intermezzo here, is characteristic of ‘Hope Springs Eternal’. ‘Never Ending Waltz‘ also starts off modest and in a fairytale way, but grows into an opera-like song and ‘Rising Of The Sun‘ starts with a solid guitar riff and here the up-tempo vocals turn into belting vocals. Great!
The least special song is ‘Shared Hearts‘. This duet with Lilly Seth also kicks off with some Nightwish orchestration, but turns out to be a cheerful up-tempo happy metal song, with a chorus that you cannot get out of your head. ‘You Belong To Me‘ starts with Epica-like orchestration, but changes through the duo-vocals with guest singer Danny Meyer (Oversense) and the input of the choir into an exciting, melodic rock song. So much energy, so much passion, truly heart felt vocals… and what a hunk! 😊. The dramatic way in which this song ends, you have heard a thousand times before, but oh… how awesome it sounds!