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Coronatus - Terra Incognita
CD Reviews
Written by Allyson Kenning   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Coronatus CD Review
Terra Incognita
Coronatus - Terra Incognita


CD Info
2011
Massacre Records / Germany
12 Tracks
English & German Lyrics

 

Germany’s dual-female fronted Coronatus is a band I came across a few years ago while sifting through the offerings of the Gothic/symphonic genre online, and right away I was drawn in by their sound. Back then, Carmen Lorch provided the classical soprano voice and she stayed with the band through their first three albums. Accompanying her have been three different rock –style alto vocalists of varying success. Definitely the strongest was Ada Flechtner , who sang with Carmen on Coronatus’s second CD, Porta Obscura. After Ada left the band in 2009, there was a long series of vocal line-up changes, which saw their one constant, Carmen Lorch, resign her position, producing some uncertainty. For a brief time, Coronatus had a solo Russian singer, but no recordings were made with her. Now, all that seems to be behind them: their line-up has solidified with the return of Ada Flechtner, this time as the soprano, and newcomer Marieke Makosch taking on the alto.

When listening to the newly released Terra Incognita, I immediately liked the new vocal set-up much better than anything from the band’s past. Ada and Mareike’s voices sound excellent together and their styles and tonalities match very well. As I continued through the CD, I couldn’t help but feel that this "new" Coronatus is a much smoother, well-oiled machine than its previous incarnations.

It starts off with a great instrumental into the title track, "Terra Incognita", which after about a minute and a half transforms into a catchy, well-written metal anthem which introduces us to the new vocalists. "Terra incognita", which translates from Latin into "unknown land" (Coronatus still likes its Latin elements, which I have always enjoyed), might be slightly symbolic in that this album seems to launch this sextet from a slightly rough around the edges Gothic metal sound to a much more mature, polished Coronatus with well-matched vocals, higher production quality, and stronger songwriting.

Highlights on the album for me, apart from "Terra Incognita" are the German language "Fernes Land", which is the first single from the CD and which has a video. Despite not speaking German at all, I’ve always enjoyed the songs Coronatus composes in its native tongue; they seem to have a different character. "Fernes Land", from what I can gather from the video, has a pirate-y theme, and it’s a great, catchy tune. I also really like "Sie stehn am Weg". Again, I don’t have a clue what it’s about, but I think it’s a great song.

My favourite track on the album, though, is the six minute Gothic tour de force on the CD, "In Signo Crucis." It starts off with a dark, Gothic Latin choir chant and then immediately heads into a fast heavy section with some excellent drumming. Sung in German, this song has a wonderful power metal feel with a lot of drama and complexity, and the band was kind enough to provide a short article on their site talking about the theme of the song, which you can read here.

Though it’s a great song, without that article, the listener will be a bit lost. The third part in a trilogy of songs, with part one being "Der Kleriker" (which I assume translates into "The Cleric", referring to the cleric the woman in the song falls in love with), and part two being "Das zweite Gesicht", which I cannot find a translation for, the story is obviously not apparent to those of us who don’t speak German, which is a bit of a pitfall when you are a fan of Coronatus.

But language barrier aside, this is definitely a solid album, showcasing Coronatus’s talents very well, and marking this band’s evolution into new territory with a newfound maturity and refined sound, while upping the ante with their signature elements like great vocal harmonies, use of choirs, and creation of atmosphere. I enjoyed this album a lot, and I’d give it an 8 out of 10.

You can find Coronatus at these fine locations:

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Website
LastFM

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