Review of ‘Anthem’ by Symfinity


Review by Ryan Murray | February 19, 2021 | Official Facebook

Symfinity, while listed as a symphonic metal band, also have a lot of progressive metal and even some folk/ren faire vibes. This New York City based band is a must see and must hear group! Their website states they have been described as a mix between Jethro Tull and Nightwish, and I completely agree with that. They have a very progressive sound and they pack an even bigger punch live!

In 2018, they opened for Tarja’s return to NYC at The Gramercy. My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing Symfinity play from the front row. While I only had the chance to wave “hi” from a far before the show, I’ve kept in contact with the band ever since and can tell you they are the real deal. Not only are they all super talented, but they are genuinely kind and humble people. During the show, the energy they put out to the crowd is so palpable. Symfinity is the type of band that you can feel the heart behind the music. 

Releasing their album “Anthem” March 2020, Symfinity poured so much of themselves into this 12 track album, and it shows. The band did all of the album by themselves, including the recording, mixing and mastering. Also, the band recorded all of the instruments heard throughout the album live! 

Anthem
This opening track starts out with strings and winds but at :16 seconds when the guitars come in, this honestly gives me a Nirvana vibe. I also love the epic strings/drum part at :48.

The lyrics are limited on this track, but I think it fits perfectly! 

Overall, this song is really arranged well. I really enjoy the live symphonic elements that blend in perfectly with the band. 

“As we search for guiding anthems, aiming at the stars”

To me, this is speaking of our lives. As we seek those things that guide us to our next chapter, that we should always aim high. 

Flipside 
Flipside! Absolutely loved hearing this song played live at the Gramercy! So much energy behind this song. 

This song starts out with a strong symphonic sound with drums holding the groove. Absolutely love the distorted guitars starting at :19.

I also love the dynamics and emotion on this track, both musically and lyrically. 

“Head in the stars, I was fighting all your wars 
Losing grip, you cling and you trip; I’m leaving you behind”

I really love the meaning behind this song. For me, this track talks about moving past friendships that held us back. When others try to hold us back, we need to break free from them and not let them get in the way of our goals and success. Not only that, but also some of those people try to ride the wave of our success.

Dynamite
This track starts out with some heart-pulsing drums and Seann’s vocals. Then Averi “Metalwinds” comes in along with strings and distorted guitars.

The band instruments are blending really well with the symphonic instruments and really compliment each other well. 

Seann’s range is heard really well on this track. 

My favorite part of this track is from 2:53 to the end!

This song, for me, is about all of those backstabbers that we have to deal with throughout our lives. The ones that act so nice to our faces, but then show their real selves when they talk badly about us and try to destroy us with their lies. We need to break free from these people and get away from their destruction. 

“I can handle more than you think. I’m not a prisoner of your destruction.”

The Way I Run From You
This track is a lot of fun and sounds great! It’s probably one of my favorites from the album! The first verse opens with a light intro on keys and flute. When the first verse comes in, strings are added. Seann’s vocals are very light and soft throughout this song, but it shows a lot of depth and emotion! 

Drums come in during the second verse for a bit of a heavier feel along with a stronger symphonic feel. This verse may come as a surprise after hearing the intro and first verse, and the intensity continues building throughout the remainder of the track! 

For me, this song is about escaping the grasps of those that try to hold us back, whether in a personal relationship, toxic family or friends, toxic work environments, and other similar circumstances.

There’s a part of this song that really sticks out to me, both melodically and in lyrical content –

“Never gonna hear you say 
Never gonna find a way 
All I wanna to do right now is 
Run away from you 
All the things you put me through 
So glad that I withdrew 
Don’t you wanna see the way 
I run from you?”

Not only do I love the melody here, but lyrically I relate to this in a strong way. I was stuck in a toxic work environment for many years. This person would constantly stab me in the back by saying one thing to me and another behind my back. They would lie about me behind my back and try to change the perception others had of me. Even though most were smart enough to not believe her lies, it was still painful. This was someone I had known since I was younger, so it made it even more painful. I finally had to withdraw from that environment and it was for the best!

Halfway
This track opens with a beautiful string intro along with vocals a few seconds in. Even though this is a bit of a slower track, the emotions and depth that this song has are very evident.

This song also reaches me on a personal level. For me, this song is about not being happy with where we are in life, feeling as though we haven’t tried as hard as we could to better ourselves, and the anger and resentment we feel within ourselves because we don’t push ourselves farther.

Supernatural
This track is a bit more up beat! It opens with a hard riff, drums flute a mind a strong symphonic backing. Melodically, at times this one reminds me of earlier Lacuna Coil. (Comalies)

This is another song that showcases Seann’s range! 

This song, for me, is about those people and those things that we allow to hold us prisoner and to keep us back from being better than we are. 

Too many times in life we give people and things the authority to hold us prisoner in a cage of fear and regret. This can only happen if we let it, but too many times that’s exactly what we do. 

“Your cold stare is just a reflection 
Of how I feel inside 
The keeper isn’t you; it’s me 
That’s what I find…”

Something Nothing Everything
This track also opens with just strings, but is soon followed by light guitar and vocals. Avery gently sneaks in on the flute just moments before guitars and drums really pick it up.

The vocals stay down more on this track, gently pulling the listener in further and further. There is so much emotion even with the gentler vocals.

This track, for me, is about missed opportunities in relationships. (Not necessarily romantic ones). So many times in life we find ourselves missing out on opportunities because we were distracted by everything going on around us.  

Notion
Guitars start this track out with a sound reminiscent of Creed’s “What If”. This track brings it back lyrically to the chorus of “Flipside” with a very different feel.

At :52 the atmosphere completely changes with winds taking over the lead. 

Days Into Hope
This instrumental track starts out with very emotional and dramatic strings. The melody to this track is really quite beautiful!

At :33, keys take over and are really quite beautiful! This track builds consistently all the way through.

Without Someone
This track opens with a banger of a riff with hard drums. When the vocals come in right after the intro, the guitars and strings take over. 

The vocal melody as well as the musical melody are really catchy.

Finale I: Angel of My Life
The final two tracks broken into two finales. This track is very light and airy all throughout, including vocals. This song is really quite beautiful musically and melodically! 

Lyrically, I can relate to this song all too well. To me, I take this song to be about that moment that someone comes into our lives who completely changes us. I’ve had some weird relationships in the past. Some who wouldn’t stand up for our relationship when it really mattered, others who couldn’t respect my personal beliefs and faith. 

When I met my now wife, that completely changed. She truly is the angel of my life. She helps me to see the best in me when I don’t. She has helped me to believe in true love, seeing past all my faults and building me up to someone better. There will never be any words I can say to thank her for who she is.

Finale II: Sweet and Sour
You couldn’t ask for a more epic track for the final track of this album! This track holds nothing back and is definitely another favorite of mine! I absolutely love the dynamics this track has. Rapid double bass pedals fill the air at :43 seconds in. 

Instrumentally, this track has moments that remind me of Dream Theatre’s “Pull Me Under”.

Verdict
Overall, I have to give this album a 4.9 out of 5! Everything from the vocals, instrumentation, arrangements and song writing is just perfect. What I really enjoy about this band is that I relate to so much of the meaning behind their material, and feel that many will relate as well. If you haven’t heard this band yet, please give “Anthem” a listen, you won’t regret it! I truly can’t wait to be able to see this band live again after the pandemic clears up!

Review of Tarja’s ‘Dead Promises’ Single


Several people wanted to write a review on this single for the webzine so you will be reading several here. Mine is first, enjoy and be sure to listen to the song (video at bottom, along with a sample of the album version feat. Bjorn from Soilwork) and order this album. Out Aug. 30th, 2019!

All Photography © Tim Tronckoe
Review © Jessica Clingempeel | CEO of Ethereal Metal Webzine | Tarja's USA Admin 

Dead Promises, given the context of the lyrics, has no bearings on Tarja’s promise to deliver a heavier and darker album. This track promises to deliver and succeed! The beginning starts out heavy, gets heavier in the middle, and ends heavy. The instrumentation meshes well with the melodic and emotional context of Tarja’s voice, making this song an outstanding first taste of what I assume will be the album to beat this year.

Instead of focusing on the musical elements of this album, since we already have several reviews, I will focus on the lyrical context and what this song means to me. A little bit of a personal story if you will.

We have all been given a dead promise or two or a thousand. Countries have been given many from the “leaders”. We have all fallen victim to such promises. I was the victim for most of my life, since early childhood. I was given broken promises by my father almost every time I would see him. The promise of love, safety and protection, being there for me. All those promises were dead, were empty. I never saw much love, I never had protection, he was barely ever there, and with him I experienced all kinds of abuse, if not by the hands of him, then by the women and their grown children he would take me around.

I was given dead promises by my ex. The relationship was nothing but control, fights, etc. One-sided, always about him, I was last. These two are just small examples of what I endured in life. Those men were the reasonings for my disbelief in love, my struggles with any kind of relationships (friendship or intimate), and my trust and hatred for humanity that kept getting worse. I had put up a wall and thought nothing or no one would ever get close to and hurt me again as long as I was in charge and kept that wall up. It was just recently I have learned to love again. I met a man that I never thought existed. He has been kind, loving, and every promise so far has been kept and fulfilled. I tore my wall down and gave him the chance. If I hadn’t I would not have ever seen true love.

This song challenges everyone and is a lesson for those of us who have been lied to and hurt. We have all fallen victim to someone and/or something. We can either keep the walls we have built up or we can tear them down, forgive those who hurt us (for us), and trust again. Otherwise we will never know what love is, a good life, nor ever see our dreams become reality. As always, Tarja has hit a personal level for me. She has been my earthly saviour, apart from my mother, because if it were not for her and her music, I would be dead today. I was on the verge of suicide so many times, use to self-harm, pull hair out, scream, cry, hate the world, but it was her music that saved me. This is why I am so loyal to this woman. This new album, after only one song, proves to be another fit for me on a personal and emotional level. As always Tarja, thank you. *

Review © China Tosin | Contributor of Ethereal Metal Webzine  

In short: Very guitar-based, riff-based, with a very important bitter message that hit the hearts of those who habitually break promises or have their promises let down, Tarja’s out there to retribute!

This song’s message seems to be about empty promises in relationships or family conflicts that are not fulfilled and it keeps adding up the pain when the promises keep creating expectations of improvement but not much effort in achieving. However, it can likely to apply outside interpersonal context too, such as unfulfilled political hopes, corporate failure in compensating their services. The line “Dead promises, games you play will kill your dreams…” sends a strong message about those who give empty promises will actually be the ones hurting, too. The vocals are pretty minimal compared to Tarja’s other songs that are a bit more complex, but executed it well, kept it concise, catchy, and powerful.

The music is on the heavier and faster side of her discography, very guitar-based and riff-based. The lead riffs, the main heavy riffs, and choice of sound give the song a “bitter” and “dry” feeling which fits the message. No solo in heavier Tarja songs had not ever been a bad thing, as this song gives you a varied and harmonized version of the lead riff near the end.

The dynamics of the song are very well plotted, as there are parts that the lead riffs playing alone giving excitement and build up, things get heavy on the main riffs and chorus. In the verses are laid down with less distorted guitar picking and bass guitar on higher register makes the song fit the “dry” feeling. *

Review © Jade | Reviewer of Ethereal Metal Webzine

Dead Promises, the first track released to the public from Tarja Turunen’s new album “In The Raw”, is a thunderous song with plenty of guitar and a traditional hard-rock feel. In The Raw is definitely an album title this song belongs on – the music and lyrics combined make for a very naked song, aggressive and not even having to put up a fight to get to the front of the musical line and be noticed. Tarja stated that this new album was going to be darker and heavier than previous albums, and she definitely delivers here.

Turunen’s powerful vocals shine brightly on this track, but the missing element was a heavier, darker vocal – a growl, if you will. From my quick review of the Album Version preview of Dead Promises, this is solved with the addition of Björn “Speed” Strid of SOILWORK. While the single version is a fantastic preview, the album version seems like it’s going to have that one extra element needed to make a perfect heavy metal song. (Though it’s been proven over and over again that Tarja Turunen shines beautifully on her own.)

Overall, Dead Promises was a perfect peek into what’s to come. A crowd pleaser to say the least (as it won a Metal Hammer poll for best new music in metal for the week of its release by a LANDSLIDE), I can say this much: we’re all dying to see it live.

Review © Zach Brehany | Contributor of Ethereal Metal Webzine

If this new single shows us everything, it looks like her promise of a Winter Storm is about to be unleashed with fury, anger, and the darkest corner of herself as a person. We’ve seen this transformation of a classical singer with an exceptional voice to her now being a powerhouse or a vocalist. And yet, years later, we are drawn back into her spell.

The last hard rock album she put out, The Shadow Self, was all about the darker Tarja and the sides of her that are deranged, emotional, and hidden beneath scars of damage she as endured as a performer. If this song is any indication of what the album will entell, we are about to start seeing the wounds uncovered and bloody. 

“Dead Promises” lyrically are as deep as any other song she has put out (brings to mind the lyrics to “I Walk Alone”, “Dark Star”, “Never Enough”, and “Innocence”). They are all recollections of her past with people, theorizing that they deal with Nightwish. When looked at it from that angle, this is a natural progression of herself as an artist: she is moving on, but won’t forget what happened to her for her to be where she is at now. 
The song does create a strong sense of sorrow when you are left thinking about all the promises people have made but keep on breaking. The message, I believe, is that we need to move on from all of that. Those that have betrayed us will no longer be able to continue living their best life because they built there’s off of lying, betrayals, and promises that amount to nothing. We will always have to deal with people like that, but they are not our problem; we don’t have the right to give ourselves to those kinds of people because they will only hold us back. Tarja is moving on from the past and that is what she is telling us to do. 

The instrumentation for this track is what threw me off the most. It feels like she is also moving away from her usual pure orchestration that was what started her career with both her Christmas album “Breath From Heaven*” and “My Winter Storm” and going back to the hard rock elements from “What Lies Beneath” and “Colours in the Dark”. This song isn’t about sounding as sweeping and operatic, but more in your face and out in the open. It’s an interesting choice, but I am left wondering how the rest of the album will play out.

This is a good look into the album and a song I’m sure will be a fan favorite. We are seeing Tarja transform more into the queen of hard rock that we know her as and it seems there is no way to go back. She’s hear to sucker punch us into looking deeper in ourselves and we can only hope that emotionally we will handle what it is like to strip ourselves from what we see and embrace what we find in the raw.  *

Overall Rating: 4.5/5