3 December 2014

Lyriel - Skin And Bones

This is another band I happened upon by chance online and previously knew nothing about.  I heard a few songs from their 2012 release Leverage and was impressed by its quirkiness and the quality of this German band.

 They play Gothic Folk Metal which is fairly commonplace and nothing new. What set apart Leverage from other albums of that ilk though was a feeling of authenticity, they didn’t sound forced at all. Perhaps it was to do with the songs as Lyriel certainly know how to write a good chorus, many of their songs have got stuck in my head over the last couple of years.

While they have plenty of rockier upbeat songs, the ballads and slower songs were often worth listening to as well. Leverage was a step forward from earlier albums like Prisonworld and Autumntales in that it was much more cohesive and rock orientated though it still features several Celtic, almost medieval sounding songs, they’re a lot more subdued. 

Skin And Bones, their fifth album, continues this progression but takes a massive leap forward. It’s much heavier and more streamlined than anything that’s gone before. They’re most definitely a Folk METAL band now. There are riffs all over this album and it’s pleasing just how much vocalist Jessica Theirjung suits the heavier style too, she never once sounds lost or out of her depth. Also the heavier style hasn’t shunted out Cellist and Violinist, Linda and Joon Laukamp respectively, either. Whilst they aren’t quite as prominent as they used to be they still augment the songs and are an essential part of the Lyriel sound. Songs like Dust To Dust and Astray wouldn’t be at all the same without them.

The songwriting has also improved on Skin And Bones and almost all of the songs here would make excellent singles. The choruses of Worth The Fight, Falling Skies and, actual lead single, Numbers are epic and memorable. A lot of the melodies throughout still have a medieval feel to them too sometimes so the spirit of the old albums is still there at least.

(L-R) Oliver Thierjung (Bass), Tim Sonnenstuhl (Guitar), Linda Laukamp (Cello), Jessica Thierjung (Vocals), Marcus Fidorra (Drums) and Joon Laukamp (Violin) 

By far the heaviest song is Running In Our Blood. It’s got almost a thrash riff that powers t through. Conversely it’s also the catchiest song on the album and has a massive chorus. Black And White features guest vocals from Christian Älvestam, formally of Scar Symmetry. I really like his clean vocals, and on this song too, but his harsh roar ruins Black And White somewhat. It wasn’t necessary and doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the album. 

Whilst fewer in number, the ballads are still present on Skin And Bones too. There are three of them here. Days Had Just Begun starts with just the strings playing which is really effective after the pummeling Black And White. It kicks in halfway and becomes more of a power ballad. Astray sees Jessica accompanied by just Linda’s cello. It’s an evocative song and works to break the album up a little. The final one is another power ballad type track. It’s the album closer Dream Within A Dream that starts with some plinky plonky piano and a gentle vocal from Jessica. The band slowly and gradually contribute until halfway through there’s a big key change chorus and the guitars start crunching. It’s a really good way to close the album I think.

Skin And Bones has probably lost them some of their older fans but stands a good chance of gaining them a lot more, which was likely their aim. It’s a very strong album and I can’t recommend it enough for folks that like Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Delain and so on.

8 out of 10 - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Best Track – Running In Our Blood 

Listen to Skin And Bones on Spotify HERE

Buy it from Amazon HERE

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