Anneke Van Giersbergen is a household name across the globe for any self-respecting metal head who leans towards the more symphonic brand of the metal world, and Anneke is back. This time she is flanked by some of the most highly respected Dutch musicians, which in turn have formed this new creation, namely ‘Vuur’. Anneke is joined by Ed Warby (Hail Of Bullets, Ayreon, ex Gorefest) on the drums, Jord Otto (My Propane and ex Revamp) and Ferry Duijsens on guitars, and completing the five piece, is Johan Van Stratum (Stream Of Passion) on the bass. The album has been produced by Joost Van Den Broek, more commonly associated with producing ‘After Forever’ material, and this release goes under the moniker of ‘In This Moment We Are Free – Cities’.

The 11 tracks on the release are all named after cities which have left impressions on Anneke in her trek around the world, which surely hits the target on sentiment, but the album needs to deliver on vocals and musicianship, or it will be at danger of being left out in the cold.

The album is bolstered by some real diversity, and sees Anneke showcasing the heavier degree of her soul, in the form of ‘Days Go By – London’, and ‘Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki’, yet she still opens the listener up to some of the most perfectly formed, delicate ballads that will be released in 2017, namely ‘Freedom – Rio’ and ‘Reunite ! – Paris’.

The album opens with the lead single ‘My Champion – Berlin’ and pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the release. Anneke demonstrates her beautiful vocal range and also exhibits the bands majestic symphonic talents.

Whilst the album has stand out tracks, which I have already mentioned, it does feel a little lack lustre at times and Anneke and the rest of the band don’t always seem to be going down the same path on the journey, but somehow seem to reach the same final destination. Anneke seems to be off on one tangent with one tempo and tune, yet the rest of the band seem to be harmonising to a completely different beast. Having said that, there is something truly captivating surrounding the album, and the sweet delicate mawkishness is definitely there for all to bear witness to.

The success of this release, I believe, will fall mainly to Anneke’s vocal presence and name behind the release, and while the band has already landed some strong tour intentions, imminently with Scar Symmetry, and main support slot on the upcoming Epica tour, I don’t think they will have to try too hard to win over a new fan base, as I believe anyone already in love with the talents of Anneke, will fall instantly in love with Vuur

(7/10 Phil Pountney)