A conversation with Xandria’s Marco on band’s rebirth; new album ‘The Wonders Still Awaiting’

Posted by on February 3, 2023


Xandria are back with a brand new lineup for 2023. Their next chapter is shown in the symphonic metal outfit’s new album, The Wonders Still Awaiting, available now (3) via Napalm Records. We caught up with the group’s mastermind Marco Heubaum to discuss the new record and the overall rebirth of the band.


First let’s discuss the latest chapter of Xandria. How did the reconstruction of the band take place to end up recruiting new members?

A new start was necessary for me to continue with my music. Necessary on different levels – I also changed the band´s management for example. And then I was getting some great musicians together, who are not only that, but also really great people. We had a good chemistry right away and enjoyed doing all the things together that you do as a band – recording, playing live, shooting videos. It has been a great journey so far already. 


How has the new lineup affected the creative process for the new album, The Wonders Still Awaiting?

 Ambre (vocalist) was there from the start and was giving me a lot of valuable feedback and challenged me to try new things. And she was writing the lyrics for about half of the songs. The other musicians were not part of the songwriting, but with the performance of their parts they were giving their own identity into the songs of course.  


Despite the obvious differences, how would you compare the new album musically to 2017’s Theater of Dimensions

I think it’s much more diverse, and also a bit “deeper” and more serious. I have also been told that it sounds much more “fresh” with energy and new and interesting elements. As a songwriter I tried to evolve and challenge myself. I was motivated to get out of my comfort zone and try more different things, things I have never done before.  


How has the pandemic influenced the writing for the new record?

For the lyrics, it might have had an effect as the pandemic was bringing a lot of things to the daylight. How people think, what dangers are there for our society – and I am talking about the deep rift between groups of people in a society, this tribalism that makes people drift apart from each other. The pandemic was almost like a lens, a magnifying glass for showing a lot of dangerous things going on in the world. And this worries us a lot, so you find quite a lot about it in the lyrics. 


What songs were more challenging to write?

 I remember “Two Worlds” taking a while to finish, because of its numerous parts. I wanted every part to be perfect, and at the same time always do some interesting things with it, like key changes, complex rhythm patterns. The ideas came to my mind naturally, but to let them shine in the best way needed some detailed work. 


Can you talk more about the songs “Your Stories I’ll Remember” and “My Curse Is My Redemption?”

What I like about “Stories” is that it´s not just a typical ballad. Just when you think it is one, it goes different ways in the middle, very bombastic and anthemic even with that interaction between Ambre and the choir. And I am a big admirer of Celtic music, so I am glad we could work with some great musicians to make this a part of the song. There is McAlbi who played the Low and Tin whistles, Johannes Schiefner, one of the most renowned Uillean Pipes players in Germany, and Ally Storch, who played some amazing violin and cello parts. 

“Redemption” has its very own atmosphere, a bit dark eighties pop maybe, very melancholic and beautiful. You could say bittersweet. And the lyrics are very personal, same as for “Stories”. Both songs mean a lot to me. 


What was your experience creating the video for the title track, “The Wonders Still Awaiting?”

We shot it completely in virtual environments, which look like a strange, distant planet. We fell in love with the visuals immediately. It was fun to see ourselves standing on that virtual planet surface when it was finished. I love both science fiction and fantasy, and we are big movie fans, so it’s really fascinating to use these kinds of techniques ourselves. I could feel a lot of child-like excitement about it, haha! 



This year marks the twentieth anniversary for Xandria’s first full-length effort, Kill The Sun. The group has faced a number of lineup changes since. How has the overall experience been like for you?

I am tempted to say it was a rollercoaster, and I can’t really think of a better word right now. It had ups and downs a lot for sure. After all, all the musicians who have ever been a part of it, created something special together. And for me it was always heartfelt. This is most important for me. That I always tried to be true to my musical dreams, even when sometimes it wasn’t easy. For example, that first album didn’t exactly turn out as I was wanting, because me and the producer had different visions for it. Sometimes it happens unfortunately that you can´t fully bring your ideas to life the way you want to, but it’s all a learning process. And in these 20 years there was a lot to learn for sure. Maybe you can hear some of it on the new album, I have the feeling that all of these experiences were flowing into it. 


Do you have any plans for this year you can share with us?

Apart from the concerts we announced we are working on a few more, so stay tuned for news about this. 


Is there anything you want to say or add about this new chapter or rebirth of Xandria to your listeners?

There is so much heart and passion in this new album, and every single song is important for us, so I hope people will give it a listen and enjoy it as much as we did when we created it. And we really hope to meet as many of the people who like our music as possible in the next months at concerts. 




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