Theandric is a Catholic Metal band from Michigan who have obviously studied at the best of the “school of Metal.” The heavy influence of the best of 1980’s metal (e.g. Iron Maiden, Megadeath, etc.) and some of the best of the more modern metal (e.g. Sepultura and in my opinion – Kamelot) makes this band a sublime listening experience. This band is the pride and joy of Paolo Tiseo; he plays all the instruments and does a masterful job of getting all this music together and doing a great job of recording it to share in his ministry. Paolo, a self-confessed “perfectionist” (according to his myspace blog) has polished the song “Veni Creator Spiritus” to a classic metal brilliance.
Like Roy Kahn, Paolo has the ability to sing a line and you can’t help but feel the pureness of the message and the careful construction of melody and lyric which carry you away with the deeper message of the song.
The song starts of with a well balanced gallop – with a steady bass and rhythm combination and a snare that will level your face off. The lead that is interspersed in this introduction is great! It is not overplayed or underplayed – the lead guitar work shows a well-thought out sense of song (more about this later in the review). The second part is well arranged and you can imagine this being sung full-blast in a stadium! It has an epicness to it that is so natural to this genre. The first two parts repeat and the third part seems to summarize the two previous sections well. I’m trying hard not to use traditional terms in describing the structure of this song (e.g. verse, chorus, etc.). Theandric’s prog influence can be seen in the fact that this song doesn’t really have the typical structure (e.g.verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge or solo/chorus ad nauseum) and this works really well. The subject matter of Creation, prophets fortelling of Christ, and the Last Supper could be the subject matter of 3 different songs; but here these subjects are related in one song. “Veni Creator Spiritus” is a little long (it clocks in at 8:31); but when listening to this song, I had to double-check the time – it didn’t seem to be a hard song to listen to and there was more than enough happening musically. The separate parts of this song make it an excellent listen and reflection of what Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit have done for us.
Vocally, Paolo has studied Bruce Dickinson really well. The vocals cut through the mix and you can hear everything that is being said; this guy believes what he sings and comes across with authentic passion. I feel as a reviewer that my comparison to Kamelot can be easily seen in the vocals. Like Roy Kahn, Paolo has the ability to sing a line and you can’t help but feel the pureness of the message and the careful construction of melody and lyric which carry you away with the deeper message of the song.
The guitar solo (around 4:00 or so) is impeccably played; the section following the first solo is also a great lead into what we could call the “verse” section. As a matter of fact, all the guitar solos throughout the song are quite accomplished and what I like about them is that they are the type of solos that contribute to the song and not dominate. As a guitarist, I often struggle with the “do what is right for the song” camp. Sometimes, though – you need to check your ego at the door and ask if the solo fits the song. Unfortunately, some musicians tend to avoid this train of thought and solos themselves to obscurity. Theandric does not do this; checking your ego is an important thing in Catholic music and “Veni Creator Spiritus” is a great example of this (despite its over 8 minutes in length). I could see Paolo riffing himself to madness over the dynamic chord progressions of this song , but instead, he checks his ego at the door and does what is appropriate for the song; – and in doing so – what is important to praise God.
With such a romantic vision in terms of Theandric’s combination of subject matter and music – it would be interesting to see the results of a larger project. Just as William Blake was able to write about “see(ing) a world in a grain of sand, … And eternity in an hour” so has Theandric taken the aspects of God’s Creation, the foretelling of a Saviour, and that Saviour’s ultimate act of love and expressed it in an incredible song. As I said before, these three topics could be three different songs, but the idea of combining them in this unique style transforms a considerable concept into an effective praise and worship song. Theandric’s music can be heard on the following websites: