At the exact same moment I was thinking about that, probably forgotten, band an email came in from Polish band Open Access who claim be a female fronted symphonic metal band. So I decided to download and play the album and to my surprise it sounded exactly like I remembered that live performance decades ago, except for the Within Temptation cover.
Open Access is a band from Cracow that came into existence in 2013. This first effort is the result of a year of rehearsing and playing concerts throughout Poland and should function as an foretaste for the full-length which they plan to record next year. There's four songs on this e.p., each of them being a nice blend of folk, symphonic and power metal, complete with female vocals and violins.
The violins at times sound as if they come from old My Dying Bride songs, which give the whole a great atmosphere and are great to work with if you're a metal musician. In opener 'Into The Storm' this actually results in a very decent song that truly reminds me of the old days of Orphanage and company. This is classic folk metal, maybe a bit basic but still quite impressive.
'Kozak' lifts the tempo and seems to borrow heavily from power metal bands like Kamelot and Sonata Arctica. Even in the vocals the gothic, fairy tale vocals are left behind to make place for strong an vigorous female voices. Of course, here too some folk elements are placed, once again making it a well varied song.
Although this six piece is quite young and there's is still room to evolve, both as musicians and as a band, I must say I'm pleasantly surprised by this effort. Title-track 'Over A Mountain Peak' even turns away further from the Nightwish-influenced metal and enters the realms of bands like Korpiklaani or Finntroll. So does closer 'Vengeance', which is quite a fierce piece of metal.
What Open Access needs now, is a label who is willing to provide the necessary needs to record a well produced full-length album and some more experience on European soil. Given time and effort I truly believe this Polish band can become a serious player in the current female fronted symphonic metal scene with their own sound and a, hopefully, stunning live performance.