Melbourne-based chanteuse Victoria K has been building a nice little niche for herself in preparation for the release of this, her debut full length album; she’s constructed a healthy web presence through the regular release of performance videos on Youtube and a savvy attitude to social media. Of course this strategy heightens artist awareness – but it also heightens fan expectation. Can Victoria live with that weight of expectation on Essentia?

I’m pleased to report that she can. Essentia is not always, erm, essential listening, but there is more than enough material here to suggest that a bright future awaits the divine Miss K…

She’s put a good team around her – former Ne Obliviscaris associate Sheri Vengeance contributes some nice harsh vocal work (especially on the excellent Matrix, which harnesses names like Xandria and Cradle of Filth with surprisingly pleasing results) – whilst Eluveitie’s Michalina Malisz weighs in to assist on the sumptuous Shroud of Solitude; but, most tellingly, she doesn’t need help to prove just what a talent she is. Tracks like standouts Surreal and Humanity hold Victoria’s skills up to unvarnished inspection and come through with flying colours. And whilst she still doesn’t quite escape the shackles of her influences – the presence of Amy Lee hangs heavy wherever you care to look, especially on the jagged, drama-packed Haunting – this is still an undeniably strong performance from our protagonist.

As we often say here at Sentinel Daily, the world of female-vocalled symphonic/orchestral metal is an incredibly crowded one; it takes a big talent to get to the front of the queue for audience attention and, more importantly, patronage. On Essentia Victoria K takes quite a few steps up that queue, and on the evidence of this she’s got the power to take a fair few more in the not-to-distant future… One to watch for sure, but make sure you enjoy Essentia while you wait.

Essentia is out on April 24th.