I wouldn't blame anyone for not knowing Lyriel. Still, they've already been around for eleven years now and seem to have a solid fan base in and around Germany - some female fronted folk metal fans may be familiar with the Gummersbach-based band. Their approach isn't exactly new, there are loads of folk and gothic rock/metal bands in Germany and they all sound very similar, but at least Lyriel don't have German vocals (most of the time). Like that, I think they are able to reach more people around the world. I mean, it didn't really happen until now, but who knows.
Lyriel are about to release their fifth album and you could expect that they know what they're doing by now. I personally think that the songs should sound complete and that's not always the case on this album. I feel that some passages sound uninspired and boring, while some really catchy refrains like on "Numbers" start out so well and after some seconds, they just fade away. The melody doesn't "flow" properly sometimes.
Just so we get it clear, Lyriel will never be the next Nightwish regarding their shredding abilities, although they seem to like Nightwish a lot, I mean, just listen to their music. I'm hearing Nightwish riffs, Nightwish backing vocals, Nightwish drumming. C'mon. It's surprising that singer Jessica Thierjung doesn't copy Tarja Turunen. (It's nice that she seems to understand that she has a beautifully rich and emotional high alto voice and that women vocalists don't always have to deliver high-pitched operatic notes these days.) But Lyriel indeed have some really touching and interesting ballads I've never heard in that way before from any other similar band and that's something I didn't expect. "Astray" is a very simple ballad with cello as accompaniment which reminds me of "Sally's Song" from Nightmare Before Christmas, it has the same approach. Unfortunately, the band doesn't seem to be very creative when it comes to the real metal things. I don't hear one single divine riff, melody or solo on the guitar, the drumming isn't bad but nothing out of the world and the bass isn't even audible.
I can imagine that Lyriel are a great live band, their sound is simple, natural, emotional and definitely something for the evening program of every bigger medieval festival, which you can find plenty of in Germany. So to sum up, I don't think that Lyriel is a band that will ever make it out of Europe. German folk metal is something even I, as a German, can't listen to expect at medieval festivals when you aren't looking for challenging music. Of course, it would be nice if the band got more attention for what it's doing, but I don't think it will happen. There are just too many elements missing in their music.