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(59:26; Bad Elephant Music)
Back with their fourth album, their first on BEM, Introitus are very much a family affair, with Mats’ wife Anna on vocals, and their son Mattias on drums with daughter Johanna on chorus vocals. They are joined by Par Helje on lead guitar and Dennis Lindkvist on bass and new member (and partner of Mattias) Linnea Syrjala joining them on flutes, accordion and additional keyboards. Formed as long ago as 1999, label manager David Elliott is very please indeed to have them onboard: David Elliott, BEM’s Label Manager. “I’ve been in contact with Anna and Mats since seeing them play at Summer’s End a few years back. Progressive rock mixed with folk elements has always been one of my favourite combinations, and this is a band that does it really well”. Solidly within the neo prog sub-genre although with plenty of folk elements, this is an interesting album in that there never seems to be a rush, never a hurry. There is always time taken to build the drama, which does mean that they need a very strong singer indeed as often the vocals are what are holding it all together, and in Anna they have a singer who not only has a good range and powerful vocals, but has superb breath control who is able to hold notes without wavering or faltering. The keyboard sounds and runs do sound quite dated, quite Eighties, but they work within the overall sound of the album and songs such as “Beyond Fantasy” combine these with piano and accordion in a to produce something which is quite special. This is an album which takes time for the listener to get inside, as it is actually possible to dismiss it, and should not be played while doing anything else. The first time I listened to it was when I was working outside on the farm and had only realised it had finished when a totally different form of music started, I had missed it altogether. But, sit and listen to it and it is a different album altogether. While it is delicate, there is a restrained power behind it, and the haunting wooden flute definitely adds something quite special indeed. The music and melodies ripple like babbling streams, with shining dappled light from the trees, and the album makes me feel of spring and awakening. There are depths to be plumbed, but only from listeners prepared to actually listen, as this just doesn’t work as background music. The climax within “Desperation” demands you fall into the music and get taken into a new world. Superb.
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