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TRACK LIST: 1. Halo 1:24 2. Heal 5:03 3. Fury 0:46 4. Cage 5:31 5. Arch 1:00 6. Good 3:15 7. Open 2:17 8. Eyes 6:38 9. Self 2:44 10. Idea 8:32 11. Talk 1:40 12. Rage 5:33 13. Part 2:11 14. Dark 1:39 15. Loss 4:00 16. Ends 4:14 All music: by Mats Johansson. All arrangements: by Isildurs Bane. All lyrics: by Christof Jeppson, except 12: Fredrik Johansson. LINE-UP: Mats Johansson - varied keyboards & Mellotron Jonas Christophs - electric & acoustic guitars Kjell Severinsson - acoustic drums; djembes Klas Assarsson - marimba, vibe, & assorted percussion Fredrik Johansson - fretless & fretted basses Christof Jeppson - lead vocals; guitar Anna Lonnberg - vocals & vocalizes Mats Persson - loops etc With: Bjorn Jason Lindh - recorder & flute Joachim Gustafson - violin Linnea Olsson - cello & vocals Fredrik Davidsson - trumpet, flugelhorn, & cornet Martin Soderlund - trombones & tuba Mariette Hansson - backing vocals Lars-Eric Bjrklund - backing vocals Produced & mixed by M. Persson & M. Johansson. Engineered by M. Persson at "Tits & Ass", Halmstad, Sweden.
Prolusion. Only six months elapsed since the release of Isildurs Bane's previous album, and Sweden's (rather, Europe's) most profound progressive band is unexpectedly back with their new, eleventh, output "MIND Vol. 4: Pass". However, the work on "Pass", which is again a concept album (of course!), lasted more than two years. The sixteen compositions here are divided into four sections with separate themes, and each of these sections contains four songs.
Synopsis. While regarding the band's >previous album as a masterpiece, I still find that its semi-improvisational nature doesn't fit the concept of MIND laid on >"Vol. 1" and developed on >"Vol. 2". Although the conception of MIND (Music Investigating New Dimensions) as such can imply any sorts of musical discoveries, both of the first albums in this series were nevertheless dedicated to uniting the varied manifestations of Progressive Rock with Classical Music. Well, I am happy to tell you that "Pass", while being different from any of the previous volumes of MIND (which is just natural, of course), is simultaneously nothing else but another, third stage in the logical development of this highly intriguing journey through new music dimensions started back in 1997. The most unexpected aspect of "MIND Vol. 4" is the presence of vocals here (all lyrics are in English), though this is only one of those important factors that form, proper, the innovation of this work. In fact, everything here is marked with distinct signs of a novelty, and if on the whole, "Pass" is closer to Classical Music than any of the preceding volumes of MIND, the overall stylistic picture of the album is as diverse as usual. Five out of the sixteen tracks here are instrumental pieces, and two of them: Fury and Arch (3 & 5) represent Classical Music in a pure form. Contemporary Classical Music with elements of some definitely new music (I used to call such a phenomena Fifth Element) and with and without vocals is respectively presented on the songs: Halo, Heal, Talk, Part, Loss, and Ends (1, 2, 11, 13, 15, & 16) and the other three instrumentals: Open, Self, and Dark (7, 9, & 14). All five of the remaining songs are compositionally so complex and consists of so unusual structures that I just cannot define their stylistics differently than the Symphonic Art-Rock-based Fifth Element with some quantity of a pure Classical Music and the bits of Prog-Metal. These are Cage, Good, Eyes, Idea, and Rage (4, 6, 8, 10, & 12), though the third of them consists mostly of acoustic textures and features in addition elements of Jazz-Fusion and those of music of the East. Of course, all of these cold terms and definitions aren't able to reproduce all the majesty and magic of music presented on "Pass" in general and all the diversity and beauty of the instrumental and vocal arrangements on it in particular. On this album, Isildurs Bane was able to expand Progressive Rock's horizons so widely that any words are helpless to describe this.
Conclusion. I am longing for pathos now: The 'stars' of mainstream are flashing and going out, but such a gem as "MIND Vol. 4: Pass" is and will always remain a classic for the future even if anyone won't be interested in it today. True Art is more precious than gold, and even Time has no power over It.
VM: October 13, 2003
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