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Isildurs Bane - 2005 - "Songs from The Observatory"

(14 min EP, 'Ataraxia')

TRACK LIST:                             

1.  People Are Afraid 2:07
2.  Without Grace 5:20
3.  Under the Wind 3:18
4.  No Choice 3:36

Music: by M Johansson & Hansson.
Lyrics: by Hansson. Produced by Persson.


Mats Johansson - keyboards; backing vocals
Mariette Hansson - lead vocals; guitars
Jonas Christophs - lead guitars
Fredrik Johansson - bass
Kjell Severinson - drums 
Mats Persson - treatments
Christian Saggese - classical guitar
Peter Scogg - violin
Michel Nielsen - violin
Jan Svensson - viola
Anna Muhlhauser - cello 
Therese Allhjer - backing vocals

Prolusion. Finally, Sweden's ISILDURS BANE have fastened their eyes on the general Rock music audience. This mini-CD (or EP, if you will) is their first commercial release.

Analysis. Three out of the four compositions present - those taking the first three positions on the CD - are well familiar to those who have purchased the band's latest full-fledged release, the DVD entitled "The Observatory", their fifth effort in the MIND series (MIND means Music Investigating New Dimensions). The last track, No Choice, is a new song; at least it was never published before. Overall, all four of the compositions are quite similar among themselves and are symphonic Art-Rock ballads with a light chamber sense, due to the presence of a violin quartet. The music is mainly built around Mariette Hansson's vocals, the singing being usually 'illuminated' by passages of classical guitar, piano and a light rhythm section, amongst the other instruments. Mariette's songwriting has a distinct romantic ballad approach, but the stuff is promptly helped by string arrangements in the background. Mats Johansson's pieces: Without Grace and No Choice (the new one being my favorite track here) each feature a couple of instrumental sections and are somewhat more diverse in general, though the overall tendency remains unchangeable.

Conclusion. Being pulled out of the contents of the DVD, the songs don't bring a distinct progressive message typical for Isildurs Bane, but for those still unacquainted with their creation, this EP may be a good place to start (then work backwards the band's catalog). I hope this brilliant ensemble will reach a wider audience with this release, while I will be waiting for their further investigations in new musical dimensions.

VM: September 14, 2005

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Isildurs Bane


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