It has been four years from their latest excellent album ”Delusion” in 2008 and finally the time has come for the English progsters to amaze once again with a new album named “Exile” and released on September. “Exile” contains eight tracks, lasts an hour long and is a concept album. The story is about a protagonist who is dealing with tragedy, loss and hardship, and has plunged herself into a self-imposed state of “exile” in order to protect herself from further harm. But the consequences of this are that she has thrown away much of what is meaningful in life. As their previous works, also in this album you get a very “polish” feel of it, that you can understand already from the album’s cover which seems very “travelling”. The first track – an introduction of sorts (being all instrumental and the shortest track on the album) shows us what the band is capable off. The track starts out with a low hum that builds up volume, and then the band kicks in with an Arabic, dessert feel to the music, coming from the rhythm and drums, as well as the harmonics, plus adding some great piano on it.
Throughout the album, they continue to provide some very nice atmospheric contrasts between cinematic tranquillity and crashing into driving metal rhythms. The vocals of Julie Kiss add a very interesting ingredient to the mix – her voice comes across in a way that almost sounds like a mythical creature from fantasy realms. One thing that I find quite unique is the way this group can switch so quickly from a progressive metal texture to a very jazzy atmosphere, at times even sounding like smooth jazz, and then they are right back to the heavy hitting metal crunch with full, cinematic keyboards. The band members never really take too much of the spotlight but all seem to work together very well to create a very full, rich sound, with each of the members taking turns adding flourish to this. The most important musician seems to be Mr. Henshall (who also amazes us with his other band – Haken,who have released two incredible albums), as his keyboard work on this album providing a fantastic atmosphere which give you the gooseflesh. If you listen carefully, you’ll be amazed with the plenty of different sounds he is using throughout the album, piano and organ sounds are featured mixed in with some very rich synth sounds. The thing that is most common for the band and most stunning for us the listeners, are the different acoustic orchestral, metal and jazz atmospheres which appear in most of the tracks.
In conclustion, I think that this is an amazing album and band which amazes us once again and everyone who loves progressive music MUST check this out. Great band really, they have a bright future ahead of them.
|Track List||Line Up||
01. Inviting the Storm
02. The Illusionist
03. The Descent
04. Deep Inside
06. End Game
08. All I Am
Tom MacLean – Guitars
Richard Henshall – Keyboards
Mark Harrington – Bass
Paul Westwood – Drums
Julie Kiss – Vocals
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