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Introitus - Fantasy CD (album) cover





3.73 | 64 ratings

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4 stars INTROITUS was founded in Vansbro, central Sweden, sometime before the new Millennium. It's basically a family business: composer Mats Bender plays keyboards (plus accordion and additional guitars, bass and percussion), and his wife Anna Jobs Bender is the lead vocalist. I wonder if the cover picture of the marrying couple is referring directly to them. Their daughter Johanna is one of the backing vocalists, and drums are played by their son Mattias. In addition to the Bender family, many other musicians are involved in this originally self-released but highly ambitious debut album containing over 72 minutes of grand scale Symphonic /Neo Prog. The music had been composed in a long timespan.

The opening track is called 'Genesis', but undoubtedly the word must be taken for its meaning, not as a reference to the prog band. The impressive instrumental contains sonic resemblance to PINK FLOYD around The Dark Side & Wish You Were Here era (especially on keyboards and electric guitars), but lots of other things too. Violins bring some folk nuances, although combined with hard rocking prog drive you might think of Kansas as well. In the beginning of this track and occasionally on the course of the whole album the synths add an electronic music flavour (Vangelis, the most progressive Tangerine Dream, etc.). On 'Child', the shortest track at 5:56, Anna's strong and clear voice enters the spotlight. The well-written, ballad-ish song slightly resembles bands such as MOSTLY AUTUMN and features also accordion. 'Ghost' (9:12) goes further into passionate drama of metal-flavoured Neo Prog, e.g. ARENA.

The best showcase for the group's high ambitions and diversity is the five-part title epic 'Fantasy' (26:02). Containing both vocal and instrumental movements, it has everything mentioned above and then some more, all in a fairly coherent continuity. If you're not allergic to grandiose, dramatic gestures in the Floydian slow tempo settings and if you enjoy the bands mentioned above, this album will most likely impress you. The production is very good. Introitus has released three albums after this debut. As one can guess from their artwork, the latest ones Anima (2014) and Shadows (2019) increase the metallic edge. Although I haven't thoroughly listened to all their albums, I believe it's this very debut that works the best for me.

Matti | 4/5 |


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