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Isildurs Bane - The Voyage - A Trip To Elsewhere CD (album) cover


Isildurs Bane

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars A masterpiece of innovative chamber rock!

Edited 10/02/05!

This wonderful album is just one (and probably the first real big one) of their great works which are supposed to come later on. They continued on here the way they started already on Cheval - Volonté de rocher towards highly intellectual and intricate music with many influences of classical and avant-garde music. It consists of several suites and two single tracks that are inspired once again by buildings or persons.

The suite "The Voyage" which has four parts and occupies most of the CD is inspired by the life and tales of the Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli, who spent more than half of his life in a mental hospital where he created paintings, compositions and fantasy tales. ISILDURS BANE got support for recording the suite by THE ZORN TRIO consisting of violin, cello and piano. This was a big help for them to create a kind of chamber rock ranging from fairground accordion sound over heavy guitars to really classical parts. On this album their music still remains in some way a bit more accessible compared to their later masterpiece MIND Vol.1 . The suite "Picassiette" describes a walk through the fields in more silent and acoustic compositions with some influences by jazz fusion. "La Sagrada Familia" is inspired by the famous cathedral in Barcelona and therefore has very much pastoral alike compositions with choirs. Some people will know already parts of The Voyage suite, "Nimis - Wotan's Tower" and "Das Junkerhaus" if they listened to the MIND Vol.2 album, but here these compositions can be enjoyed in their original versions sounding quite different from the live ones.

In general the compositions on here are more classically sounding than on MIND Vol.1 mainly due to the involvement of THE ZORN TRIO. But this is just one feature of the music, because there are rock elements as well which are not just added up but really merged with the chamber music to form a homogeneous unit. The band really managed on here to pull down the frontiers between "serious" classical and "popular" rock music. This album is really a very important and eponymous one, it is quite unique and very adventurious and innovative, but still accessible even for people who are more into rock and therefore I would call it a masterpiece in prog and like to rate it with five stars.

Report this review (#3880)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the most beautiful albuns I've ever heard in progressive music. Couldn't describe it other way. The intimate suite Picassiette shows us how simple and acoustic songs can be as powerfull as intrincate songs. The suite La Sagrada Famila, insired by the Barceona Cathedral has an atmosphere of classical music, given by the chorus. The suite The Voyage has parts of pure explosion abd reminds how these guys can play! A unique masterpiece of progreesive music and essential in any library!
Report this review (#3881)
Posted Monday, February 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well such an excellent album like the present one, close to the edge of perfection, has got a minor defect during my recent listen, in comparison to their latest production, because there's not a great diversity or improvement of ideas within.Instead these latter ideas are more defined inside their work in progress today!!So nothing to add-by comparing this "The Voyage..." to their fantastic early production, but anyway the personal imprinting is always tasteful and more than acceptable.Otherwise their peculiar music features are always recognizable and the inventiveness as well!! The concept album, during the tale's development of the music plot- regarding the life of a Swiss artist- is original and inspiring too.The four parts of the album confirm my opinion, even though the simplicity of some symphonic breaks-through make me feel a little bit less involved ...nevermind, you could also appreciate a different and more accessible band.

Excellent album,seldom uneven, despite of being not always aligned with their early best production ...make your own choice!

Report this review (#3882)
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
5 stars This is the only album I have of this band, although there may be more added to the collection in the future. When I saw an album about a voyage from a band named after the mysterious ring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, there wasn’t much other choice but to hear it. I can truthfully say this is the kind of music one should expect from a band that is classified as symphonic rock. Isildur’s Bane have definitely mastered the art of combining classical sounds with rock sensibilities, and done it to near perfection on this release.

The album basically consists of a series of instrumental journeys of the mind, flights of fantasy with only a moderate nod to reality. The four-part title composition is a delightful blend of classically-inspired symphonic arrangements, augmented beautifully with a persistent and emotive electric guitar, with its only anchor being the varied rhythms and somewhat ethnic variations on violin, flute, and the occasional brass. These are all long, slow, and fanciful epics, each having the power to send one off on a journey of a disturbed yet highly energetic mind. The inspiration for the most part comes from the life and artistic renderings of the brilliantly mad Adolf Wölfli, a man who spent most of his physical life institutionalized. His work tended toward colorful fantasies of a style called art brut, which reflected his internal focus and view of the world as an outsider. These compositions, like Wölfli’s art, seem to project an active imagination that others could only partially appreciate since their true meaning was known only to their author.

A second theme of the album is contained in the three passages of the La Sagrada Familia, in which the band attempts to portray the mood of that ongoing Gaudí construction in the early morning hours, the afternoon, and evening. These are short works, but leave a sort of reverent impression that is accented well by the piano trio and mellow tempos, as well as the chamber-like vocal harmonies.

Finally there are tracks honoring Raymonde Isidore’s Picassiette mansion, with the music deftly portraying the likely mood of the colorful gardens, stained glass, and the Gothic- like stonework that makes up the structure. These are somewhat longer works, almost completely piano-driven, and accompanied by the most delicate violin passages on the album.

This album is probably as close to a true classical music work of any symphonic rock, belied only by the occasional drums and the strong electric guitar work on the Wölfli- inspired arrangements.

I would recommend this album very highly to any fan of symphonic rock, as well as to anyone who appreciates instrumental music whose inspiration is the internal world inhabited by real people who expressed themselves through timeless works of art. This is a real masterpiece from a band who has undergone a number of personnel and stylistic transitions over the years, yet still manages to remain true to their vision of symphonic music that evokes strong emotions and inspires thought. Five stars.


Report this review (#117658)
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have to admit that this ''Voyage'' is far much better than any of their ''Cheval'' stuff. Even if I'm not a huge fan of classic music, I have to say that the combination offered here works pretty well.

The long opening number is close to some sort of a ''tour de force''. Can you imagine classic being combined with the dark and oppressive Crimson music? Here you go! This is a highlight and a wonderful way to start.

I wouldn't be so laudatory about the next ''Telescope''. It takes ages to really start, but the listener is rewarded during the second part of the track. Emotional guitar is combined with dark, obscure passages. Again, Crimson is not far away.

Now, the first suite of this album: ''Picassiette''. Some French word to indicate a person who is imposing and inviting himself to get food. I have never liked such pieces being spread out through an album and I use to listen to the these pieces straight in a row. ''Walks'' is no other and the same applies to ''Sagrada Familia'' which is king of weak to say the least.

To come back to ''Picassiette'', I would sat that the classic influence is rather too much for my taste. I rather preferred the opening track which was more a combination of prog and classic than pure classic item. The same feeling prevails through the other ''walks'' of this suite.

I am more pleased while I listen to ''Das Junkerhaus'' and its more conventional approach. Great sax play in here.

In all this is a good album, but I couldn't find the long ''Wild as a Toad'' a thrilling moment in my musical life. It ends up on an imposing ''Magnificient Giant Battles'' which closes this work with brio.

Three stars.

Report this review (#216021)
Posted Friday, May 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I can certainly appreciate why this is rated so highly.This is an ambitious effort from these Swedes who boast 13 musicians along with a choir. And there's over 78 minutes of music.This is very Classical sounding which is reflected in my rating as i'm just not a fan of this style, especially when there are church choirs involved.

"The Adventure Of The Whirling Delirium" opens with the sounds of helicopters and planes flying over then the sound of a door closing and footsteps. Spoken words then violin and a beat come in. It kicks in heavier at 3 1/2 minutes. Chunky bass 8 1/2 minutes with lots of strings. "A Telescope And A Hot Air Balloon" opens with someone walking again as piano and strings take over. It kicks in with drums before 3 minutes. Nice bass and guitar too. Strings dominate late. "Picassiette-First Walk" opens with someone looking for a good radio station as the piano plays. Flute before 1 1/2 minutes. It settles down with piano late. "La Sagrada Familia-El Dia" is choir led with flute. Not a fan at all. "Das Junkerhaus" is mellow with sax but it does get a lot fuller.

"Picassiette-Second Walk" opens with piano followed by strings and sax. "La Sagrada Familia-La Tarde" features choirs and flute. "Wild As A Toad" is the longest piece at almost 18 minutes. Helicopters and planes can be heard like on the opening tune then the music kicks in. Drums, piano, strings etc. A calm with mournful cello 5 minutes in. Strings are more passionate after 7 minutes and before 10 minutes.The sound kicks in after 14 minutes. "Picassiette-Third Walk" is mostly slowly played piano melodies with violin coming in late. "La Sagrada Familia-La Noche" is a return of the choir. "Nimis-Wotan's Tower" is flute,bass and drum led. I like the guitar after 2 minutes. "La Sagrada Familia-La Manana" opens with what sounds like rain as the choir sings. "Magnificient Gigant Battles" is great to start with that dark mood as piano and other sounds come and go. Strings 2 1/2 minutes in and the drums kick in before 3 minutes. Check out the guitar a minute later.

I can appreciate this certainly, but enjoying it is another matter.

Report this review (#403174)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A competent, if rather meandering release from Isildurs Bane, The Voyage: A Trip to Elsewhere at points puts me in mind of The Enid; on this album the band's sound tends towards extended sections of classical piano, much like many Enid albums, and like the Enid said piano performances do occasionally risk drifting into schmaltzy territory. Still, it's an interesting and most definitely original symphonic concept album which harks back to the approach of the 1970s greats whilst at the same time not sounding a whole lot like any of them, so fans of symphonic prog who want a band who doesn't follow the tired old "let's take the Yes/King Crimson/ELP/whatever sound and update it a little" path may find a lot to like here.
Report this review (#608303)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars At least IMO, Isildurs Bane is one of the most ambitious and complex bands of mid 90's and early 00's. Perhaps the band has some weak productions, most of their discography it's really amazing and the band has built during the years their own and singular style.

This album in particular has most of the elements that a dedicated prog fan loves: long symphonic epics, dark chamber rock sections, intrincated melodies and harmonies, mixture of classical and electric instruments and quiet and peaceful musical moments, starting with the opener "The Adventure of the Whirling Delerium", a sofisticated chamber rock piece with some madrigal elements, plenty of intrincated and beautiful chord arrangements but even with constant melodic changes and some proggy and sometimes almost RIO epic sections.

"A Telescope and a Hot Air Balloon" starts with a pleasant piano and violin intro which turns into a dark and almost heavy section leaded by electric guitar and drums to evolve into a beautiful proggy melody. The value of this piece is their constant come back to chamber rock elements without the lose of symphonic prog sound.

"Picassiette - First Wal"k maybe is an harmonic and quiet piece leaded by piano and flute but still with constant progression. Beautiful from the first to the last second. Then begins what I call "La Sagrada Familia suite" a serie of songs inspirated by the famous catalan catedral, all of them very short and built on thrilling church chorus arrangements.

"Das Junkerhaus" is the most avant garde song of the album, very experimental and dark doesn't fit totally with the rest of the album.

"Picassiette - Second Walk" has the same delicate and hypnotizing elements that their "first part" and act as a intro for Wild as a Toad, the long epic of the álbum, a piece with constant variations with some Crimson elements but fullfilled by chamber rock atmospheres. It's a track which has a lot of symphonic sections sometimes leaded by classical chords or exquisite electric guitar arrangements.

"Picassiette - Third Walk" is another fine and delicate piece leaded by a calm ald floating piano melody. Then we listen "Nimis - Wotan's Tower" a short and rhytmical piece which reminds me proggy tunes "a la Happy the Man".

The album ends with the powerful and complex "Magnificient Giant Battles", a piece which resume in 6 minutes most of the more raw and classic RIO sound with very galloping symphonic sections.

As I said before, we are in front of a complex album, probably too much directed to exquisite prog listeners perhaps that is the reason why this álbum is so enjoyable?

Report this review (#1349522)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | Review Permalink

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