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ISILDURS BANE

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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Isildurs Bane biography
Helped by some guests (Horns, oboe, flute, cello...), ISILDURS BANE plays a majestuous orchestral symphonic between vocals, guitar, keyboards and flute. They are very percussion oriented, with a lot of keyboards and some guitar. This swedish band has a unique sound, with great playing, but it might require a couple of listenings to grow on you. Recommended to fans of Eclectic, intricate music.

Symphonic fans should try "Sagan Om Den Irlandska Algen" or the classic "Sagan Om Rigen". One symphonic/modern classical concept album, "Cheval" was recorded with an orchestra and is an unusual, but effective blend of chamber rock and classical music. And the "MIND* Vol. 1" album is a real Classic for all times: a unique, distinguished blend of contemporary Classical Music and Symphonic Progressive Rock with extremely complex structures. "MIND* Vol. 2" (2CDs) consists practically of all (and only) new compositions. On the "MIND* Vol. 3" album, and the band's concept MIND* is still alive. This one is a masterpiece. FOR THE ADVENTUROUS AND OPEN-MINDED!!!

For the first time since 1983, ISILDURS BANE have recorded an album with vocals and lyrics. "MIND Vol. 4: Pass" is characterized by strong melodies, experimental synth sounds and elaborate sound treatments. The music was recomposed and rearranged, new lyrics were written and a new approach to doing songs was the order of the day.

*(Which is an abbreviation of "Music Investigating New Dimensions".)

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ISILDURS BANE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ISILDURS BANE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 21 ratings
Sagan Om Ringen
1981
3.70 | 19 ratings
Sagan om den Irländska Älgen
1983
2.47 | 16 ratings
Sea Reflections
1985
1.58 | 12 ratings
Eight Moments of Eternity
1987
3.61 | 25 ratings
Cheval - Volonté de rocher
1989
3.98 | 54 ratings
The Voyage - A Trip to Elsewhere
1992
3.57 | 13 ratings
Sagan om Ringen - Sagan om den Irlänska Älgen
1992
3.78 | 61 ratings
Mind Volume 1
1997
2.55 | 18 ratings
Mind Vol 3
2003
3.71 | 41 ratings
Mind Vol. 4 : Pass
2003

ISILDURS BANE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 28 ratings
Mind - Vol 2 Live
2001

ISILDURS BANE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 5 ratings
MIND Volume 5 - The Observatory
2005

ISILDURS BANE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.63 | 8 ratings
Sea Reflections / Eight Moments of Eternity
1992
3.35 | 9 ratings
Lost Eggs
1994

ISILDURS BANE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 2 ratings
Songs from the Observatory
2005

ISILDURS BANE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sea Reflections  by ISILDURS BANE album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.47 | 16 ratings

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Sea Reflections
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars In 1985 Isildurs Bane made an impressive turn.They introduced a 3-part wind section with Bengt Johansson becoming a full-time member and Christian Jerhov with Jan-Ove Nilsson participating in the third album ''Sea reflections'', performing on trumpet, trombone and flugehorn.Bassist Ingvar Johansson was also replaced by newcomer Stigge Ljungloef.Another release on their own private label, ''Sea reflections'' was recorded and mixed at Studio 38 during the summer of 85' and appears to be a tribute by the band to the sea and the people close to it.

The concept around the album comes only through rumors, because this is an all instrumental effort, which the band characterized as an attempt on Symphonic Jazz and a further development over the previous albums.Half true, half false.To my ears ''Sea reflections'' sounds an attempt by the band to limit their melodious lines and increase the more furious intercations (which propably sounds fine), linked with Jazz Music, but the time of the release did not help at all, because even if the album contains some nice instrumental cuts, the slick production and the weak keyboards along with the uninteresting sax lines fail to strengthen the group's profile.Plenty of the included pieces, especially those with the wind instruments in evidence, sounds like hillarious, commercial Fusion with uninspired melodies and standard 80's values.No surprise, the moments linked with Isildurs Bane's previous style are the most interesting ones: Great guitar work along the lines of FOCUS and KAIPA with supporting, dreamy keyboard textures offer fortunately some beautiful moments of sensitive, semi-symphonic music, showered by a deep sense of melody.That is the good part, because the bad one says that these are too few to save the mediocrity of the album.

Isildurs Bane saw this effort a step towards the right direction.I see it as the most commercial-oriented effort of the group regarding its first three works, often with an unacceptable sound due to the 80's-styled acoustics.For fans of the band...2.5 stars.

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 Sagan om den Irländska Älgen  by ISILDURS BANE album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.70 | 19 ratings

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Sagan om den Irländska Älgen
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars In 1982 Isildurs Bane had their first real big tour, performing lots of concerts, at a time when original keyboardist Bengt Jonsson had already left the band.Not to be confused though with sax player Bengt Johnsson, who was making guest appearances with his sax for the band since early-80's, like in the band's second offering ''Sagan om den Irländska Älgen'', an album treating with nuclear war and its consequences in human life.The album was recorded in late 83' at Farm Studios in Helsinborg and released in 1984 on the band's newly established Isildurs Records.

The album follows more or less the style already offered in Isildurs Bane's debut, smooth Symphonic Rock in the vein of KAIPA with beautiful, dreamy instrumental textures but also plenty of skillful moments.However it is a more tight listening that ''Sagan om Ringen'' and the main reason for this is the extremely coherent 29-min. eponymous symphonic suite, divided into six movements.This is a fantastic epic with strong KAIPA and GENESIS vibes, highlighted by the incredible instrumental opening with its tremenmdous interplays as well as the elegant flute parts, the sensitive Swedish lyrics, the strong moog synths of Mats Johansson and the diverse guitar workouts of Mats Nilsson.There are a fair number of changes between atmospheric themes and more complex ideas and the folk elements remain always a main component of the band's overall symphonic approach.The pair of shorter closing tracks show the more Fusion side of Isildurs Bane, even some nice saxes appear in ''Marlboro Blues'' (played by the now guest musician Bengt Johnsson), while the performance is still quite strong with plenty of breaks.Great guitar work again by Nilsson and lots of synth solos by the talented Mats Johansson.

Excellent sophomore work by this daring Swedish combo, highly recommended to all Progressive Rock fans.Both ''Sagan...'' albums have been released in 1992 in a single CD, certainly easier to find than the original vinyl pressings.

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 Mind Volume 1 by ISILDURS BANE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.78 | 61 ratings

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Mind Volume 1
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I see a lot of reviewers here referring to this album as chamber rock, and I guess I'd agree with that definition - but dial it back a bit, don't jump to the conclusion that this is the sort of horror- influenced RIOish chamber rock practised by the likes of Univers Zero, Present and Art Zoyd. Instead, Isildurs Bane approach the idea of adapting the principles of chamber music to a rock context from the perspective of a symphonic prog band, yielding an atmosphere of intricate beauty as opposed to the jagged horrors of the other bands I've cited - the most avant touch here is the occasional use of Zappaesque percussion.

By and large this is an all-instrumental affair, aside from Holistic Medicine, in which the narration describes a complete chess match, the action of which is reflected in the music (much as on Gryphon's Red Queen to Gryphon Three), and which is probably my favourite track. But there's plenty to enjoy here with these epic, sweeping compositions, and on the whole this is the album where things really came together for Isildurs Bane. I'm inclined to try and pick up a few more pieces of the extended Mind series to see if they measure up to this one.

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 Mind Vol. 4 : Pass by ISILDURS BANE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.71 | 41 ratings

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Mind Vol. 4 : Pass
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars MIND = music investigating new dimensions. This volume includes vocal-oriented art rock and thus probably differs the most from other albums by this Swedish band. The album feels very conceptual and structured: each track title is one short word and tracks are divided into subdivisions in 4x4 structure.

I'm already a third one to say this but I strongly associated this music with PETER GABRIEL's later output (albums Us and Up). The biggest - but not the only - reason was that the vocals of Christof Jeppson sound a lot like Gabriel's. There are also a couple of female vocalists but their voices remain in a small role. Music is rich in sound, dark-toned, modern and exciting, at times quite technical and edgy, just like Peter Gabriel can be. Also in PG's discography this album would be convincing, but still ISILDURS BANE have a style of their own. The later King Crimson could be another comparison.

This is an album that takes a tight hold on the listener and doesn't necessarily reveal all of its secrets at once. On the other hand it's emotionally cold, tense and slightly disturbing album to listen to and really doesn't suit for harmless background music. Some warmer and more relaxed moments would have done good. 3½ stars.

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 Lost Eggs  by ISILDURS BANE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
3.35 | 9 ratings

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Lost Eggs
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars My acquaintance with this Swedish band started here. I didn't know in advance (when I borrowed it) that it was a compilation of unreleased tracks - which could be guessed from the title - but that didn't do any harm, on the contrary! First, this selection nicely shows the development of the band up to 1993, and second, if these are leftovers, the real albums must be well worth checking out - which proved to be right. I hate the cover and the whole design, and some more information on the band would have been useful, as a matter of fact.

As hdfisch says, mostly this is from the eighties - or late 70's. According to my memory, a lot of this relatively accessible music falls in the fusion category, but also Symphonic style of Isildurs Bane is present. The music is almost entirely instrumental. The quality is pretty good, both for compositions (with few exceptions) and especially for production, so for a fan this is well worth adding to one's collections. I wouldn't recommend to buy this if you're new to the group, but it will make you interested in the real albums.

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 The Voyage - A Trip to Elsewhere  by ISILDURS BANE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.98 | 54 ratings

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The Voyage - A Trip to Elsewhere
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Mind - Vol 2 Live by ISILDURS BANE album cover Live, 2001
3.64 | 28 ratings

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Mind - Vol 2 Live
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars This Swedish band is quite interesting, very hard to categorize. Some albums are mostly Fusion, some are more or less symphonic prog with album concepts and a dash of Canterbury or Camel (e.g. Sagan om den Irländska Älgen; Sagan om Ringen), some are Peter Gabriel-like art rock with vocals (MIND Vol 4), and some, like this one, are somewhere between rock and modern chamber music. This is a live 2-CD, but far from a typical rock live album. In its classical influences I'd compare the music to the Hungarian AFTER CRYING, even if the variety of instruments is not as wide. And on some tracks one could think of modern European jazz on the ECM label. Or think of some art happenings with dance, video art or something: this could be music for those purposes (and actually some pieces originally were too).

So maybe it's no wonder that at least some of this music is... how would I put it nicely, well, not exactly boring, but... too arty-farty for its own good. Background music, as one reviewer put it. There's a lot of material from Bane's previous albums but the versions differ more or less. Of those that I've now heard both versions, I can only say that there's no need for two, whichever is the better one. One thing is sure: the listener can't much feel the extra live atmosphere as on more commonplace rock live albums. In practise this doesn't feel very much live album at all, more like a compilation featuring revised versions and some previously unreleased or hard-to- find material. And even as such, quite one-sided in style. For example no vocals.

Musically this wasn't so delicious as several other Bane albums I've listened to this far. For me this served as a view into many albums new to me (and therefor I would have wanted more informative liner notes in this respect). But on other than musical levels there were many interesting things that this album introduced me into, thanks for the mentioned texts. For example monsieur Cheval who dedicated his life to building a castle with little pebbles, and a house called Junkerhaus (in Lemgo, Germany) which is like a wooden sculpture. I googled an internet page with a video of that house; indeed one cannot decide if its disturbing or charming! A couple of other themes also dealt with architecture and/or eccentric artists.

Otherwise this package looks boring inside and out, as there are so little colour pictures and so much blank space on numerous pages. Was there any band photos at all? Not sure. Anyway, I wouldn't say this is a must for fans, nor a best possible place to get into the band.

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 Mind - Vol 2 Live by ISILDURS BANE album cover Live, 2001
3.64 | 28 ratings

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Mind - Vol 2 Live
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ISILDURS BANE are a band that i've had a hard time getting into simply because i've found their music to be too Classical sounding. So going into this double live album with over 153 minutes of music on it, lets just say I wasn't too enthusiastic at the prospect of having to give this the 5-7 listens needed before my review. Well it only took one listen for me to understand why this is regarded as their best recording,and it grew on me from there. While it is a live album, the band calls it a concept record and have done plenty of manipulation in the studio to get this to sound the way they want it to. And yes it sounds amazing.This is a recording that keeps my interest throughout. It has some variety on it and I like the way they input spoken word samples as well as sampled converstions and at one point it's like we're in the middle of some party. Also parts of this sound like an ECM recording. Classy and atmospheric with laid back horns. Sure there is that Classical element still but there's also some fairly heavy Rock passages intigrated with the guitar, bass and drums kicking ass.This has been such a big and pleasant surprise and given me a real appreciation for how talented these guys are, especially Mats Johansson the keyboardist and composer.The liner notes that come with this are thick and packed full of pictures and a description of each composition and more.This is truly a must have for fans of this band.There is a six part piece called "Extroversion" that is spread throughout this double album giving it some unity.

"Extroversion (Phase 1)" sounds interesting to get us started and it blends into "Opportunistic Medicine" where a beat with guitar and atmosphere takes over. It turns heavy before 3 minutes. Nice. Some excellent drum work follows then it's the guitars turn with vibes and prominant bass. It's heavy again to end it. "Chevel" is an over 19 minute piece divided into 4 songs. Drums pound as keys and atmosphere help out. Guitar 1 1/2 minutes in rips it up. Orchestral music comes in then a calm followed by children's laughter. Intricate percussion then the guitar plays tastefully.The guitar isn't so tasteful 5 minutes in. Haha. Sampled French spoken words as other spoken words come and go as the original speaker continues. Cool section. Percussion joins in.The suite ends in a laid back manner. "Extroversion (Phase 2)" features a sampled conversation with lots of activity going on in the background. "Exit Permit" is 23 1/2 minutes long.You can hear a plane fly over a couple of times then the violins start to slice it up. It kicks in with drums after 1 1/2 minutes. It settles as piano takes over then kicks in again with horns this time. A heavy beat and chunky bass 9 1/2 minutes in.The tempo and mood continue to change.

"La Ruche" is mellow with violin, flute, vibes and piano all helping out. "Holy Fools" is dark to start with spoken words. Some heaviness follows. It stops and changes before 4 1/2 minutes. Great section here with the bass, guitar and organ."Extroversion (Phase 3)" is another great piece with that atmosphere along with gutar and bass.

"Extroversion (Phase 4)" opens disc two with samples and sounds. "The Flight Onward" kicks in with drums and guitar. Killer sound here. It settles after 2 1/2 minutes then settles even more after 4 minutes. It kicks back in though and drums dominate late. "Celestial Vessel" is the almost 24 minutes 7 part suite that really blows me away. It's spacey, atmospheric, experimental and heavy as it takes us through a journey in our minds. "Unity" is a beautiful tune that kicks in fuller before 3 minutes. "The Pilot" changes tempos quite often and we get some excellent guitar. "Das Junkerhaus" is slow moving with atmosphere and guitar.it does turn aggressive around 4 1/2 minutes. "Extroversion (Phase 5)" is spacey with atmosphere.

"The Voyage" is over 16 minutes long and it is like a trip. "Exit Visa" is led by strings and horns. Impressive.The guitar, bass and drums take over before 3 minutes and they sound great.The orchestration returns though. "Extroversion (Phase 6)" ends the album with sparse piano and sounds in this melancholic conclusion.

For fans of adventerous music, others should stay clear of Mind Volume 2.

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 Mind Volume 1 by ISILDURS BANE album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.78 | 61 ratings

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Mind Volume 1
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars ISILDURS BANE are a six piece band at this point but we get another ten guests helping out plus a choir. So yes they do have a "big" sound. As usual this is very orchestral and classical sounding with some "Rock" elements thrown in the mix. Many of these tracks blend into one another.

"The Flight Onward-Phases 1-5" is almost spacey with classical sounds coming and going.The spacey vibe fades away after a minute. It all kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes. A very classical sounding tune. "Ataraxia" features violin and vibes standing out on in this mellow sounding song. "In A State Of Comprehension" does get fuller before 3 minutes with guitar, drums and bass to end it. Violin comes in late. "The Pilot" has some sampled words to start as the music kicks in. It turns fairly heavy 2 minutes in and the flute is prominant playing over top. Guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. A calm before 3 1/2 minutes and those sampled words return. It does get fuller and the sampled words end it.

"Unity" opens with piano before violin and a beat join in. "Opportunistic Walk-Phases 1-2" opens with piano and violin. Drums after 1 1/2 minutes. Drums and vibes dominate after 3 minutes then a classical flavour takes over with aboe and more. A change after 8 minutes as the guitar and drums take over. Orchestral sounds come and go before 13 minutes. "Holistic Medicine" opens with violin as this guy yells out chess terminolgy. It's like he's describing a chess match.This will come and go throughout as the music changes and evolves from heavy to mellow to classical. "A Blank Page" features melancholic violin and guitar leading the way.

A good album no doubt, just not the style of music i'm into.

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 The Voyage - A Trip to Elsewhere  by ISILDURS BANE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.98 | 54 ratings

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The Voyage - A Trip to Elsewhere
Isildurs Bane Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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