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WHITE WILLOW

Symphonic Prog • Norway


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White Willow biography
WHITE WILLOW are the leading Norwegian band of the 1990's Prog revival and were begun in 1992 by guitarist Jacob Holm-Lupo. The band was based around a nucleus of Holm-Lupo (guitars), Jan Tariq Rahman (keyboards, bass, guitars, wind instruments) , Audun Kjus (wind instruments, vocals), Sara Trondal (vocals), Eldrid Johansen (vocals), Alexander Engebretsen (5 string bass), Tirill Mohn (violin, classical guitar) and an unnamed drummer as well as a collection of guest musicians. Over a period of 2 years from December '92 to September '94 the band recorded a number of songs that would form their fist album, Ignis Fatuus, released in '95 by The Lasers Edge, the start of a long partnership with the American label, and signalling them as one of the leading groups in the revival of Progressive Rock along with bands like ANGLAGARD and ANEKDOTEN. The sound of this first album is largely characterised by mid paced, acoustic guitar and mellotron led Folk Prog, bringing to mind GRYPHON but with a touch of the more acoustic nature of early GENESIS and KING CRIMSON's first line-up. However, the two "epic" songs that close out the album showed a full electric band with a much more staunchly Symphonic approach. If there is two words than can be used to describe the bands music though, its melancholic and beautiful, two characteristics that would remain with the band and become the signature of their sound.

Because of the extended nature of the recording time for the album Ignis Fatuus and with the band members having very informal roles, it has a feeling of a solo project at times but also of a young band trying to find their sound. In the following three years the band was reformed around the core of Jacob Holm-Lupo and Jan Tariq Rahman, with Frode Lia joining on bass and Mattias Olsson (ANGLAGARD) on drums. Sylvia Erichsen would join as vocalist and for many fans would become the voice of WHITE WILLOW for years to come. The second album Ex Tenebris would be released in '98 and featured a changed sound from the début. The mid paced, melancholic atmosphere would remain, but it featured a much more sparse, striped-down sound with a slightly more Symphonic Rock touch added to the folk. Following this release the band would also see more success on tour, attracting wide acclaim for their performances at a wide variety of Prog festivals across Europe. Following the touring, many members once again left the band with only Holm-Lupo and Erichsen remaining. The new line-up...
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Buy WHITE WILLOW Music


Ignis Fatuus (Expanded Edition 2CD)Ignis Fatuus (Expanded Edition 2CD)
Termo Records 2013
Audio CD$19.01
$22.73 (used)
SacramentSacrament
Termo Records 2014
Audio CD$16.99
Ex TenebrisEx Tenebris
Termo Records 2014
Audio CD$16.99
Terminal TwilightTerminal Twilight
Laser's Edge 2011
Audio CD$16.79
$12.92 (used)
Storm SeasonStorm Season
Laser's Edge 2004
Audio CD$25.99
$18.00 (used)
Ignis FatuusIgnis Fatuus
Remastered · Import
Belle Antique 2013
Audio CD$47.50
$59.08 (used)
Terminal Twilight by White Willow (2011) Audio CDTerminal Twilight by White Willow (2011) Audio CD
Laser's Edge
Audio CD$41.82
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WHITE WILLOW discography


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WHITE WILLOW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 98 ratings
Ignis Fatuus
1995
3.22 | 65 ratings
Ex Tenebris
1998
3.91 | 117 ratings
Sacrament
2000
3.96 | 122 ratings
Storm Season
2004
3.53 | 84 ratings
Signal to Noise
2006
3.90 | 225 ratings
Terminal Twilight
2011

WHITE WILLOW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

WHITE WILLOW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

WHITE WILLOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ignis Fatuus by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.77 | 98 ratings

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Ignis Fatuus
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings

4 stars Although I bought the reissue with the bonus disc, I am going to review only the original album as that first disc has captivated my ear and the second disc has yet to really sink in enough to demand playing time from my brain.

It was quite likely that I was not ever going to get a White Willow album. Coming from a heavy metal background, I prefer bands with a fair bit of electric guitar in the mix and tend to have less interest in folk-based bands, especially those who get a little too traditional, meaning renaissance or medieval. I mean, having that kind of music in your ear buds is okay but you can't be blaring medieval folk music from the car windows while stopped at a light next to, well, nearly anybody except the season one version of Black Adder. However, I read about this album in a book of prog rock history and good starting point albums, and after buying and liking Anekdoten and Anglagard, I decided to give this album a chance even though the sample listening I had done had me worried.

Surprise, surprise, I quickly discovered that this album really appealed to me. The acoustic guitar, flute, and piano parts are very clearly recorded and lovely to listen to. But there is a good mix of electric sounds too and especially delightful are the heavier parts with distorted electric guitar and classic heavy prog organ. I think it is exactly because the album has so much traditional music (folk, renaissance, medieval) that the heavy electric parts really stand out. But more than that, White willow seem to know what they are doing. They change their singing style to suite the age and style which they are trying to capture. Both the male and female vocals do a very fine job at adapting to the styles too.

Some of the longer songs give the band more room to move around and it's common to find the style and atmosphere changing once or twice. "The Withering of the Boughs" is for the first four minutes a sombre folk ditty of sorts but it changes into a wonderful jig (or is it a reel?) on flute with a simple bass playing alongside. Then some simple percussion joins and then, oh beautiful idea, a moog solo plays overtop the jig. I love flute jigs (or are they reels?) and am a fan of the Scottish/Irish/Celtic folk/rock band Spirit of the West, but here with a moog played over for the last minute, I loved it!

"Now in these Fairy Lands" is not so long but after a slow folksy beginning it turns into an upbeat seventies acoustic guitar bit with organ which also has enchanted my ear.

As for the heavier parts, "Cryptomenysis" and "John Dee's Lament" stand out for me in how they incorporate the heavier guitar into the band's more acoustic style. One point I particularly enjoyed is how the drumming changes in "Cryptomenysis" as the same music is played in different styles. When it's heaviest, the drumming follows a 70's proto-metal style, but as the style lightens up the drumming changes accordingly. It seems to me that this incarnation of White Willow really paid close attention to detail which makes this creation a great joy to listen to.

Though I wouldn't say the entire album appeals to me through and through, I do find it to be excellently executed. In the end, this album has left a bigger impression with me than Anglagard and Anekdoten who were mentioned together with White Willow in the book I read. Though the folk element presides over much of the album, there are plenty of nice surprises elegantly interwoven throughout. A very solid four stars from me.

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 Ex Tenebris  by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.22 | 65 ratings

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Ex Tenebris
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by MJAben

2 stars I wish I could rate this three stars, giving it only two stars seems to imply that the music is weak or that the album is without effort. Nether of which are the case, in fact this is a compelling, interesting and well thought out idea that, unfortunately, did not translate into a strong album.

Perhaps it could be blamed on the recording quality, the relative density of the music / subject matter or the (at times) monotonous vocals but regardless you can't help but get a sense of a failed vision on this record, something that could be far greater than what it is.

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 Storm Season by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.96 | 122 ratings

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Storm Season
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by agla

5 stars The name of the White Willow is closely linked to that of groups such as Anglagard and Anekdoten, when the Norwegian group gave his fundamental contribution to the birth of this extraordinary season (for the progressive rock) that have been the beginning of the nineties .

Now in its fourth album , the White Willow impose a significant change of direction in their sound , without denying their roots folk rock and progressive , but grafting on this solid foundation elements that might make it desirable Storm Season, even to lovers of other genres .The guitars are much heavier than in the past and doom for the entire album and the atmosphere is very gothic and decadent (and not just for the cover ... )

This is mainly due to the guitarist Jacob Holm - Lupo , author of almost all the music of this album and excellent musician , capable of alternating along the seven lengthy tracks of this work relaxed atmosphere in pure gothic rock , classic arrangements , and explicit references and progressive folk , thanks to the important part that they Mellotron , Hammond and mini- moog within the work . A job for fascinating and varied , just to prove the absolute value of Scandinavian prog!!!

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 Ignis Fatuus by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.77 | 98 ratings

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Ignis Fatuus
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Ignis Fatuus" is the debut full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive rock act White Willow. The album was released through The Laser's Edge in 1995. White Willow are one of the most prolific acts from the 90s Norwegian progressive rock scene.

The music on "Ignis Fatuus" is 70s influenced progressive rock packed in a warm and organic sound production. There is a vintage analogue feel about the album which is further enhanced by the inclusion of instruments like violins, pipes, flutes and vintage keyboards/synths (some of which also provides the music with an occasional folky edge). There are both male and female vocals on the album but they are generally pretty sparse (and delivered in both English and Norwegian). The musicianship is on high level.

The atmosphere is generally on the darker side of the progressive rock fence. Even to the point of being sinister at times. Especially the violin adds an eerie darkness to the sound, but also the distorted bass and the heavy drumming does a great job at creating a gloomy sound. White Willow are much more than that though and the album also features more "light" sections. It´s actually quite a varied release and might require a few spins before it sinks in. Featuring 12 tracks and a 66:34 minutes long playing time, "Ignis Fatuus" is also a rather long album, but as the material are as intriguing, well played and well produced as it generally are, that´s not necessarily a weakness and of course not at all uncommon in progressive rock either.

The tracks range from 2 to almost 12 minutes in length. Some of the shorter tracks work as interludes between the longer tracks. There are several standout tracks on the album but the two longest tracks on the album, "Cryptomenysis" and "John Dee´s Lament" do stand out the most to me. Fans of dark 70s progressive rock should find a lot to like about "Ignis Fatuus" and overall it´s a high quality release by White Willow. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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 Terminal Twilight by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.90 | 225 ratings

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Terminal Twilight
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars White Willow's Terminal Twilight album kicks off with some downright intriguing keyboard textures from Lars Fredrik Froislie which made me hopeful for the rest of the album and anticipate a refreshed and revitalised sound from the band; unfortunately, once the performances get under way the album feels more like business as usual for White Willow. It's a competent enough collection of songs and fans of the band certainly won't go away disappointed, but to me it felt a little too often that the band were stuck in a rut and kind of phoning it in, failing to emotionally connect with me as a listener. Bland, but passable.

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 Sacrament by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.91 | 117 ratings

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Sacrament
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

5 stars Wow! I went into this album with absolutely no expectations, and White Willow blew me away handily. This symphonic prog band is also very folksy, and this can be seen in the intense flute and stunning arrangements. This album may contain the best flute I've ever heard, and that's really saying something.

The female vocals are also particularly beauteous. The thick, fairy tale atmospheres are broken by the sharp and gorgeous vox. They really balanced each other well. I was also highly impressed with the funky bass lines that give the whole album some zip and zap.

Honestly, halfway through the first track, Anamnesis, I was still confused. Suddenly, everything made sense, and the rest of the album floored me. My favorites are the aforementioned track, Paper Moon, and Gnostalgia. These tracks are simply rich, playful, and quite impressive as well on a technical basis. I'll be sure to listen to the rest of this band's discography.

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 Sacrament by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.91 | 117 ratings

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Sacrament
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is the third album by Norwegian act White Willow, but is the first that I have heard. I know that the debut 'Ignis Fatuus' caused quite a stir when it came out in 1995, but I never got around to getting it. I am now wondering what I have missed as this is a prog album of some depth. Vocalist Sylvia Erichsen is similar to Annie Haslam, and the music comes across as a mixture of King Crimson/Jethro Tull and even Gryphon. There is a lot of space in the music, and although there are three keyboard players in the band the music is still very guitar based.

Lots of acoustic guitar (and as the press release states that this is their heaviest release I wonder what the others were like), and reflection but this is not New Age at all. Jacob Holm-Lupo (who provides much of the material, as well as playing guitars /keys) harmonises well with Sylvia, and songs such as "The Last Rose Of Summer" are a sheer delight. Definitely one to savour.

Originally appeared in Feedback #60

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 Ex Tenebris  by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.22 | 65 ratings

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Ex Tenebris
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Three years after the very good ''Ignis Fatuus'' White Willow returned with their sophomore effort ''Ex Tenebris'', offered again through The Laser's Edge.Jacob Holm-Lupo refreshed the line-up in a significant deegree, only keyboardist Jan Tariq Rahman remained stable.New entries were female singer Sylvia Erichsen and Dødsverk/Prosessor Balthazar's bassist Frode Lia.But the biggest addition was definitely Änglagård's drummer Mattias Olsson.

This has to be one of the best laid-back Progressive/Folk Rock albums of the 90's, somewhat similar to ERIS PLUVIA and EZRA WINSTON, with a strong Scandinavian feel and some absolutely ethereal arrangements.The album is full of lush orchestrations with an incredible, dreamy and nostalgic atmosphere, that alternates between very smooth and melodic themes and darker/deeper territories.The later are mostly driven by the haunting organ of Rahman and the psychedelic drumming of Olsson, delivering a pastoral but also very cloudy mood along the lines of GOBLIN.''Ex tenebris'' is filled with some excellent Mellotron parts, calm piano interludes, medieval acoustic tunes and occasional electric textures with a strong melodic content and intense folky vibes both in the musical and vocal sections.Synths are used sporadically in a grand symphonic line.Speaking of vocals, these seem to play a major role in the album and all you can say is that they are absolutely magnificent with a crystal-clear color.The amalgam offers a fantastic result, moving, dreamy and well-arranged music full of imaginary soundscapes.

With ''Ex Tenebris'' Holm-Lupo established himself as a great songwriter and composer.Scandinavian Symph/Folk Rock with a unique atmosphere of its own and impressive lyrical moments.Highly recommended.

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 Signal to Noise by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.53 | 84 ratings

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Signal to Noise
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars White Willow's fifth studio album, 'Signal to Noise', was mixed and produced by Tommy Hansen (Helloween, TNT, Pagan's Mind, Circus Maximus). The line-up features new singer Trude Eidtang (vocals), Lars Fredrik Frøislie (keyboards, electronics), Jacob Holm-Lupo (guitars), Ketil Vestrum Einarsen (woodwinds), Marthe Berger Walthinsen (bass guitar) and Aage Moltke Schou (drums, percussion). Before I get onto the music I must mention the group photo, as they are sat around the table on which is a pile of albums ? the top one of which I recognise as being 'The Day The Earth Caught Fire' by City Boy. Any band that recognises just how good City Boy were, are already ahead in my book.

Well, the band took three weeks to record this instead of one year, and have a new singer onboard to boot, but they have still managed to produce a multi-layered progressive rock album that twists and turns through many different styles yet still contains loads of mellotrons. Trude's voice has a good range, but there is an almost ethereal quality to it ? a breathiness which adds to the overall feel of what is a very strong rock band with lots of ideas. White Willow are going to be playing in the UK at the Summer's End Festival, and I know that on the basis of this album there are going to be many progheads who are going to be very pleased to see them indeed. This is good solid symphonic prog from the Seventies with loads of ideas. www.lasercd.com

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 Sacrament by WHITE WILLOW album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.91 | 117 ratings

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Sacrament
White Willow Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars White Willow is a band that I know for years but never was able until 2009 to get hold of one of their albums, is the third release from 2000 named Sacrament. To tell the truth at first spin I was disappointed, to mellow and to slow musical portions are present. After more spins the album begun to grow slowly but sure. Now I considered this release quite good even great in some parts. The combination of folk almost pastoral at times atmosphere with some symphonic passages the result is pretty much ok. Opning with a mellow tune Anamnesis combined with some edgy moments, that did nothing for my ears only from third piece The Crucible - White Willow manage to really capture my attention. Is an instruments track that beggins slowly and with mellow passaged and then after 3 min it dransforming in some killer tune with amazing musicianship and super arrangements. The flute , keyboards are absolutly killer here, very strong, the combination in a perfect mix between folk passages with some symphonic ones are top notch. Another highlight is the ending tine The Reach with some nice tempo changes from slow to more up tempo, nice breaks and the heavines is very well presented in this song, 11 min of grandious prog. In the end a very nice album, some considered their best, maybe, I only know this one and their newest one Terminal twilight from lats year and is definetly better then that one, but I do not see Sacement a truly great and inovative album, only some pieces are strong from 6 tracks only 3 are really good the rest are ok but nothing more. 3 stars maybe 3.5 in some places, anyway good album that needs attention.

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