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INTROITUS

Neo-Prog • Sweden


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Introitus picture
Introitus biography
Founded in Vansbro, Sweden in 1999

INTROITUS started as a more fixed project in mid 2000 although the first album Fantasy is music from before that. The debut album "Fantasy" was released in 2007 as a documentation of MATS BENDER (co-founder and keyboards) music from as early as 1970s. The album was so nicely recieved that Introitus felt that it might be nice to give it another go with more music and a change of the line-up. The second album "Elements" saw the light of day in 2011, and was even better recieved in the progressive world. With even more good vibes they now felt that Introitus was a more solid project then they had anticipated. The third effort entitled "Anima" was released in 2014 and the first tour in the UK was made. By this time Introitus became a good live band as well.

Next INTROITUS started working on the new album "Shadows" in 2017. However, life took some turns with daytime jobs, newborns and other family happenings. So the album was released in June of 2019, it took some time!

The music is always inspired by both good progressive metal as well as ambience music, such as VANGELIS and KITARO. All members of Introitus have other daytime-jobs. Mats and his wife ANNA JOBS BENDER (lead vocals) are working with a couple of other music-projects as well, but INTROITUS is always their first baby! The progressive scene in Sweden is very small and the band also lives a bit away from the central places wich makes it difficult to travel to the scenes. However, the UK has recieved Introitus very well and the band is working towards a tour there and on the European continent in the near future.

Bio by TenYearsAfter (June 2019)

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INTROITUS discography


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

3.69 | 59 ratings
Fantasy
2007
3.94 | 244 ratings
Elements
2011
3.88 | 73 ratings
Anima
2014
3.81 | 46 ratings
Shadows
2019

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

INTROITUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

INTROITUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Shadows by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 46 ratings

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Shadows
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Back with their fourth album, their first on BEM, Introitus are very much a family affair, with Mats' wife Anna on vocals, and their son Mattias on drums with daughter Johanna on chorus vocals. They are joined by Par Helje on lead guitar and Dennis Lindkvist on bass and new member (and partner of Mattias) Linnea Syrjala joining them on flutes, accordion and additional keyboards. Formed as long ago as 1999, label manager David Elliott is very please indeed to have them onboard: David Elliott, BEM's Label Manager. 'I've been in contact with Anna and Mats since seeing them play at Summer's End a few years back. Progressive rock mixed with folk elements has always been one of my favourite combinations, and this is a band that does it really well'.

Solidly within the neo prog sub-genre although with plenty of folk elements, this is an interesting album in that there never seems to be a rush, never a hurry. There is always time taken to build the drama, which does mean that they need a very strong singer indeed as often the vocals are what are holding it all together, and in Anna they have a singer who not only has a good range and powerful vocals, but has superb breath control who is able to hold notes without wavering or faltering. The keyboard sounds and runs do sound quite dated, quite Eighties, but they work within the overall sound of the album and songs such as 'Beyond Fantasy' combine these with piano and accordion in a to produce something which is quite special. This is an album which takes time for the listener to get inside, as it is actually possible to dismiss it, and should not be played while doing anything else. The first time I listened to it was when I was working outside on the farm and had only realised it had finished when a totally different form of music started, I had missed it altogether. But, sit and listen to it and it is a different album altogether.

While it is delicate, there is a restrained power behind it, and the haunting wooden flute definitely adds something quite special indeed. The music and melodies ripple like babbling streams, with shining dappled light from the trees, and the album makes me feel of spring and awakening. There are depths to be plumbed, but only from listeners prepared to actually listen, as this just doesn't work as background music. The climax within 'Desperation' demands you fall into the music and get taken into a new world. Superb.

 Shadows by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 46 ratings

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Shadows
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Introitus started as a more fixed project in mid 2000 although the first album Fantasy is music from before that. Fantasy was released in 2007 as a documentation of Mats music from as early as 1970s. The album was so nicely recieved that Introitus felt that it might be nice to give it another go with more music and a change of the line-up. Elements saw the light of day in 2011 and was even better received in the progressive world. With even more good vibes they now felt that Introitus was a more solid project then they first anticipated. Anima was released in 2014 and the first tour in the UK was made. By this time Introitus turned into a good live-band as well. They started working on Shadows in 2017. However, life took a few turns with daytime jobs, newborns and other family happenings. So the album was released in June of 2019, five years after the previous effort. The UK has received Introitus very well and the band is working towards a tour there, and on the Europeen continent in the near future.

1. Belong (6:59) : The opener mainly contains a distinctive Floydian atmosphere with wonderful orchestral keyboards and slide guitar. Halfway an accellaration with a heavy guitar solo, a tight beat and lush Hammond waves. The female English vocals sound inspired, but the simple lyrics are a bit amateurish.

2. Shadows (9:28) ; Now we are in the realm of Neo-Prog, wonderfully coloured with flute, piano and sensitive electric guitar. The final part is very compelling, in the vein of the bombastic early Pallas featuring slow synthesizer flights, Mellotron choirs and bass pedals, wow!

3. Beyond Fantasy (7:04) : This time it starts with a spacey synthesizer intro, another fine musical idea from the band. The sound in the wonderful composition sounds like a movie soundtrack from Vangelis, embellished with tender piano runs, soaring ocarina flute, slow synthesizer flights and celestical female vocals.

4. Desperation (13:17) : The longest, very melodic and harmonic composition delivers a lot of variety and shifting moods. From dreamy with flute, fragile guitar play and tender piano to a slow rhythm with bombastic keyboards (choir sound) and emotional vocals. And from accellarations with heavy guitar riffs, Mark Kelly-like synthesizer flights and a tight beat to bombastic climates with emotional vocal harmonies and moving guitar runs. The band succeeds to keep my attention and plays on a very decent level, you can hear Introitus is a tight unit.

5. Figures (6:19) : In this track sumptuous atmosphere and prog metal rule featuring thunderous drums, heavy guitar and sensational, flashy synthesizer soli. In the second part a mellow interlude with tender electric guitar runs, then turning into a bombastic eruption (like Pallas) with a majestic Mellotron choir sound, then again the prog metal climate. It's amazing how frequently Introitus changes its musical face!

6. My Hero (4:36) : In order to keep on surprising the listener now Introitus presents a romantic ballad, it sounds like a song from a feel good movie, with emotional female and male vocals, embellished with dreamy piano and soft synthesizer drops.

7. Awakening (11:43) : The final composition is loaded with changing atmospheres and a variety of instruments, and again Introitus succeeds to keep my attention during the entire running time. My higlights are a wonderful accordion solo, a moving guitar solo with lush Hammond waves, a spectacular pitchbend driven synthesizer solo and the final part featuring female vocal solo (like Great Gig In The Sky from Pink Floyd), topped with a Mellotron choir-like sound and bass pedals, wow!

I am pleasantly surprised by Introitus its varied and dynamic sound, scouting the borders between modern symphonic rock and Neo-Prog, and with lots of surprising musical twists and turns. The vocals sound inspired, my only negative remark concerns the pretty simply lyrics, at some moments close to amateurish. But to me not really disturbing, lots to enjoy!

This review was recently published on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine, in a slightly different version.

 Shadows by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 46 ratings

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Shadows
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars "Introitus" is a Neo-prog band that was founded in 1999 in Sweden. The interesting thing about them is that 4 members of the band are a family: founder Mats Bender (keyboards) who is the father, his wife Anne (vocals), and their children Mattias (drums), and Johanna (vocals). On their 4th full length studio album, released in June of 2019, the remainder of the band line- up consists of Par Helje (guitar), Linnea Syrjala (accordion, ocarina, chalumeau, vocals), and Dennis Lindkvist (bass). The album consists of 7 tracks and has a total run time of just under an hour.

The music is surprisingly complex at times and heavy with solid guitar solos and keyboard flourishes. Par is definitely an impressive guitarist and Mats keyboards are full and have that definite Neo-prog sound. Anne's vocals are excellent, her voice is full and expressive, almost reminiscent of Nancy Wilson, not so much in tone though as in fullness, and the accent is not very heavy (the lyrics are in English). The other supporting musicians are impressive and keep right up with the professionalism of the music. The melodies are mostly quite accessible, and the instrumental passages are where you find more of the complex meter changes. The mix of guitar and keys is well balanced with plenty of soloing and riffs to keep things interesting.

"Belong" is a great opener and establishes the fact that this band is serious. It is stately and has a great combination of straightforward rock and passages of originality and progressiveness. "Shadows" approaches the 10 minute mark, and doesn't lack for excellent musicianship either. As in the previous track, the vocal sections are straightforward while the instrumental sections feature the mood, tempo and meter changes. This one features a softer section with some nice flute provided by guest Helena Tenstam. The lyrics are a bit weak in parts, but that is made up for in Anne's strong vocals. "Beyond Fantasy" starts off dreamlike with washes of synth. These washes back off a bit and one of those strange instruments starts playing, sounding almost like a bassy brass or wind instrument creating a nice texture especially with the wordless vocals created by the small chorus of vocalists. Then a nice piano comes in and another flute-like instrument plays. As the track continues, this lovely instrumental evokes passion and a certain natural or organic sound and a mix of sometimes heavy synth effects. The accordion comes in later providing a surprisingly soft texture. The music is very romantic sounding. Wordless vocals do come in later, and work to anchor the melody.

"Desperation" is the longest track at over 13 minutes. It is heralded in by a guitar riff and later an accordion. Expressive vocals soon join in as the music remains soft and supportive. The music remains slow in tempo and reserved through the first verse and the full band doesn't kick in until the bridge in the 2nd verse. The lyrics are again a bit weak, but that is really the only thing lacking here. Intensity builds through the 2nd chorus and the sound becomes much fuller with more guitar flourishes. Heavy guitar and accordion bring this into a sudden quicker tempo backed by throbbing guitar and the vocals return. Later, things soften again and the flute comes in and carries the instrumental section. Another tempo change brings in a synth solo. There are places where the rhythm seems a little off, but it's not too noticeable. Then the drums drop off and a reflective guitar solo with piano backing begins. The drums come back in with the bass, but this time playing a softer and slower rhythm while the piano and guitar compliment each other with the flute coming in again later. At 11 minutes, the tempo gets heavier and the vocals return followed by a climatic ending.

"Figures" starts off with a complex introduction with heavy guitars and synth. Processed vocals come in later and soon turn natural, but it isn't long before the guitar and keys are showing off again with several tempo and mood shifts. Later, there are wordless vocals in harmonized layers before Anne comes back in with stylized vocals, then there is a short bit of tech drumming thrown in for a short time at the ending. "My Hero" is a soft and straightforward song with vocals by guest Martin Jobs. I'm not sure what he might have in relation to the band or family, but the song seems to be quite personal, but it is a bit out of place here. It sounds like a young voice, probably a teenager. But then an older, more mature male voice comes in singing another verse, then they sing together. It's a bit schmaltzy and seems out of its element on this album, but at least it's only 4 minutes.

"Awakening" ends the album with an 11+ minute track. It starts off with a pensive piano with some sustained effects. The accordion comes in later taking over the spotlight while the piano supports. After 2 minutes, the synths bring a symphonic effect to the music as it swells, then the band comes in with the guitar leading the way with a moderately slow rhythm. Things intensify, the tempo picks up and a synth solo comes in. A short bass solo changes up the mood a bit, and things get more progressive with various style changes and more cool synth backed by dark guitar chords. The tempo slows and the guitar takes over again. Wordless vocals come in after 7 minutes and follow the guitar note for note. Sudden fast tempo shift and a swirling synth solo with effects bring in a more upbeat guitar solo with some impressive playing. This all breaks down at 9 minutes and a steady slow beat accompanies sustained synths, the return of wordless vocals and accordion. The tune builds a bit, but this continues to the end of the track.

This is a decent album by a very talented family and band. There is plenty here to back up the Neo-prog label they have and there is plenty of progressive aspects to make everyone happy. There is a degree of accessibility to the album with the simpler vocal melodies, but the strong vocals along with the excellent musicianship are big strengths for this album. It is well produced with some great sound. The biggest fault lies in some of the weak lyrics and that one tune "My Hero" that seems out of place here. But the album is still strong and deserves a 4 star rating for the musicality, progressive aspects and the strength of the vocalist.

 Fantasy by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.69 | 59 ratings

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Fantasy
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by steelyhead

3 stars This the first CD of this group and the first one I have listened and I gotta say this is a pleasant surprise. First of all It is very unusual in prog to have four members of one family playing together but here they do a great job. Even the mother with her lyrics and voice (both are just fine, not great). Second of all, the music is great but here It comes the weakness I found: there's no Introitus "sound" there's not a single element that gives a clue what direction the second production will have. Keyboards are great, guitar playing is just what you expect, there's a violin (a good one) and some other instruments. Expect some Mostly Autumn comparisons but this is a different kind of group, more prog than celtic. Good one to have in your collection.
 Anima by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 73 ratings

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Anima
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by Thierry

4 stars The fabulous Swedish outfit is back! I was seduced by their second opus, "Elements" (2011). "Anima" is another tour de force. You'll find great song writing, arrangements, musicianship and production as before. It starts with Matts Bender on keyboards who plays his instruments with such power and resourcefulness. As in the previous opus, the keyboards are the dominant instruments here. But Par Helje does a great job on the guitars, with some gorgeous Hackett-like solos. And Anna Bender's (Matts' wife) crystal clear vocals and poetic lyrics just add emotion to the blend. I forget Matts and Anna's children on drums and backing vocals! No, this is not a family business as you may say but rather a labour of love! Three of the 9 tracks exceed 10 minutes in duration and there is not a weak track on the whole album. As I said, "Anima" is powerful and emotional on the same time, enlightened by lush melodies and instrumental passages. Everything you could want from modern symphonic and neo prog is here. I think like "Elements", "Anima" will be at the top of my 2014 best albums list. Fans of Magenta, hurry! Highly recommended.
 Anima by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 73 ratings

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Anima
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Elements, the predecessor to this album, is one of my favourites of all time, with its gut-wrenching emotions marking a work that was nothing short of genius, so following this up was always going to be a mighty ask for any act.

Swedish band Introitus have, though, made an excellent job. Anima, an interesting examination of the human soul, or psyche, once again highlights all that is interesting and endearing about the band, but does also move the band's sound forward in that there is far greater room for expression by Pars Helje and his guitar, and he takes full advantage with some memorable riffs and rhythms.

At the heart of all that is best here, though, again, is the wonderful combination of wife and husband - Anna Bender on vocals, and Mats on keyboards.

There are three ten minute plus epics to delight our senses here. The first, Broken Glass, is, to these ears, perhaps the least convincing. When it is good, with heavy, crashing riffs accompanying the beautiful sound of Anna's voice, then it is very good. Regrettably, this is not perfected throughout the entire ten and a half minutes, as some parts are patchy, with a couple of minutes of filler, really.

Slipping Away clocks in at over eleven minutes long, and opens with the most delightful bluesy guitar riff, and special mention here must be made for the sensual bass lines provided by Dennis Lindkvist, ably backed by the fantastically produced thunder of Mattias Bender on drums. The vocal drips with feeling, and deals with that timeline common to all souls, that of facing death of the flesh. The wall of sound that is created is a joy to listen to, and the whole piece gels together in a lock tight fashion.

The final epic is the title track itself, Anima. It really is a wondrous track, a beautiful paeon to the eternal nature of the changing nature of the seasons and life itself in the beloved forest where The Bender family reside, and wrapped in a satanic fable. It is exceptionally dark in places, but the fusion of symphonic, soaring rock, and folk tales ultimately brings a warmth that only this act are capable of. There is even time for a pulsating mini-drum solo, which highlights gleefully the talents of young Mattias.

The comedown from the emotional wave of Anima is the pretty piano led instrumental, Exire, and we also have a two and a half minute "secret track" with which to close proceedings entirely. Both do the difficult job of bringing us safely back to earth to chill perfectly.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of other delights awaiting the listener. The Gothic, and ghostly, Who Goes There is a rollicking seven minutes of spooky fun, worth the entrance fee for Mat's swirling poltergeist keys alone. This is easily the most haunting fun had since Genesis delighted us with Home By The Sea, and there are some very heavy passages to rock us out.

You Will Always Be My Girl is, as you would imagine, a tribute to daughter Bender, whose lovely features, with her beau, adorn the striking album cover. Genuine, heartfelt, and an uplifting track to savour. Anna demonstrates, again, just what a lovely voice that she has, and it really is a shame that the wider pop listening world will never hear it. This lot, in another era, would have been massive.

Lastly, Free is a deeply intelligent piece of modern rock, with folk sympathies running deep. There are no lyrics as such, but a soaring chant which accompanies a rich band instrumental, with some easily detected Focus influences therein. This is easily one of the finest tracks I have heard in 2014.

Let me tell you, Introitus are so much more than just a neo prog band. Whilst that sound is their forte, they produce so much more than this. Above all, I think that the best tribute I can pay to a band kind enough to do an interview with me on this site is that my life is infinitely richer for having had them enter it. They are a joy, and this four star album comes highly recommended to you all.

 Anima by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 73 ratings

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Anima
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars I am glad to review an album from a Swedish band, when I am a swede myself and this one is called "Introitus" and has been making records since 2007. After the debut "Fantasy" and the follow up "Elements" it is now 2014 time for their third "Anima" which cover shows a dance couple in front of a lake. A lot of musicians cooperate on this album: Mats Bender (keyboard), Anna Jobs Bender(vocals), Johanna Bender(vocals), Mattias Bender(drums and vocals), Henrik Ben..., no I meant Björlind (flute and additional keyboards), Pär Helje (guitar) and Dennis Lindkvist(bass). The size of the record is quite big, the songs are few which prog songs use to be.

The musical containt on "Anima" is interesting. The coexistence of many styles and aspects make this fusioned world and I do like many of them. I'll start with everything I like. It is clear this is well done and composed music with a lot of musicallity in performances. The album is full of great guitar solos, drums in a high class and symphonic keyboard walls. The melodies come as big structures and sometimes they are so symphonic. An example of that is the title track "Anima" of sixteen minutes. The second half of that song is very interesting with a male vocalist, subert instrumentalists and a choir as well. "Broken Glass" has also a lot to get high about. The best song though is "Free" where I love the Swedish folk song which is similar to Monica Törnell who did similar things in the seventies and the folk melody here is lovely. That is a bright shining point on "Anima" and "Free" gets 8/10.

I must though say that even if the music here and there is interesting and sweet, is my lack of interest in what the music gives me the must apparent for me. I find the songs uninspiring and especially the vocals are a total mess. I don't say the singer aren't good but it is certainly not my style. As soon as the music turns instrumental I like it and the good things on this album are not few so I will give it three stars, even if they are weak. The absolutely best song is "Free" and I recommend it!

 Anima by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 73 ratings

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Anima
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars My, my. Trying to follow up Introitus' "Elements" is a difficult gig for any album by any artist, as it is a true masterpiece, in my opinion. Introitus themselves have given it a shot, and "Anima" has turned out to be a smashing success and a rock solid musical experience. Introitus, very much a family effort, features the Bender family and their friends making gorgeous music and great traditions, too.

After "Fantasy" and "Elements", the band has taken their sound a little bit to the heavier side at times, believe it or not. We still get to experience (and it really is an "experience") Mats Bender's lively, lush tapestry of keys, and also Anna Bender's monumental voice. However, Pär Helje on guitar and Mattias Bender on drums seem to have a little more leeway here, as the music really picks up some grit and features some rather hard-hitting sequences. This is all counterbalanced, however, by the beautiful flute from Henrik Björlind and the impressively noteworthy bass lines of Dennis Lindkvist. Indeed, the rhythm section of this album really nailed the vibe and the feel it needed.

Introitus has always written lyrics that seem close to home and to the heart. In fact, I really admire the way Anna and Mats respect and encourage their children, and also the love they express for each other. "Anima" is no different, as the same heartfelt lyrics return, such as in the tender "You Will Always Be My Girl". And, yet, there is a dark side to this album, too, with some depressing, insecure songs like "Broken Glass". However, Introitus' signature neo-prog, complete with grand flourishes and rockin' instrumentals, is constantly weaving its way through all of this.

I confess that Introitus is one of my very favorite bands, and this album really shows why that is. This band isn't afraid to utilize sweeping synth in the same place as fantastic blast beats. They aren't afraid to include purely instrumental tracks like "Free", a complete knock out of fast paced rock, Celtic flutes, and even some electronic elements. They aren't afraid to tackle a sixteen minute epic called "Anima" that is literally the best epic I've heard this year, complete with a compelling chorus, ambient sections, and, like usual, a firestorm of an instrumental. In fact, it's so impressive, that they had to include a dreamy cooldown track directly afterwards, "Exire".

So, kudos to Introitus for creating yet another masterful album. "Anima" has all the synthy goodness, beautiful lyrics, and hardened edges that I was hoping to hear, and that automatically makes it one of my favorites of the year. And the best thing? Introitus albums always grow on me, so I expect to love "Anima" even more within a few months. Be sure to hear this wonderful album.

4.5 stars

 Anima by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.88 | 73 ratings

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Anima
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by emperorken

5 stars I am a big fan of Introitus' previous two albums, in fact their 2011 album "Elements" was near the top of my list for that year. So I had high expectations for this, their third release. Well, the Bender family and friends have not let me down.

"Anima" is another tour de force. Just great songwriting, arrangements, and musicianship. It starts with Matts Bender on keyboards, who plays his instruments with such power and versatility. As in the past, the keyboards are the dominant instruments here. Still, Par Helje does a great job on guitars, with some soaring Hackettesque solos as well as some blistering licks. And Anna Bender's crystal clear vocals just add to the power and emotion of the album.

Three of the 9 tracks exceed 10 minutes in length, and there is not a weak track on the entire album. Just powerful and emotional, loaded with great melodies and instrumental passages. Everything you could want from modern symph/neo prog. This album will certainly be in my rotation for quite a while as it just gets better with each listen. And a sure bet, like "Elements", to be near the top of my 2014 list of best albums.

 Elements by INTROITUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.94 | 244 ratings

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Elements
Introitus Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Introitus prove that their debut album wasn't a one-off bit of family fun with Elements. Once again, the husband and wife team of Mats and Anna Jobs Bender are rounded out with their children Mattias on drums and Johanna in an expanded role on percussion, choir and supplementary keyboards, along with a brace of guest musicians. This time around the concept draws on old-timey philosophy, with each of the compositions being linked by atmospheric instrumentals based on each of the four classical elements identified by the ancient Greeks. Musically speaking, neo-prog is the name of the game - but exceptionally delivered neo-prog, with Mats' compositions and Anna's operatic delivery really making the album work. Don't let the twee efforts of other family bands put you off - as ably demonstrated here, the Benders can (prog) rock with the best of them.
Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino (w/ TenYearsAfter) for the last updates

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