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XANADU

Heavy Prog • Poland


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Xanadu biography
Formed in 2008, Polish band XANADU has been cultivating a very appealing form of heavy progressive rock as displayed in the demo release "Violent Dream" in 2010, and later on, in the official debut album "The Last Sunrise". The presence of dual guitars in the band's sonic structure is vital in order to allow this quintet to express its goal, stated in XANADU's Myspace page: "to bind our personal musical fascinations, put them together to create some universal message". The aforesaid debut album has been well received in various Internet prog circles, XANADU's music having been pinpointed as related to RIVERSIDE and PORCUPINE TREE's heavier side in a bunch of reviews.

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XANADU discography


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

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

3.74 | 55 ratings
The Last Sunrise
2011
3.68 | 28 ratings
Follow the Instinct
2014

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

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XANADU Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Follow the Instinct by XANADU album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 28 ratings

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Follow the Instinct
Xanadu Heavy Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Poland's Xanadu has finally come around with their sophomore album, entitled "Follow the Instinct". Their debut, "The Last Sunrise", was an emotional piece of art that focused much on atmosphere and darkness, often invoking Riverside. With their new album, however, Xanadu shrug off much of their Riverside influence, and they start off on a path all their own.

"Follow the Instinct" is dark. It's really dark. However, it's not the same type of dark hopelessness that was featured in their debut. Rather than blackened, I'd say the atmosphere is rather grey. With this as a foundation, the band---Hubert Murawski on drums, Adam Biskup on bass, Janusz Glon on guitars and keys, and Przemek Betański on guitars---head down a path of excellent guitars, an incredible rhythm section, and background keys that set a mood. The guitar tone has been changed from high-tuned to an interesting snarl, and they are used in solos and the like, but also in interesting atmospheric exercises. The drums and bass are as good as ever, and are a highlight of this album for me. Hubert is especially good with his stumbling bass beats and his ability to create fills that feel satisfying. Adam on bass seems to be playing in a higher key, and it shows in how incredibly detailed and audible his bass lines are.

Vocalist Mish Jarski has been replaced this time with Krzysztof Borek, a vocalist with a very different voice. This is probably the biggest difference in the album, as Mish's voice was fantastically emotional and distraught. However, Krzysztof has a mellower, more grounded voice that is somewhat rough at times. While he doesn't have the emotion of Mish, he does have a bigger presence and does an admirable job.

"Follow the Instinct" has a great set of tracks, though I think the second half is better. Seven tracks framed by an intro and an outro, this album has more flow and connection than "The Last Sunrise". My favorites are the excellent "Escape", the soaring "More", and the wonderfully paced "Transistor Night". My favorite of all, however, is the instrumental "Violent Dream, Part 2". This direct connection with the first album utilizes some of the riffs from Part 1, but it is perhaps the better of the two. It's familiar enough to pull me in immediately, and technical enough to impress me with its complexity and bleakness.

Xanadu's new album, then, is full of emotion, though I daresay that much of it comes from the music, rather than from the singer this time. The band has offered an immensely impressive follow-up that is solid in every way, and will probably suck me in more and more through the year. With a starker vibe and passive attitude that is punctuated by technical punches, "Follow the Instinct" is one of the better albums I've heard this year, and it won't be forgotten quickly.

 The Last Sunrise by XANADU album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.74 | 55 ratings

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The Last Sunrise
Xanadu Heavy Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

4 stars I knew XANADU has been playing around for quite a long time, because i knew about them almost at the same time I knew about Riverside. I was desperately looking for music of them but never found it until 2011, when finally they released their first album "The Last Sunrise", I didn't hesitate to look for it and when I found it I was expecting something in the same vein as Riverside, but maybe not that much similar. When you listen to this album, it is very difficult to try to get Riverside out of your mind, and believe me, it is complicated. I have listened to this album several times and all the time it happens the same thing. Besides that, i consider the album is really good, full of good guitar riffs and solos, plus excellent drumming alongside with the bass guitar. The keyboard works as a good and necessary background for all the songs. The voice, is pretty similar to Mariusz Duda, so you can either love it or hate it because you may be expecting something different. I think the only one song that changes a bit the mood of the rest of the album is "The Last Sunrise" that has something of Riverside at the beginning, but the voice and the rhythm changes to be more melodic, and maybe that's a good sound for the band. I hope they continue creating more music, and can't wait for a second album!
 The Last Sunrise by XANADU album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.74 | 55 ratings

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The Last Sunrise
Xanadu Heavy Prog

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I noted this album by chance, when doing some pickings based upon cover illustrations. The name and ethereal vision of a couple lying admits the cloudy layers of troposphere. Musically this Polish band has managed to include some atmospheric elements to their guitar driven artistic heavy metal expression, these feelings emerging mostly from Paweł Balcer's and Marcin Grzella's keyboards. I was surprised that these two musicians were credited as guests, as without them I would find this well produced and diligently finished record to escape the fences of conventional hard rock album standards. I hope the synth elements are included in a way or other on their live concerts to ensure the spacey feelings, which related to my memories from Swedish group Book of Hours or Finnish Tuliterä. Of course the group's innovation most certainly originates from some other groups, possibly Dream Theater or other heavy prog groups I personally am not aware of. The players are certainly skillful, and the compositions are decorated with witty details. The mixing is also done very well; It was delighting to hear all instruments, including the bass guitar which I usually have not heard being very audible on heavy music records. As my personal impression the enervating factor on the listening experience was the general feeling of the music, which didn't touch very deeply my current state of mind. Also in spite of certain enthusiasm shimmering from the album, I got a feeling that I have heard this all already many times on other similar records. I however tried to think this act from the perspective of the musicians ? I may be wrong, but thought that finding connections and identity from to this kind of Western-European heavy art rock culture might be an eligible and rewarding goal for the band and their audience. Also when I reflect to my own personal musical preferences, many neo-classical hippie bands I adore could be described also not bringing anything new under the sun, just carrying forward the torch of past generations dreams and elements of late 1960's cultural heritage. So if bit more cooler heavy riffings and themes like "Violent Dreams" or "Vicious Circle"s within modern heavy prog idioms should be appealing, I believe this album and artist is certainly worth of checking out. The appraisals from other writings about this album should strengthen this presumption.
 The Last Sunrise by XANADU album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.74 | 55 ratings

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The Last Sunrise
Xanadu Heavy Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "The Last Sunrise" took me by surprise. In fact, I had never heard of Xanadu till I saw "kev rowland's" review a week or two ago. However, what caught my eye was the fact that they are similar to Riverside. Riverside, being my favorite band, is quite unique in many ways, and it is difficult to find anything else that will satisfy my Riverside craving. That is, until now.

Xanadu's "The Last Sunrise" is very much influenced by Riverside. Or, perhaps, both of these bands are influenced by a different source---I cannot be sure. The melancholy, breathy vocals are quite like Maruisz Duda's; and the high-tuned, ambient guitar work often sounds like it is right off of "Second Life Syndrome". The overall sound is quite eerie and moody with an emphasis on strange beats and time signatures. This is not unlike Riverside, but I must assert that the drums on this album are superior to any that Riverside has produced (I consider the drums to be Riverside's greatest weakness). With all of this, they do resemble Riverside---we have to be honest here. In fact, my wife thought that I was listening to Riverside. Honestly, though, this is more of a strength than a weakness. What Xanadu loses in originality---they gain in sheer excellence.

Yet, I do not want to take anything away from these musicians. They may resemble Riverside, but they are in no way a carbon copy. There is plenty of song-writing originality here, and the musicianship itself is on par with, if not better than, Riverside. The dark theme that is employed helps you feel the restlessness, the longing, and the anguish that the songs present: There is still some pure prog rock at the heart of the music, however. This band certainly deserves some head-banging and profound thought---both at the same time.

Track List:

1. "Piece of Mind": This track is a great opening song with some good vocal harmonization and some great riffing as well. The guttural vocals at the end really evoke a mood for the rest of the album. 8/10.

2. "Dark Shadows": This track is really well done. It is dark and brooding, and the instrumental portion in the last half is something I look forward to when I start the album. 10/10.

3. "Miles Away": Again, some awesome vocal harmony that really puts the singer into the music. The longing and raw emotion here are quite stunning. 9/10.

4. "Violent Dream": With a title like this, this band is asking to be compared to Riverside's "Reality Dream". This track is instrumental only, and it is very psychedelic and brooding. I find that the drumming is especially good here, as there are some really strange time signatures therein. 9/10.

5. "One Moment": This track is another favorite of mine on this album. There is plenty of pure prog rock here, and the breathy vocals in the beginning really hit my soft spot. The faster tempo near the end really gets my adrenaline rushing, as well. 10/10.

6. "Vicious Circle": This track has some great, heavy riffing and some strange lyrical content. I feel that this may be the weakest track, although the standard is pretty high. 7/10.

7. "The Last Sunrise": Normally, the title track of an album is one of my favorites, but I have to say that this song is second to last. I feel that it is a bit too repetitive for the majority of its 10+ minutes, but I feel that the last 3 minutes redeem it somewhat----these few minutes end the album on a high note. 8/10.

All in all, this is an album that I have not been able to resist. Sure, it does resemble Riverside, but Xanadu takes this influence and makes it all their own style---the similarities should definitely not be dwelt upon at all. If the final two tracks would have been as strong as the rest of the album, I am afraid that my itchy trigger finger would have given this album the 5 star treatment. As it is, though, I expect great things from this band, and I look forward to their next release eagerly.

 The Last Sunrise by XANADU album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.74 | 55 ratings

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The Last Sunrise
Xanadu Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars There are many great progressive bands coming out of Poland these days, and Xanadu can be added to that long list. The band came together in 2008 with the idea of performing ambitious music with a hint of melancholy ? so I think it is safe to say that they have achieved their aims with this their debut album (there was a promo album 'Violent Dream' released in 2010) which came out in 2011 on ProgRock Records. It is obvious that there are going to be comparisons with Riverside due to the fact that they are from the same country, but here the comparison is justified as musically there are quite a few similarities. This is a driving rock band and Hubert Murawski is key to the overall success of this album as here is a band that remembers how to put 'rock' back into the genre. Lyrics are in English, with not too much accent, and the feeling here is of a band reaching for the heights and managing to attain them.

This is a prog album that demands attention of fans of Riverside, Votum and the like as they bring the power of neo-prog into an arena that verges on the metallic. Great stuff!

 The Last Sunrise by XANADU album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.74 | 55 ratings

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The Last Sunrise
Xanadu Heavy Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Polish band XANADU was formed back in 2008, and after scoring an initial demo in 2010 they started to further develop material for their debut album. The end result came in the shape of "The Last Sunrise", released by Progrock Records in 2011.

I'd suspect fans of Riverside should be singled out as the main target audience for Xanadu, as there are plenty of similarities between these two acts as far as stylistic expression go. But fans of Porcupine Tree and to a lesser extent Sylvan might also find quite a lot to enjoy on this disc. And I suspect most people into all three bands references will find this album to be a worthwhile acquisition.

Thanks to cesar inca for the artist addition.

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