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Introitus - Elements CD (album) cover





3.94 | 247 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The family that plays together rides again...

Introitus sophmore release saw this terrific swedish band sounding even more symphonic than their debut (2007´s very good Fantasy). Now the songs are more mature and the musical direction is more focused too. The folkish and popular swedish music elements are reduced to a minimum, while they still maintain some jazz and fusion overtones. The line up is almost the same three years after their debut: the Bender family (father Mats on keyboards and compositions, mother Anna on lead vocals, son Mattias on drums and daughter Joahanna on harmony vocals and percussion), plus their jack of all trades Henrik Björlind (guitar, flute, violin, keyboards) and Dennis Linquist on bass. the only change was on the lead guitar department with the arrival of Pär Helje to the fold, replacing Per Danielsson.

While they are still labeled as neo prog here on PA they are in fact quite symphonic in all aspects, with Matt Bender´s bombastic, lush keyboards always on the forefront. Some nice lead electric guitars are added (again not in the neo prog mold) and there are also excellent Björlind´s flute parts appear on several cuts. But the real star of the show is again Anna Jobs Bender´s brilliant vocals. She has a beautiful voice that is at the same time strong and delicate, powerful and soothing. The first two tracks are a good exemple of how versatile and varied they are: The Hand That Feeds You is an angry statement against human destruction of nature, with Anna´s voice delivering the message in a manacing way, while the band lays a heavy musical background featuring crunching guitars, majestic keys and a very efficient Mattias Bender on the thundering drums. In its 14 minute duration there are several mood and tempo changes and I specially liked the slower middle section where they manage to prove they are indeed very fine and creative musicians.

The second tune (actually the third track, the second one being just a small interlude representing one of the four elements of nature the album title implies), Like Always, on the other hand is a beautiful homage of Mats and Anna relationship, one of the most poignant prog ballads I´ve ever heard, featuring again nice flutes and a esquisite guitar solo by newcomer Helje, with daughter Johanna adding very touching vocal harmonies. Very good and not corny at all. It is not everyday that you hear an 8 minute love song that is so emotional and still very symphonic (including a bass solo!).

Anna´s voice is a highlight even with the instrumental Restless where she uses it as on of the leading instruments for great effect.

All the remaining tracks keep the high profile of the band, with strong compositions, tasteful arrangements and a rightful use of their obvious expertise on their instruments. No fillers to be found anywhere on the CD. There are also no wasted notes nor pointless jams. Everything fits right in and the musicians use they skills to enhance the music as a whole, not their egos.

If you´re missing symphonic prog rock music like the old days when it meant not only virtuoso perfomances and variations, but also fine songwriting and pleasant melodies, then you should not miss Elements.

Already one of the best CDs released this year.

Rating: somewhere 4.5 and 5 stars. Highly recommended

Tarcisio Moura | 5/5 |


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