Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Introitus - Shadows CD (album) cover




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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.

Report this review (#2232322)
Posted Friday, June 21, 2019 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#2237524)
Posted Thursday, July 11, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
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.

Report this review (#2281614)
Posted Friday, November 15, 2019 | Review Permalink

INTROITUS Shadows ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of INTROITUS Shadows

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.