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Isildurs Bane - Isildurs Bane & Peter Hammill: In Amazonia CD (album) cover


Isildurs Bane


Symphonic Prog

3.82 | 118 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Now here's an interesting Peter Hammill / VDGG related release that some of us might have missed. In this collaboration Peter hammill serves as a composer/singer and the Swedish group Isildurs Bane as arrangers and instrumentalists. Listed here as 'symphonic prog', this album could easily be seen as an avant-prog effort. Almost as intense and varied as the VdGG classic 'Pawn Hearts', sound-wise it shows influences of electronic music, ambient, chamber-music and ethnic/folk (percussion). Peter Hammill gives one of his most lively performances in recent years. The combined effect is a nightmarish marathon of 40 minutes that really aims to effect the listener.

In my opinion the sophisticated arrangements and Hammill's disturbing presence really compliment each other. I've read some online comments of critics who'd disagree - but who can honestly say he thought that Van der Graaf Generator sounded coherent at first spin? No-one I guess. On this album Hammill seems to care particularly little about pitch perfect singing - in stead focusing on immersing himself in the highly original material. This works really well, though the sophisto piano ballad 'The Day is Done' could have used a more subtle approach at times.

On side one of the vinyl the three pieces are a continues flow of ambient progressive music. Though pretty dark and dissonant, even my girlfriend reacted positive on it because of its imaginative effect. On the second side 'This is Where? ' is the most avant-garde styled piece, with less ambiance and a more dry & eclectic progrock-based pallet of sounds. Very original, but perhaps a little bit unfocused compared to the other tracks. 'The Day is Done' is a minimalist piece compared to the others in which the piano and song-writing of Hammill takes center stage. The addition of lots of creepy sound-effects keeps the listener on his toes. The ending track 'The Bird has Flown' then brings back the ambiance of opening tracks and offers a conclusive atmosphere to this dark album.

Conclusion. This album could almost be seen as a 'Blackstar' for Peter Hammill. A resurrection of his most artistically successful days, a great gathering of talent and an album where old age adds to the creepy dark vibe. 'In Amazonia' might not be perfect, but it has a lot to offer and really adds something original & substantial to the progressive rock releases of 2019. Four stars for sure.

* Bumped the rating to a solid five.

friso | 5/5 |


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