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Isildurs Bane - Off The Radar CD (album) cover

OFF THE RADAR

Isildurs Bane

 

Symphonic Prog

4.26 | 19 ratings

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Sagichim
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Swedish masters Isildurs Bane have gone along way since the 80's, although listed in the archives under symphonic which indeed reflected their first phase, they have grown immensely since then incorporating chamber, fusion, post rock, electronics, avant garde and a certain style that is only their own. Up until this album the band haven't released any new music in almost 15 years but since then they've released three albums in two years, this one being the second released in December 2017. The two other albums include collaborations with Marillion's Steve Hogarth and the highly recommended In Amazonia with Peter Hammil, this one goes back to being strictly instrumental again. Although the line up of the band always include many guest musicians, some of them participate in different albums and it's always a mix of musicians, the core line up is still here even after 40 years. So like a lot of albums using so many musicians this album sounds really varied, warm and natural and of course beautiful. I think Off The Radar deserves the 5 star rating not only for the playing and writing but also because of how the music is crafted so well, flawlessly balanced and yet still remains free and loose.

Another thing I love about this album is the fact that it is so progressive! I mean good 'ol prog rock, the kind that you don't have any clue what's coming in the next three seconds. The music is constantly evolving, incorporating so many sounds and instruments, mixing electronic sounds and beats with guitars, jazzy trumets and violins in an awe inspiring manner, very reminiscent of Jaga Jazzist, so if you're a fan of them look no further because this is an amazing gem. The writing is very mature and right, it doesn't matter if the song is 4 minutes long or 10 minutes long it's always interesting and so fun to listen to. Keys, electronics, synths and whatever they use take a big role throughout but never take the center of the show, same goes for all the wind instruments. I'll shortly review the songs to let you in what it's all about.

From the first minute of "Drive" you can sense that you are in for something special, as the rhythm drives in a storm of instruments, it looks like everything is thrown into the party, violin, trumpet, clarinet, synths and some glockenspiel to give it that Zappa touch, it doesn't sound too busy at all because they come and go, everyone is adding their two cents, the music is really crafted meticulously. It calms down half way and becomes relaxed and a little bit psychedelic until the end, great stuff! The S/T track keeps the positive vibes and happy energies although it is different, a groovy rhythm harboring more electronic experiments with some cool jazzy saxophone to go along. Under Your New Moon has this acid jazz coolness which brings another shift in style, I love the atmosphere on this one, the rhythm is slow, relaxed and disturbing. Drums perfectly carry the pace half way to the end, pure joy. Xenolith is the longest piece, sounds like something out of their Mind Volume 1 album, a progy tune filled with ideas experiments with all kinds of sounds, a bit avant garde, jazz fusion and more, drums comes and go until about the 7th minute where it kicks in to gear with screaming saxophones, this is excellent! Goodbye Berlin continues in the same vein and holds a fine guitar solo which up until this point was pretty much in the backround spicing the music, Endless Air starts as a chamber jazz piece which at first sounds out of this album but then grows into a disturbing atmosphere until the album ends.

It's good to see Isiludrs Bane after all these years of silence still keeping it going with this amazing performance and such a high level of writing and creativity Fans of Jaga Jazzist especially don't miss out on this one. 4.5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sagichim | 5/5 |

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