(All Album Reviews by progladyte)
bThis CD was amongst a number I recently ordered on the net as I had read some encouraging reviews that led me to believe that I was in for another treat. First impressions were a little disappointing as the music begins in a very soft and mellow mood and the tempo and intensity never gets out of 2nd gear. The opening track contains some rather weak snare drum work with echo and sounds rather lame although the second installment certainly stays a lot closer to the mark.
There is a definite influence from the likes of Gryphon on some tracks as the crumhorn is put to good use and gives the music a folkish, medieval ambience. In fact, the quantity of instruments played on this disc is quite extraordinary and includes all manner of guitars, basses, sitar, whistles, percussion, flutes, violins and cello together with a plethora of keyboards that reads like a whatís what of the ivory department. The playing is very neat and tidy without any flashiness or sudden outbursts of sound and the ideas are reasonably fresh without being totally in your face. The passages using flute and cello are very nice and lyrically, there is certainly nothing out of kilter.
There are some moments of minor brilliance as the female vocals have a somewhat angelic touch, particularly about ĺ of the way through the 6th track. Unfortunately, this short piece could have been used as an infectious and ethereal vocal anthem. Despite the loveliness of this all too short interlude, the band failed to capitalise on its potential and a mediocre song remained so. Pity, as the song could have been up there with the best classics. Ultimately, I failed to hear anything that would put this band on the global music map. I guess I was hoping for something a little more dynamic to follow with this music and that leaves me with a feeling there is a lot of room for improvement here in the replayability department. There are really no classic songs here and very few decent hooks to garner your interest in the first place. If you are familiar with the music of Iona, October Project, Clannad, Loreena McKennitt or even Enya, you know you can count on some pretty dynamic stuff which maintains your interest. Compared to these aforementioned bands, youíll appreciate the lack of any real substance to this CD.
Considering the enormous range of great instruments that were available to this band, I must confess to expecting so much more. I know this CD has received reviews, more conducive to the bandís future longevity, compared to mine. However, when itís all said and done, this sure ainít gonna be the second coming of Renaissance or similar. Although the music is fairly soft and dreamy for the majority of this discís entirety, I canít really see what all the fuss is about.
bI bought this album after listening to StudioMLive's internet broadcast of their 2001 performance at NEARFest. This show had an entirely different lineup than the one on Ignus Fatuus, but the music hooked me right away. This was at a time where I had had my fill of Yes and Genesis and the like, and was looking for unxplored musical landscapes to saunter.
This particular album capitalizes on the quiet, ethereal moments of prog, ultimately producing an entire album's worth of moments found otherwise in brief segments of fancier prog. Jacob Holm-Lupo, guitars, has much to do with the crafting on this album, but no one entity is solely responsible for the genius coming out of your speakers. This record is actually a composition of songs written by various members of the band who were members at different times. Almost making up for albums that should have been produced earlier, but they weren't able to do so considering they did not have a record contract.
Rhythm guitar on this album could be described as Hackett-esque, with open-string fingerpicking of bizzare chords occuring more often than not. The guitar soloing on this album is not neccisarily fancy, but one could easily note the proficiency level of lead guitar player as each note is played like a more precise Allan Holdsworth on pot.
Vocals on this album are wonderful. Considering that, they get away with a lot of Ooo's and Ah's in place of lyrics. Two vocalists appear on the album, both of which sound similar in my opinion. The voices are very soft and feminine, and this ends up matching the music quite nicely.
Lyrics are all written by Jacob, and are heavily influenced by classic writers and poets. The vocabulary used is pretty impressive to me, as I am a lyricist myself. Moreover, these guys are Norwegian!
This album also features a spectrum of flutes, cello, keyboards, drums, bass, violin, and all kinds of musical what-nots. I consider the drum and bass to be nothing more and nothing less than adequate, yet, the flute and keys have their many moments on the album. Infact, the keyboardist and the flautist had much to do with the songwriting on the album. One thing I will note is that the band had a Black-Metal drummer come in on "Cryptomenysis", and gave the album its heavier moments. This allowed for some really unordinary drum fills on the track, and this paired with the beautiful vocals and violin, has made it my favorite number on the record.
At first listen, the music came off as being overly soft and only a few of the tracks particularly excited me. Four months after having purchased the album, I am still listening to it on a daily basis. I would hope that all future audiences will spend the proper time on this recording to fully discover the brilliance that I have.