Ex Tenebris

SKU: TERMOCD016
Label:
Termo Records
Category:
Progressive Rock
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Termo Records reissue program of the White Willow catalog continues.  This remastered edition features new artwork and liner notes as well as 4 previously unreleased bonus tracks.

Seven songs of melancholy and mysticism... White Willow's music embraces gothic, folk and classical elements within a progressive rock framework. The second release from Norway's White Willow carries on in the tradition of their debut Ignis Fatuus. Joining founders Jacob Holm-Lupo and Jan Tariq Rahman are new members Frode Lia, Sylvia Erichsen and Anglagard's Mattias Olsson. Also returning is engineer Jo Wang who's audiophile approach to recording has once again created a sonic masterpiece. Ex Tenebris features a dynamic mix - from moody quiet instrospection to heavy symphonic pyrotechnics. Perhaps more personal and focused than Ignis Fatuus, yet the album offers a more mature sound. Clearly one of the finest progressive rock bands currently recording.

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  • "My mantra; that you can never go wrong with Prog from the "lands of ice and snow", has yet to be proven wrong. Finnish band ADAMANTRA are soon to release their second album; allow me to begin by asking you, rhetorically, what you want in a melodic, Progressive Metal band. Whatever it is, you are to find it in "Act II: Silent Narratives". You may name an influential Power/Prog band, and you may find their influences creeping in."Lionheart" is an interesting choice to begin an album, since it runs at just over 18 minutes long. It had to happen at some point. In classic Prog fashion, one may divide it into audibly discernible movements. The first of which trudges at a medium canter, a basic drum and bass track, overlaid with, needless to say, a surprising vocal delivery. At first, I thought I was listening to Roy Khan. Tuomas Nieminen is simply that great of a singer, conveying KAMELOT-like nuances whether he meant to or not, yet definitely made it his own. As the song progressed (pun absolutely intended), the riffs became heavier, faster and more complex, blended with wonderful keyboard work and atmospherics. The vocals subtly soar between different melodic styles; I hear a little Michael Eriksen and James Labrie in places. Eventually, we're brought to a crushing Power Metal section, roots that the band are proud of, and it shows in the way that the instruments and vocals scream with vigor. An album within an album, essentially."In the Shadow of the Cross" was one of my favorites; as hard as that may be to choose. Multilayered, heavy riffs are masked by beautiful piano work, and vocals that transform in and out of soaring wails, catchy hooks and aggressive rasps. The bass playing reminds me much of the esteemed Andreas Blomqvist; Jukka is a master, as we will hear more of later on. Singlehandedly, the track creates its own atmosphere of foreboding melancholy, and without you realizing it, turns it around and absorbs you into the story, and fills you with emotion. "Wicked Chain of Events" begins as a technically complex and mature Prog track, embellished with creative vocals and licks, Tuomas pushing his vocal limits (does the man have any?). We're soon treated by a terrific guitar/keyboard interplay that only northern Progressive masters could create.Listening to this album was an absolute pleasure; few other albums I know of sound different with each listen, and are an accompaniment to every mood, every activity. I hope this album will go down with the fan base as a Progressive masterpiece." - Metal Temple
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  • "The Phantom Agony marked the start of the now decade-long and world-wide career of the Dutch group EPICA. The album was recorded at The Gate Studio in Wolfsburg, Germany, under the leadership of the renowned producer and engineer Sacha Paeth (a.o. Aina, After Forever, Rhapsody, Kamelot) and at its release it was critically acclaimed to be one of the most impressive Dutch Epic Metal debut albums ever. The classically trained mezzo-soprano vocalist Simone Simons is a true revelation, confronting a complete choir & orchestra just as easily as she battles the shrouds clad grunts. But it is the incredible arrangements and production, this band of ex-After Forever guitarist Mark Jansen gives a unique place in Dutch rock history. “Pain and beauty blend into a musical experience that will saturate all the listener's senses”, one critic wrote after listening to the overwhelming CD. He could not have put it better.Ten years after its original release, The Phantom Agony is back in store. Remastered from the original master tapes, as a double CD. The expanded edition comes in a deluxe digipack and contains 15 bonus tracks, including 7 previously unreleased versions and one previously unreleased song. The 20 pages thick booklet will provide unique photos and memorabilia, plus liner notes by guitarist Mark Jansen.Track listingTMD-071  2CD EPICA - The Phantom Agony – Expanded EditionChapter 11. Adyta 1:27 “The Neverending Embrace”2. Sensorium 4:49 3. Cry for the Moon 6:44 "The Embrace that Smothers - Part IV"4. Feint 4:195. Illusive Consensus 5:00  6. Façade of Reality 8:10 "The Embrace that Smothers - Part V"7. Run for a Fall 6:31   8. Seif al Din 5:46 "The Embrace that Smothers - Part VI"9. The Phantom Agony 8:5910. Veniality 4:3711. The Phantom Agony 4:33 - single version12. Triumph of Defeat 3:54  Chapter 21. Adyta 1:28 - orchestral version2. Sensorium 4:53 – orchestral version3. Cry for the Moon 6:40 - orchestral version4. Feint 4:18 - orchestral version5. Illusive Consensus 5:02 - orchestral version6. Basic Instinct 4:07 - orchestral track7. Run for a Fall 6:26 – orchestral version8. The Phantom Agony 9:00 - orchestral version9. Veniality 4:35 - orchestral version10. Feint 4:53 - piano version11. Cry for the Moon 3:30 - single version12. Run for a Fall 4:29 - single versionTracks 1 - 8 previously unreleasedThese recordings have been exclusively restored and dynamicallyremastered in the 24-bit domain from the original digital masters"Debut release from the Dutch beauty and beast gothic metal band Epica. The band was put together by Mark Jensen, the former guitarist for After Forever. Musically speaking the similarities to After Forever are striking with mezzo-soprano vocalist Simone Simons acting as the counterpart to Floor Jansen. The music has that gothic epic grandeur with classical overtones through out. All of this is due to the always lush production of Sascha Paeth and the implementation of a large string section and choir. Apparently Jansen had a falling out with the rest of After Forever and essentially set up a parallel band. I can't say this is actually better than After Forever but on early listens I'd say it's pretty damn close or just as good. Highly recommended.
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  • "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a remastered edition of the 1980 album by the Canadian Progressive Rock group FM, City Of Fear . The band began life in 1976 with CAMERON HAWKINS (Synthesisers, Bass, Vocals) and NASH THE SLASH (Jeff Plewman) (Electric Violin, Mandolin, Vocals) coming together as a duo, making an appearance on national TV in Canada in the Summer of 1976. By March 1977 FM became a trio with the addition of MARTIN DELLAR on Drums. The band s debut album followed. In 1978 Nash the Slash was been replaced by BEN MINK on Electric Violin and Mandolin. City of Fear was the fourth album by the band, released in 1980 and was produced by Synthesiser wizard Larry Fast (of Synergy and musician with Nektar and Peter Gabriel). This Esoteric Recordings release is the first time City of Fear has been issued in Europe and has been newly remastered and includes an illustrated booklet and a new essay."
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  • "The shady stretch of land that exists somewhere between the crossroads of rock, metal, prog, and alternative is one that generates discussion, but not necessarily sales. Fans of Dredg, Oceansize, Cog, and the like have watched countless inspired dissenters of the rock norm leave their mark on music boards and venue bathrooms, only to fizzle into obscurity when radio deemed their playful idiosyncrasies just a little too off-putting. There is a certain burden any group that shakes off standard typecasts faces, yet, with the Australian music scene abuzz with newly recognized talent, and the current popularity of all things delay-driven, it’s an interesting time to be a band like Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus.In a recent editorial Vince wrote about Tesseract, he echoed a sentiment I’ve long held: the current line of alternative progressive bands might just be the perfect “something for everyone” presence heavy music has needed to escape the rigid confines of the underground.It is difficult to shake the sense, in listening to Dead Letter Circus’s sophomore album, The Catalyst Fire, that the term “alternative rock” does no justice to them, and that there are a whole lot of people who could conceivably enjoy the crap out of this work.Dead Letter Circus already proved that touring with significantly heavier bands (the likes of which include Animals as Leaders, Intronaut, Last Chance to Reason, and Monuments) posed no challenge to winning over fans who would normally avoid anything quite so digestible, and with the impeccable song craft and memorable hooks on display in The Catalyst Fire, I think it’s only a matter of time before the people standing on the other side of the aisle also take notice.The first things that standout on any number of these tunes are Kim Benzie’s explosive tenor vocals and the big, shimmering walls of sound his band mates house them in. Benzie has the kind of voice that is perfect for this style of music—familiar, but never readily traceable to a sum of affected influences. His range alone is impressive, but his ability to weave it into inescapably catchy melodic motifs with intelligent messaging behind them is paramount to DLC’s universal appeal.Of course vocals alone are not the full package; this is passionate, high-energy music, and the band behind Benzie just kills it. As with This is The Warning, the group’s instrumental voice consists of delay-blasted, tremolo-heavy guitar leads jousting with one of the growliest bass tones in rock music and an ever-stimulating rhythmic presence that never feels “in the way.” Luke Williams shows off more than a little of [The Mars Volta's] Jon Theodore’s influence in his nutty patterns, but by keeping them within the architecture of 4/4 time he never detracts from the immediacy of his surroundings.This package is all further elevated by Australian production ace Forrester Savell (Karnivool, The Butterfly Effect), who returns for his second project with the band. His distinctive mix style of “rhythm guitar in the background— everything else upfront” plays a pivotal role in what makes Dead Letter Circus sound so friggin’ huge and heavy without sounding like a metal band.High praise aside, it’s worth acknowledging that very little has changed in the group’s formula. The Catalyst Fire is just another batch of very tightly written and memorable songs, with all of the group’s strengths made readily apparent. Despite having two new guitarists in the band’s ranks (following the departure of founding member Rob Maric), the aforementioned stylistic elements that made This is The Warning successful remain firmly in place.There does, however, seem to be more of an effort made to vary things up on this work. Where the group’s debut, at times, felt a little too consistent in its approach, The Catalyst Fire sees Dead Letter Circus shuffling out the constant adrenaline of songs like “Stand Apart” and the single “Lodestar” for contemplative slowburners to the tune of “The Veil” and “I Am.” One could argue that the group has become a little comfortable with the harmonic framework of their choosing, but it would be difficult to imagine them conveying the same feeling in their music outside of their beloved major-flavored-minor key progressions.As a whole, The Catalyst Fire, is darker and snappier in its execution than This is The Warning, making for a subtle evolution of an already very strong base. Also, the fact that Karnivool recently made a serious deviation from their relative norm makes a more immediate and urgent sounding release from the Dead Letter folks all too welcome in 2013. I have little doubt that those in the metal and prog worlds who dug the group’s first release will have no trouble rekindling the flame with The Catalyst Fire, but with a little marketing muscle, this could be the vehicle that makes Dead Letter Circus an “anybody band,” and a damn good one at that." - Metal Sucks
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