Terra Incognita is the third album of Ian Parry's Consortium Project which was originally released in 2003. This re-release gives you again the opportunity to enjoy the music of this sold-out album. This issue also contains two bonus tracks, that is, two demo versions of songs that were also present on the original album. Compared to the previous two albums the music has slightly shifted from a mixture of heavy progressive rock and metal to progressive power metal with a female touch. Once again Ian Parry proved to have chosen the right musicians for the music on Terra Incognita.
Besides Parry on vocals, the main performers are the returning Stefan Lill (Vanden Plas, guitars) and Jan Bijlsma (bass). New are Casey Grillo (Kamelot) on drums and Joshua Dutrieux (Elegy) on keyboards and piano, who takes over from Ian Parry and previously Gunther Werno. Special guest musicians on guitar are Mike Chlasciak (Halford) and Sascha Paeth (Avantasia) ; the female touch comes from the vocals of Ingeborg Wieten, Brenda Davis and Judith Rijnveld. The latter became the lead vocalist of the Dutch band Kingfisher Sky after her participation in the project. Last but not least is Robert Finan, who took care of several bass parts.
From the first notes of the album's opener The Council Of Elders, the rough and aggressive guitars are in a continuous duel with the keyboards. The keyboards are even more prominent than on previous releases. In In Spirit Of Kindness, The Ark and Great Exploration the combination of keyboard and guitar works perfectly. Songs as Reductio Ad Absurdum and Nemesis are very powerful, in which Parry's new trumps have a major impact; the beautiful female vocals are in contrast with Ian's pure progressive power voice. I think it's a good choice to let the angelic voices shine very often. For me a song like Beyond The Gateway Of Legends really works; it contains intense vocals and beautiful guitars interlarded with impressive keyboard sounds. The album's title track is a special one starting with Gregorian chanting and turning into a stunning progressive power metal song with a superb guitar sound and a duel between the keyboards and the six-string. The sound of the bonus songs is a bit thinner, but still it's nice to hear the development of a song from the initial stage to maturity.
Again Lion Music scores a bull's eye with the re-release of the Consortium saga, although it's a pity that this fantastic progressive power metal band still doesn't get the recognition it deserves. I think both the album and the band can compete with all the best bands in the genre.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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