Recently, my editor gave me a bunch of albums to review. When I looked at the titles he gave me, I was very excited to find the new Ixion album among them! Back in 2004 I got acquainted with Ixion through the first album, CryoGenesis, a concept album with a story set in the future. In 2006 the second Ixion album, Talisman, brought a more historic theme. And now Ixion bring another concept album: Garden Of Eden.
Ixion mastermind Jan Kees Braam has once again surrounded himself with excellent musicians and singers. I was not surprised to find many familiar names on the album. After all, why change a winning team? The result is a very beautiful, yet complex album. It took me quite some time to discover all the details this album has to offer. This is absolutely no background music.
Once again the story is set in the future. The website gives the storyline, which is not very happy: In the year 2020 the population of the world has been decimated by a pandemic that swiped the earth and one man found he is immune to the virus. As he may be the cause of this all, he is struggling with his own problems, while the world is falling apart.
Okay, whether this story or setting appeals to you or not, the music is still great. Some heavy prog with fantastic guitar riffs and synths. Often I taste the Ayreon atmosphere in the music, however, Jankees Braam manages to keep his own musical identity. I find Gerton Leijdekker (S.O.T.E.) a very fine guitar player and he gives the songs a heavy touch, but always very balanced. Riffs you can keep listening to.
The line up counts 10 musicians and while some only play some solos, it is the sum of them, that makes this album such a pleasure to listen to. Being a sound engineer, Braam has placed each musician in such a way, that his/her contribution adds so much depth, warmth and emotion to the songs.
Opener Golden Cage is such a great example of this. While the song starts with heavy synths and guitar, after a few minutes a great bass line is added. About half way of the song a nice synth solo by Gerben Klazinga (Knight Area) and not long after that a beautiful quiet part, with some grand piano (the real thing!) by Martijn Bos. Lush guitar solos by Leijdekker. And all this is topped off by Michael Hos (Ulysses) on vocals. With just over 12 minutes the longest track on the album, but what a great one!
I am pretty sure if you listen to the song, you will hear much more details than what I just mentioned. And this does not end with the first track. Each song has so much to offer. Like a great guitar solos by Sylvester Vogelenzang de Jong (Ulysses) on Edge of Insanity and The Virus, beautiful cello by Linde Faber on My Princess, My Queen, a duet between Hos and Esther Ladiges (Illumion) on Storm.
Something I would definitely want to mention is Comfort Zone. This song has a bit of a Kate Bush atmosphere, but also has Peter Boer (S.O.T.E.) on stick! I have seen that remarkable instrument live a few times and really like it. This adds a lot of depth to the sound of this song.
I could say so much more about this album and describe each song in detail, but you really need to listen to this album yourself! Garden Of Eden is a very solid album, with very strong compositions and performed by a group of very talented musicians and singers. A lot of attention has been paid to details, whether itís the lyrics, the compositions or the album artwork, everything is of the highest quality.
The only thing I regret is that the album was released in 2009, otherwise this album would be in my top 10 for 2010! Still, donít let this keep you from purchasing this album! This third release from Ixion definitely gets my thumbs up! With this growing quality, I am already curious to Ixion release no. 4!
****+ Marcel Haster† (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
Where to buy?
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