The second edition of Ian Parry's Consortium Project saw the light of day in 2001 and now, as a part of the final collection of the complete project, Lion Music re-released Continuum In Extremis with two additional demos of songs that were already present on the original album. The good thing about re-releases is that people who didn't get the opportunity to buy or to listen to the original albums are now enabled to gather the whole Consortium Project-collection and discover how these five albums perfectly fit together.
In general Ian Parry worked for Consortium Project II with the same musicians that participated on the first album. This means that we can enjoy the guitar play of Stephan Lill (Vanden Plas), Patrick Rondat (Elegy) and Thomas Youngblood (Kamelot) next to Ian Parry and GŁnther Werno's (Vanden Plas) on keyboards. Dirk Bruinenberg is back on drums, only the parts for the bass guitars, that were played by several musicians on the first album, are now reserved for the returning Jan Bijlsma and for Patrice Guers (Rhapsody Of Fire) after he had joined the band's live shows.
The first album of Consortium Project had some influences of Elegy, especially in the songs with Patrick Rondat, while the pieces in which Stephan Lill played guitar were drenched in a Vanden Plas sound. On the second album the songs are more level-headed and thus became more recognizable as Consortium Project-compositions. Once more we can enjoy some powerful progressive metal songs like The Catalyst, Mirror Image and the wonderful narrated title track. As a contrast to these pieces you get Sentiment In Sanctuary with emotional vocals and a tremendous solo of Patrick Rondat, and the slow rocker Intrusions Of Madness. The two bonus tracks are demo versions of songs that also appear on the album. They give a nice insight of the way a song can develop from a demo to the song that actually makes it on the album. It's interesting to hear how a guitar solo can change the texture of a composition.
Like I said before, I'm happy that Lion Music are re-releasing all Consortium Project-albums. Over the years the music didn't lose its lustre; the sound is still up to date, the compositions are still a pleasure to listen to and have gained its own identity. Ian Parry made the right decisions while gathering the right musicians for these albums. I think this is pure and honest progressive metal. †To be continued...
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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