Introitus - Shadows

(CD 2019, 59:26, Bad Elephant Music ‎- BEM069)

The tracks:
  1- Belong(6:59)
  2- Shadows(9:28)
  3- Beyond Fantasy(7:04)
  4- Desperation(13:17)
  5- Figures(6:19)
  6- My Hero(4:36)
  7- Awakening(11:43)

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Swedish prog formation Introitus are rooted in 1999 and features four members from the Bender family: father plays keyboards, mother and daughter sing and the son drums. The band released four studio-albums: Fantasy (2007, see review), Elements (2011, see review), Anima (2014, see review) and the latest effort entitled Shadows (2019), this review is about that new release.

Belong (6:59) : The opener mainly contains a distinctive Pink Floyd atmosphere with wonderful orchestral keyboards and slide guitar. Halfway through an acceleration with a heavy guitar solo, a tight beat and lush Hammond organ waves. The female English vocals sound inspired, but the simple lyrics are a bit amateurish.

Shadows (9:28) ; Now we are in the realm of Neo-Prog, wonderfully coloured with flute, piano and sensitive electric guitar. The final part is very compelling, in the vein of the bombastic early Pallas featuring slow synthesizer flights, Mellotron choirs and bass pedals, wow!

Beyond Fantasy (7:04) : This time it starts with a spacey synthesizer intro, another fine musical idea from the band. The sound in the wonderful composition sounds like a movie soundtrack from Vangelis, embellished with tender piano runs, soaring ocarina flute, slow synthesizer flights and celestial female vocals.

Desperation (13:17) : The longest, very melodic and harmonic composition delivers a lot of variety and shifting moods. From dreamy with flute, fragile guitar playing and tender piano to a slow rhythm with bombastic keyboards (choir sound) and emotional vocals. Heavy guitar riffs, Mark Kelly(Marillion) -like synthesizer flights and a tight beat to bombastic climates with emotional vocal harmonies and moving guitar runs. The band succeeds to keep my attention and plays on a very decent level, you can hear Introitus are a tight unit.

Figures (6:19) : In this track sumptuous atmosphere and prog metal rule featuring thunderous drums, heavy guitar and sensational, flashy synthesizer soli. In the second part a mellow interlude with tender electric guitar runs, then turning into a bombastic eruption (like Pallas) with a majestic Mellotron choir sound, then again, the prog metal climate. It's amazing how frequently Introitus changes its musical face!

My Hero (4:36) : In order to keep on surprising the listener now Introitus presents a romantic ballad, it sounds like a song from a feel good movie, with emotional female and male vocals, embellished with dreamy piano and soft synthesizer drops.

Awakening (11:43) : The final composition is loaded with changing atmospheres and a variety of instruments, and again Introitus succeeds to keep my attention during the entire running time. My highlights are a wonderful accordion solo, a moving guitar solo with lush Hammond waves, a spectacular pitch bend driven synthesizer solo and the final part featuring female vocal solo (like Great Gig In The Sky from Pink Floyd), topped with a Mellotron choir-like sound and bass pedals, wow!

I am pleasantly surprised by Introitus its varied and dynamic sound, scouting the borders between modern symphonic rock and Neo-Prog, and with lots of surprising musical twists and turns. The vocals sound inspired, my only negative remark concerns the pretty simply lyrics, at some moments close to amateurish. But to me not really disturbing, lots to enjoy!

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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