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Isle Of The Cross - 2020 - "Excelsis"

(62:05; Rockshots Records)


***+

This debut album came with the heading ďfor fans of Symphony X, Ayreon, OpethĒ, and as I have been known to listen to music by these bands on the odd occasion I was looking forward to hearing the new work by composer and multi-instrumentalist Je Schneider. It is a concept album, based on a tale of two lovers amidst betrayal, murder and their search to reunite in the afterlife, and mixes together different musical styles from extreme, symphonic, melodic and technical death-metal through to progressive metal and even some folk. One of the real issues with this album is the lack of depth in the material which combines with a similar missing focus, so the listener gets pulled from one place to another. There are passages where it all comes together in a manner which is exciting and invigorating, I am a particular fan of the use of wooden flutes, but plenty more where it is hard to discern what is going on with muddy production and a feeling the album isnít really going anywhere. I have always been a fan of bands experimenting and crossing genres, but there just isnít enough depth in the sound, nor in the quality of the songs themselves. When I was listening to title cut itself I found myself thinking it was like a veneer Ė there was the promise of something really impressive, but very quickly it was realised it wasnít the real deal and the symphonic metal of this track felt more like a background piece of music than something which should be in the forefront. I donít know how much of the material was solely performed by Schneider, but apparently he produced, mixed and mastered it as well, and this definitely needed an outside set of ears to provide guidance and advice. It was hard to get all the way through this a few times to be able to write the review, and now I have it is unlikely I will ever play it again.

Progtector: June 2020


Related Links:

Isle Of The Cross Rockshots Records


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