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Exlibris – Shadowrise Award winner

Exlibris
Shadowrise
by Mike McMahan at 07 April 2020, 10:50 PM

Screaming out of Warsaw, Poland comes EXLIBRIS (not to be confused with the Dutch Prog Metal band EX LIBRIS) with their fifth studio release “Shadowrise.” EXLIBRIS is a five-piece Orchestral Metal band originally formed in Warsaw towards the end of 2003. They released “Humagination” in October of 2013 to accolades, with the album being selected by Metal Hammer Poland as Album of the Month. The follow up, December of 2014’s “Afterreal, was also well received. After a brief tour, vocalist Krysztof Sokolowski decided to depart; opening the door to Finnish singer Riku Turunen. They released a live DVD, “A Night of Burning” in 2016, and the also well received “Innertia” came in 2018. “Shadowrise” marks their long-awaited return, featuring a new lineup including the super talented Finnish guitarist Antti Wirmen. This record should be held in very high regard by any fan of the Orchestral Metal genre.

“Rule #1,” the albums opener, roars in like a lion with a heavy intro featuring the monster licks of Wirmen over the orchestration of keyboardist Piotr Sikore. Riku Turunen also shines on the track with his dynamic vocal range. The track takes a turn on the instrumental midsection, starting at around the two and a half-minute mark; from a slower tempo into an absolutely blistering shared keyboard and guitar solo. Continuing into the meat of this release, the song would only prove to be a great starting point to a fantastic record.

“Hell or High Water, the albums second cut, opens with a driving bass, guitar, and drum lick which instantly reminded me of THE JOE PERRY PROJECT’s “Let the Music Do the Talking, minus the slide work. About fifteen seconds in, while I was wondering if I was listening to the same band, Sikore’s keyboard kicked in and changed the entire timbre of the song. It again turns to the orchestral but is a better example of the mix between classic Heavy Metal/Hard Rock and the more Progressive leanings exhibited on the opener.

Two other noteworthy cuts are the title track, “Shadowrise, and the epic feeling “Megiddo. Both songs exhibit incredible musicianship, and Sikore’s arrangements are otherworldly. This band truly seems to focus on the musicality, and they present it with virtuosic ability. Turunen’s voice is also certainly up to the challenge, and his range is on full display at several points throughout. A stellar effort.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Rule #1
2. Hell or High Water
3. All I Never Knew
4. Shadowrise
5. Megiddo
6. Intersteller
Lineup:
Piotr Sikore – Keyboards, Orchestration, Vocals
Piotr Torbicz – Bass
Riku Turunen – Vocals
Grzegorz Olejnik – Drums
Antti Wirmen – Guitars
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 26 May 2020
 

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