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Exlibris: Humagination

Exlibris: Latin for "from the books". So do this Polish Euro Power Metal act who have just delivered their second album Humagination, simply do things by the book? Hmmm... the jury is out to be honest. Don't get me wrong this is good fare, bristling with the hit of Masterplan, surging through the bombast of Kamelot, reminding of Queensryche through the tonsils of singer Krzysztof Sokolowski (also of Mistress Of The Night) and cavorting chaotically across Power Quest via the keyboard input of Piotr Sikora (from the excellent Leash Eye). Therefore all of the ingredients are here and the songs are too, with a severe step up in class from the band's 2006 debut Skyward.

So why my slight reservation? Well, truth be told, I'm picking the nits here, but there's little denying that if you spend some time with this album the only downfall of "Follow The Light", "Astral Geometry", "Another Day" or "All Guts, No Glory", is that they all begin to merge into one Euro Power Metal mould and become hard to tell apart. However if a skilled mix of Eden's Curse and Masterplan via many of the more Symphonic, but not Operatic Euro acts out there sounds even vaguely interesting, then I'll be shocked if you are not manically head banging, air guitaring and sky punching through "Hellphoria", "Of Fire & Thunder" and "Left Behind".

Guitarist Danny Lechmanksi puts in a sterling shift, laying down energetic rhythms and the odd blinding solo. However it is hard not to get the impression that this is more the Sikora show (or Voltan as this band finds him named), his keyboards more often than not setting the foundations from which Exlibris flourish, while also happily stepping to the fore. It makes for some insistently forceful moments and songs that create a really impressive initial impact. Although I've found that little really sticks in the mind once this disc is safely back in its case.

In the end what Exlibris have conjured up here is a strong, make that a seriously strong, album that stands up well to the major players in this genre and if you are a devotee of the bands mentioned above, then I've no hesitation in recommending Humagination to you. That said, for me there are still one or two elements not quite in place, with a lack of willingness to take the foot off the gas often enough and an over reliance on similar themes from song to song holding me back from declaring this as a must buy. However it is still an album Exlibris should be very proud of.

Track Listing
1. Follow The Light
2. Hellphoria
3. Astral Geometry
4. Of Fire & Thunder
5. Elemental
6. Left Behind
7. Dreamcraft
8. Another Day
9. Illumina
10. The Arrival
11. All Guts, No Glory
12. The Curtain Falls

Added: December 16th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Exlibris Online
Hits: 1585
Language: english

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