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Exlibris: Aftereal

Slowly but surely Polish Power Metal protagonists Exlibris have built themselves a reputation as their homeland's best Power outfit. In itself that may mean as much as being the top beach volleyball team in Antarctica, but with album number three, Aftereal, this outfit deliver a series of Metal blasts which will truly announce them to the European Power Metal scene. From that you can take two things; the first of which is that Exlibris are a damn fine outfit, convincing songs displayed with glorious force. The second being that there's little, if anything, that you wouldn't expect from countless other European Power Metal acts. However what has to be added is that there's a strong diversity across Aftereal, "King Of The Pit" crunching through a Progressive Metal guitar-keyboard frenzy-fight (and featuring a guest solo from Wild Pig, Mech guitarist Piotr "Dziki" Chancewicz), while "Before The Storm" brings the beautiful vocals of Maksymina Kuzianik, who guests throughout the album, to the fore before bristling as though it's a Nightwish meets Kamelot convention. However the real coup is the appearance of singer Tom Englund of Evergrey on "Closer", who immediately brings the melancholic crush of his own band to the party. His performance is first rate and helps add another dimension to an album allowed to conventionally gallop across the likes of the string infused "False Messiah", full pelt "Omega Point" and swirling crash of "Escape Velocity".

If that makes out that the guest contributions overshadow the main men in Exlibris, then that wouldn't be fair, for while the band themselves do seem as excited by their new friends helping out as they do about the songs themselves, fret burner Daniel Lechmanski, powerhouse of throat fury Krzysztof Sokolowski and the rumbling rhythm section of bassist Piotr Toebicz and drummer Misiek Slusarski make for a tight and hugely effective unit. However add in the keyboard skills of Piotr Sikora and there's real hope that Exlibris may just have enough about them to eventually stand out from the crowd.

That maybe isn't the case just yet, Aftereal happy to fit neatly and excellently into a Power Metal niche deeply carved out by many an act before them. If you class yourself as a keen follower of that scene, then Exlibris need to be on your must hear list. If you're more of a watcher looking to merely pick out the cream of the crop, then maybe there's not quite enough here to establish this band on that upper echelon....yet. However on this evidence they're not far away.

Track Listing
1. The Continuum
2. Escape Velocity
3. The Day Of Burning
4. In The Darkest Hour
5. Omega Point
6. Before The Storm
7. King Of The Pit
8. Darker Than Black
9. Closer
10. False Messiah
11. The Mental Crusade
12. Suspended Animation

Added: February 1st 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Exlibris online
Hits: 1471
Language: english

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