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Xystus: Equilibrio

Like bands such as Epica, Kamelot, After Forever, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Symphony X, Ayreon, and Within Temptation? Then you've come to the right place by clicking on this review. The third and latest album by Dutch band Xystus, Equilibrio, their first release for Sensory, is a full-blown prog-metal rock opera, and also features the 60 piece Utrechtsch Studenten Concert Orchestra, a 30 member choir, Epica lead singer Simone Simons, George Osthoek (Orphanage, Delain), and Dutch theater veterans Michelle Splietelhof and John Vooijs. All of these singers play various parts in this rock opera, and along with the sweeping symphony and choir, help turn this grand vision from Xystus into a marvelous reality.

The band itself is made up of Bas Dolmans (vocals,guitar), Ivo van Dijk (drums), Bob Wijtsma (guitar), Mark Brekelmans ( bass ), and Joris van de Kerkhof (keyboards). By themselves, these guys are an extremely competent outfit, with the addition of all their guests, this whole ensemble turns this into a grandiose and bombastic event. Dolmans has a strong voice (playing the part of Diego in this opera), and he works well with Simons, who as most of you know, is one of the best female vocalists in the progressive/power metal universe. Osthoek, playing the part of death, adds the occasional growls, and his contributions provide a nice contrast to all the symphonic elements here. Splietelhof is also a fantastic talent-I'd love to hear more of her in this type of setting in the future. She seems made for symphonic metal!

Picking out highlight tracks here is kind of hard, as you need to take this in as one long piece, but expect many soaring & catchy melodies along the way, as well as huge symphonic flourishes, crunchy guitars, orchestral keyboards, and powerful vocal performances. At times you'll be reminded of Ayreon's many prog-metal operas/concept pieces, or even the legendary Jesus Christ Superstar...this is that bombastic at times. Kudos to the Utrechtsch Studenten Concert Orchestra, the real MVP here, their unbelievable orchestrations simply intoxicating in their intensity, making much of this sound like a huge, bombastic movie score. Some folks might want a little more 'metal' out of all this, but in reality it's so well done you can't help but be pulled in by it all.

Two thumbs up, way up!

Track Listing
1. Ouverture (3:02)
2. My Song Of Creation (3:40)
3. Traveller's Theme (4:50)
4. Last Breath-Death Enters (4:57)
5. We Stand Divide (4:30)
6. The Conlict (6:33)
7. Questions Answered (5:27)
8. My Time Of Need (4:11)
9. Forever Bound (3:47)
10. The Message (6:15)
11. The Balance Restored (3:08)
12. God Of Symmetry (6:39)

Added: November 7th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4000
Language: english

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