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Ixion: Garden Of Eden

The concept:

"…it's the year 2019, Europe has become 'The Union'. I am one of the people responsible for food and health and I went through great length to make all food safe and without bacteria's. Most of the small farmers are gone, just large industry-like complexes remain. Everything is sterile, safe…

…but fate hits: a disease sweeps across the globe, millions of people die from a virus. I am immune…

…she hollowed herself out, nothing else remained. Submersed in my work, chasing a vision, of a world without pain. I never saw her pain, never saw how much she needed me…"

Although the premise is indeed a heavy one, the music produced by Ixion is not excessively dark or depressing but if you follow along with the lyrics the concept becomes perfectly clear. There are moments, however, when the darkness lurking below does break the surface.

Ixion is the project of Dutch musician Jankees Braam who is also involved with the bands S.O.T.E., Ulysses, Illumion and Knight Area providing sound engineering and artwork. Garden of Eden is the band's third CD. Braam has put together an impressive list of twelve guest musicians who gave a helping hand.

On Garden of Eden there is a nod towards harder edged prog in some tunes while others have a definite symphonic slant that remind me of bands like IQ. With a full arsenal of musicians including Knight Area's Gerben Klazinga (Hammond organ, synthesizer) the band produces a full sound dominated by guitar and dramatic keyboards. There are no less than three guitar players adding their styles to the mix but they never overplay or overextend their welcome as the guitar parts are tastefully executed. The music also includes plenty of symphonic textures that will surely delight keyboard buffs, sometimes going for a more retro sound with plenty of soloing.

The album's first song "Golden Cage" opens with a dramatic flair as keyboards and choir take flight before voice samples and subdued guitar rhythms enter the fold leading into soaring guitar and noodling synth lines. The song has a subtle Kansas feel partly due to the violin work of Irma Vos. The lead vocals of Michael Hos take a little getting used to and while he has a deep voice it comes across a little flat at times. That being said the vocals do improve over the course of the CD. The symphonic "Edge of Insanity" features hook laden guitar while beautiful cello highlights the mellow "My Princess, My Queen" where the vocal approach is more laid back. The rich strains of cello and lovely violin feature prominently in the poignant "The Storm", a duet that also displays the unique vocals of Esther Ladiges. In "Comfort Zone" Ladiges's endearing voice has a fragile quality which contrasts nicely with the biting yet melodic guitar solo, making this one of the album's highlights.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ixion's Garden of Eden and even though the vocals were not always to my taste they do add a certain uniqueness to the band's sound which is a big plus in a genre already saturated with bands that sound the same. Fans of symphonic prog should take notice.

Track Listing:
1. Golden Cage (12:17)
2. Edge of Insanity (7:24)
3. My Princess, My Queen (3:17)
4. Storm (7:19)
5. Comfort Zone (3:57)
6. The Virus (8:16)
7. Garden of Eden (5:12)
8. Trapped (8:24)

Added: November 9th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 3193
Language: english

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