Saturday, October 18, 2008



Progressive rock band Xystus formed back in 1999 and in 2004 they released “Receiving Tomorrow” and “Surreal” followed in 2006. After that the band contacted the Utrechtsch Studenten, the oldest symphony orchestra in The Netherlands. The result of this collaboration resulted is the rock opera Equilibrio. Conceived as both an actual stage production and a studio recording, Equilibrio was performed to four sold out audiences in July 2008 – over 4,000 people witnessed the opera. Over 130 people were involved in making this production which about a year and a half to put together. Normally this sounds exactly like the kind of project that I would hate. These massive productions that try to blend metal with classical and or musical styles normally have me believing that they would be overblown and inevitably dull. Fortunately Xystus did something right, in fact they did a lot to ensure the success of the is project. This is a musical with five vocalists, three male and two female. All five singers are very good with Epica singer Simone Simons being the top stand out. The music blends classical and metal although with far more of the former. The playing is top notch, but the best aspect of the music is that the two styles work to complement each other. Both styles are of equal importance and the music is tight enough that they balance each other. I would have liked to have heard more metal at times and I think that it would have helped, but the music undoubtedly works as is. Okay, so they got the vocals and music accomplished in fine form plus the production is splendid, but what about portraying emotion? Oftentimes large productions and even progressive metal get so wrapped up in time changes and swirling pieces around that they lose site of the emotion of music. Again not the case here, the emotion is easily portrayed and wrapped in the vocals and music. All the above aspects result in a warm and vibrant presentation that gives the listener a lot, but not too much to soak in. Granted this is not a CD that I could listen to everyday because I would have to be in a certain mood for it. Still it's an ambitious effort that everyone involved should be proud of.

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Blogger The Ripple Effect said...

I heard this and just wanted to go back and listen to my Nightwish collection. At times, the music had tremendous power, however, there was never that "hook" that grabbed me for the long haul. I'll give it another try in the coming weeks.


3:51 PM  

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