Fireworks

Ivanhoe - 'Systematrix' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     November 02, 2013    
 
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Powerful songs are joined with superb musicianship and strong production values.

Amongst my rock music loving friends and I, the band Ivanhoe and especially their album 'Walk In Minefields' are both highly regarded, and so I knew I wanted to get my hands on this brand new release from the band as soon as I possibly could. Yet when I finally got to hear it, it didn't sit well with me at all.

Too heavy? Too metal? Whatever it was, this wasn't the Ivanhoe I'd come to love and expect. Thank goodness therefore that I never make snap judgements about what I'm listening to and play each review album half a dozen times and more before I really make up my mind as to whether I can recommend an album or not. I say thank goodness because 'Systematrix' takes a lot of time to get to know and it wasn't until around the seventh play that it clicked, and clicked big time with me. Yes it is heavier than the last couple of albums from the band, but it is also a more sinister and darker album, which needs this heaviness to help the songs deliver their true promise.

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When, as I said it did click, the album opened up like a flower in the morning sun and then songs like the eastern flavoured 'Human Letargo', 'War Of The Centuries', 'Walldancer' and 'Learning Path' all gave up their many musical charms. Mind you, when I really got into this album and began to appreciate what was going on, it was the three-part 'The Symbiotic Predator' that spoke loudest to me. Intricate guitar and keyboard runs interconnect throughout the three parts of the song, and with Mischa Mang's wonderful vocals cementing the whole thing together, I wondered why I hadn't engaged with the album much earlier than I had?

With 'Systematrix' Ivanhoe have proved once again that they are a prog metal force to be reckoned with. Powerful songs are joined with superb musicianship and strong production values, on a new album that is head and shoulders above a whole host of their contemporises work. As the old saying goes, "class will out".

Ian Johnson

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