Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Music Review: Conjure One - Exilarch

Music Review: Conjure One - Exilarch

For five years, Conjure One has sat quietly. The writing and recording process neither hurried nor urgent. Now, they have returned with the exquisite album Exilarch. Ten stand out tracks selected and put together for the listener's delight.

After the last album Extraordinary Ways, there were many fans who were quite skeptical that this album wouldn't turn into another overly commercial release as well. Fortunately, it would appear that the fears were unfounded and this is the album that should have been made five years ago.

From the opening track Like Ice, which features the stunning vocals of Jaren Cerf (who has worked with the likes of Dash Berlin, Serge Devant and Armin Van Buuren). It is plainly obvious that this is going to be an amazing album. The album moves back towards the bands roots of heavy synth with a mixture of gothic and middle eastern influence.

Following is the second track Places Like That Don't Exist. A instrumental track that seems almost of throw back from producer Rhys Fulber's days in Delerium and Front Line Assembly. The track is masterfully put together. The constant reminder of electronica with the softer melody over the top. It is quite a difficult piece to describe but certainly well worth the time to listen to.

On the track Zephyr, Jaren Cerf returns providing her remarkable amount of talent to the song. As the majestic strains of music meet with Cerf's voice, the entire album lights up brightly and sounds out beautifully. It's dark and light all at once with an uplifting sensation. A track that has to be heard to be believed.

Nargis reminds the listener of the middle eastern influences that Conjure One is well known for. Add to that the beautiful singing voice of Azam Ali and it's a stand out track. The feel of the traditional music of the East meeting the electronic movement of the West and combining in a stunning way to leave the listener enthralled.

Going forwards is the third collaboration with Jaren Cerf on the album highlight The Distance. If you buy this album for no other reason, it should be for this song alone. The song is light and airy. It's almost ethereal in it's beauty and simplicity. The track is stunning. There is no other way to describe it. The album as a whole is a stand out but this track... it is THE highlight of the album.

Popping up on the emotive track is Leah Randi who has previously worked with Delerium and Front Line Assembly. The track is I Dream in Colour and it's breath taking. When coupled with the following track Existential Exile, also featuring Randi, the effect is nothing short of amazing. It's a tribute to the fact that Conjure One has now found it's own path and is no longer following down the path the Fulber previously walked with Delerium.

Closing the album is the last instrumental track Oligarch which is breathtaking in it's own right. It's got the sweeping strings, electronic beats and, again, middle eastern influence. The track is a phenomenon. It's honestly a shame that there are nine other tracks to get through before reaching this one. 

For those who have thought that Conjure One was an attempt to cash in on his previous fame with Front Line Assembly and Delerium, this album has certainly proven them wrong. This album has the mood of Semantic Spaces, the electronics of Civilization and the darkness of Karma. Exilarch is not a poor man's Delerium. This is Conjure One, standing proudly on it's own next to Fulber's previous works.

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