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On disc: Antiquus

- Eleutheria - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars


(Cruz del Sur - 2007)

Antiquus is the Latin word for 'ancient' or 'old'. But this band is not an old one. Eleutheria is their second album and named after the Greek goddess of freedom. Or perhaps after the asteroid named after her?!? At least I don't expect it to be a reminiscence to Samuel Beckett's play or Oscar Wilde's short story. But the album is telling a story - at least the first 6 tracks. A short synopsis of Eleutheria taken off Cruz del Sur's website.

Journal entry 1474....

There is a Captain of a vessel. He has been given the duty to head out from his homeland, leaving his family behind, in search for new lands, to claim in the name of his King.
The captain is given the command of a ship called the Mercy Childe. After setting out, the Pilot guiding the ship mysteriously vanishes with no trace.
The crew becomes worried about their chances of crossing through the Second Sea into uncharted territory without the Pilot.
The Captain attempts to navigate the ship using the Pilot charts, but he finds that they are a meaningless mess.
It seems that the Pilot had gone insane before he vanished from the ship, and left nothing useful behind.
The Captain fears that his crew will mutiny him.
The Captain dreams of a beautiful land where the sky reaches over the sea filled with birds circling... he is rudely awoken... by his First Mate.
The crew refuses to take the Mercy Childe into the Second Sea with no reliable charts. They send the Captain off in a small craft with no provisions, only giving him his journal and the meaningless Pilot charts.
The Captain is mutinied...

Musically the five Canadians offers powerful progressive metal and is interesting for fans of Pagan's Mind, old Queensrÿche and Lost Horizon - to name a few. The album starts really heavy with O Captain, My Captain. With twin guitar harmonies - adds a 80's feeling -, pounding bass lines and thundering drums the band of singer Jesse White presents themselves. The clear, powerful voice of White fits well and makes it easy to follow the story. Complex arrangements and surprising breaks demand the attention of the listener at all times. Never forgetting to keep an eye on melodies. Conceptual albums always have to follow musically the story they tell, sometimes this is limiting, but not in this case. As on many conceptual there are narrated parts. In this case the narration starts off Meta Incognita which then gets on its way acoustically. Often acoustic guitars are used for ballads, but this song is a heavy instrumental leading into Redemption. Starting acoustically... Actually the bass is imitating a heart beat... The band joins in heavily and then speeds off. A fast up-tempo tune. Its like getting into stormy waters... And then the storm calms and the sun comes out again. At the end this song has an epic touch. At the last track of the conceptual story singer Jesse White seems to pick up some lines of the opener O Captain, My Captain, but when you listen carefully you hear that he slightly changed the words. Brilliantly done!
Only the last two tracks are not part of the story, even if Mechanismo could musically fit into it. Only the last track - KT Event - is different. A powerful balladesque song which starts with acoustic guitars and the voice of Jesse White. But still the technical playing is there, but at the same time this is the song to get into most easily. Even if not representing the album...
Give them a chance and don't judge them when you listened to only one or two tracks. This album is a grower! It needs several spins to discover the whole package with all its details. If you don't have the chance to listen to the whole album, then listen to the title track. I think Eleutheria gives a good impression about the same titled album.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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