The music of Introitus had it’s beginnings about 30 years ago. Over the years founder and multi-instrumentalist Mats Bender (keyboards, guitars, bass, percussion) refined the music along side his wife Anna, who is responsible for the lead vocals and from my understanding, the lyrics too. Joining the duo for their debut album Fantasy on drums is their son, Mattias Bender. There are some guest players to help flesh out the music, like: Per Danielson (guitars), Peter Wetterberg (bass), Stephan Ekedahl (cello and Swedish bagpipes), Jobs Karl Larsson, Liselottle Hellstrom & Staffan Rasmussen (fiddles), Tony Fritzon (saxophone) and Matilda Kock (flute). There’s also a choir that feature Anna & Mats’ daughter Johanna. Anna also is part of the choir as well as a few others.
Opening the album is an instrumental piece “Genesis” (7:19), which was written in the early 80’s. Since then they added in some fiddle playing. This song is firmly rooted within the structured classic progressive rock. I couldn’t think of a better song than this to open the album that this.
Next is “Child” (5:58). This is the first vocal track of the album and stays within the confines of the classic sound introduced by the opening track. It’s also dedicated to their children. My understanding is lyrics describe a first talk from the parents to their child(ren). This is another song from the early 80’s. The version on the album was augmented with an accordion as well as the final lyrics.
Next is one of my favorites of the album, called “Ghost” (9:14). This is a very haunting yet extremely beautiful track both in the instrumentation and the lyrics. Anna does an amazing job here sings the lyrics with heartfelt emotions. To me, this is such a perfect song to be played often in the autumn and winter seasons. It’s dark yet optimistic.
Now we have the epic of the album and title cut, “Fantasy” (26:04). It was made up of five pieces of music that had a common bond with each other. I’m so glad it wasn’t broken into a suite. To me the whole point of having an epic is to be, well epic. This has everything you can want and expect from in a progressive rock format. It’s amazing how the song goes by quickly and keeps your attention from the beginning to end.
“Crossroads “(8:46) has a more contemporary sound on par with anything out in the symphonic progressive genre today. It has a very orchestral sound up until the 5 minute mark, where it has a funky keyboard part. There’s a heavy rock element in both the first part and ending section of the song. It’s a very orchestral piece.
“Here and Now” (6:57) is the newest track on the album, dating to 2004. It almost sounds like it could be a coda to the title track, since there’s some reoccurring themes. It’s also another of my favorites of the album.
The last track, “Magical Moment” (8:25) sounds like it could be an epilog to the album. As if it was summing up the themes on the album. It leaves you with a positive feeling which is much needed in crisis’ we have in our world today.
In closing, I can’t recommend this enough to fans of female fronted symphonic progressive rock. If you like bands like Magenta, newer Kaipa, Agents Of Mercy then you’ll have to add this album to your collection immediately. I read that they “should” have the follow-up album before 2010 is over. If they have the power and emotions present on the debut then I would gladly count it among my favorites of 2010. I just hope the second album doesn’t stay under the radar of prog fans as unfortunately, Fantasy did.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on August 31st, 2010