Ex Libris - Medea
Self Release
Power Progressive/Symphonic Metal
9 songs (62:00)
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Joel
Surprise of the month

Ex Libris is a Power Progressive/Symphonic Metal band from The Netherlands, and WOW! What a disc, not only is the music itself amazing, but vocalist Dianne Van Giersbergen is absolutely stunning(More on her later!).

The title track opens with a blistering fast instrumental section, with some very cool lead guitar playing over it. Within the first thirty seconds you can hear the progressive styling of the band. The previous mentioned, Dianne Van Giersbergen enters and right away, her voice demands your attention. The queens of symphonic metal, should take notice, because this lovely lady can easily stand with all of them. She is a classical trained soprano, who can easily reach the highest of notes. At roughly the two minute mark of this song, you can hear her amazing range and control of her voice. Her voice has a seductive power that lures you into the music, as well as an aggressive side that is very similar to what Floor Jansen has done for years with After Forever, Revamp and now Nightwish. Murderess In Me is next, and has a very cool stop and go rhythm to it, symphonic overtones can be heard over the guitars, with each instrument making itself heard through the mix. The aggression in Giersbergen can be heard during the verses, while her operatic fireworks can be heard throughout the chorus. I had to listen to this twice, to hear everything else that was happening musically, several tempo changes, different riffs, all flowing easily together. On The Oceans Command is the first epic on this disc, coming in an exactly eight minutes, and from the opening guitar riffs through the very end the song takes you on a journey all its own. When the band kicks in, dissonant guitar riffs can be heard, with several guitar and keyboard fills thrown in for good measure. There really is a lot going on to describe every single part of the song, but its definitely over the top, and the arpeggio-laden guitar solo around the two minute mark is well played and builds off the verse and chorus. My Dream I Dream is next, with soft piano and the previous mentioned seductive vocals. The way she sings this song, really can't be described in words, and reminds me of what Simone Simons of Epica does on the slower parts of Killing the Dragon off The Divine Conspiracy. While the comparison is there, this band is definitely not a clone of any of those bands. As the song moves towards the middle it reaches a climax of several musical parts going on at once. It briefly slows down before the song gets heavier, and moves in a different direction. A male voice joins Giersbergen on Song of Discord, and his voice is very good, and I was happy not to hear the prototypical "Beauty and Beast" vocals that are usually associated with Symphonic Metal. This song is very dramatic, in its vocal approach, and that alone makes this song worth listening too. The song is more of a mid to faster paced song. It does feature a spoken interplay between Giersbergen and her male counterpart, which is interesting, but I can't say its my favorite part of the song. The music behind it though is another story, just wish it was a little louder in the mix.

You can hear the next song Medea's Lament here

Daughter of Corinth is next, and starts very bombastic and epic, with Giersbergen reaching the highest of her range, only to go to a spoken part without a pause, and then back to the rafters with her voice. Its actually quite amazing what she wants, without what seems taking a breath. The short instrumental known as A Tale Told... is next, and its a nice break before the last song, and final epic that is From Birth to Bloodshed. A heavy guitar riff with dissonant chords can be heard, with a very cool synth solo over it. Giersbergen like she has throughout the entire disc, changes her vocal delivery throughout the song. From operatic highs, to aggression later she does it all at a seconds notice. Some nice clean guitars are heard in this song as well, with a second guitar playing a heavier riff. There is brief almost interlude like part that includes some fine piano playing as well. This is probably my favorite song on the entire disc and for a song over ten minutes it keeps you easily entertained and not wondering when it will be over.

I am shocked that this band is not signed, and every point in the score I gave is definitely earned. They definitely have a chance to be near the top of their genre. With a mixture of Symphonic, Power, and Progressive Metal music, fans of the bandsEpica, older Nightwish, or even Finland's Amberian Dawn will definitely find something to like. To all the bands within the Symphonic Metal genre, you have been warned, enter Ex Libris, leave impressed!

As as side note, Dianne Van Giersbergen is also the new vocalist of Xandria, and can be heard on their upcoming disc as well as on tour throughout the world with them.

Killing Songs :
All the songs are great but Birth to Bloodshed is my favorite
Joel quoted 88 / 100
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