Tellus Requiem - Invictus (The 11th Hour)

Tellus Requiem Invictus (The 11th Hour) cover
Tellus Requiem
Invictus (The 11th Hour)
Nightmare Records
2013
7.5
Tellus Requiem is a Norwegian progressive metal band that’s quite impressive, all things considered. This would be their sophomore album, following a digital only released, self-titled debut, that saw the light of day some time in 2010. While I didn’t have the pleasure of listening to that one, my first encounter with the band being their sophomore, the band reveals themselves to be quite a capable quintet that follows without aping the style of bands like Symphony X (Pre-V) and Pagan’s Mind. They do that however with a bit more flair and with a slightly lighter mood than the aforementioned bands so that makes them a bit easier to digest and easier to appreciate and listen to even for the avid listener. They could as easily tempt a power metal fan as well as keep a prog fan that’s not too nerdy content. They seem to have found a very good balance between technicality and melody – which sometimes takes people years and several albums to find a fine tune.
 
“Ab Aeterno” at 3 minutes could have been a song, but it’s nothing more than a very long winded instrumental intro that leads straight to…
 
“Red Horizon” a quirky keyboard laden piece that finds itself trying to keep dominion over some guitars that try to come to the fore… the singer, manager to pretty much assume most of the song himself, with most of the melody being based on his lead and backing vocals. There are some discreet female vocals and some basic percussion and some smart keyboards, just offering flourishes... but while the song is spartan and pretty old school, it’s how it should be... it’s not overloaded with a million things that shouldn’t be there, just for the sake of putting them, out there.
 
“Eden Burns” takes the same formula and turns the Symphony X knob to 11, while it sprinkles a bit of Kamelot’s early works magic dust all over. Either of those bands would have loved to have written this tune! A little rough around the edges maybe production wise here and there, but it’s an awesome tune!
 
“Reflections Remain” is a more measured number that slowly chips away at the soul... of the listener, unveiling pure beauty underneath, but also, it ends up being quite disturbing as well especially towards the end...
 
“Twilight Hour” is based on a short and powerful yet quite interesting idea, that makes it quite fast paced and energetic, quite keyboards intertwining throughout its duration and the vocals floating hypnotically between them verses. Pretty cool stuff!
 
“Sands of Gold” begins with sweeps of piano being interrupted by an erupting riff and the singer’s defiant declaration, only to follow the same pattern again and again... it’s quite the song actually. While it sounds quite derivative and you might get the feeling that you might have heard it before, which might also be true, it’s not quite obvious, (it might be Kamelot’s “Red Sands” or “Call of The Sea”… one of those two... that might have a similarly sounding section.)
 
“Tranquility” is well tranquil (pardon the pun – well it’s not dead calm – but it is way more calm than most of the other numbers on the album) and a whole lot more melodic and has a nice solo around the fifth minute.
 
“Redemption” has some fiery licks of Spanish like guitar and is a lot more sophisticated, a lot more epic and lyrical. It moves in mid tempo territory but it here manages to really excel. Without kicking of their influences altogether, TR, are possibly also managing to find their own voice a bit I am inclined to think…
 
“Invictus” is an epic song that is tipping the balance a lot towards power metal, but it’s rather complex percussion makes it rather progy. What really made me raise the eyebrow was, when the singer broke into an exhalation of standing “Wictorious...” firstly.... like all Scandi’s and I thought it was only the privilege of Swedes, but it seems to be a common thread with probably all of them, they don’t seem able to do “V” justice... we get the “W” sound, which is dead funny, at least to me... but then again, I laugh at the general direction of 99 % of Greek singers that I find pretty terrible too and it’s not only their  “Vs” or their “Ws”, it’s pretty much the whole damn alphabet that I hate about them. But to Hell with Wicktory and giant Weenises of Steel and all that shenanigans, it was the fact that I have to vow that I must have heard the exact same vocal melody over the exact same lyric before, but with a different second part of the same verse, like “Standing Victorious, lallala Glorious” so, I don’t know about this at all either! Wow! Do they have a doppelganger?! Other than that it’s a nice song!
 
Finally “Dies Irae” is largely orchestral but gets a drumtastic crescendo towards the end. It’s a kind of an outro – just as extended as the albums intro I guess.
 
For an album that came to me as unexpected as this, these Norwegians surely impressed me. Well not as much as say, Conception once did, but hell, they’re much better than the likes of the Kvelersucks of this world that the magazines seems so eager to stuff down people’s throats! I raise my glass to them and to better taste in music.