ISILDURS BANE & STEVE HOGARTH (Marillion) – Colours Not Found In Nature (2017)
During the summer of 2016 (whilst finishing the Marillion album F E A R) singer Steve Hogarth joined forces with Swedish Progressive pioneers Isildurs Bane to record the album “Colours Not Found In Nature“, to be released in few days under the ISILDURS BANE & STEVE HOGARTH banner.
Hogarth wrote all lyrics and performed all lead vocals, while the music was composed by Isildurs Bane’s talented musical director and keyboard player Mats Johansson.
Swedish progressive rock group Isildurs Bane was formed in 1976, and over the years the combo has developed through several musical styles and line-up changes but have always honoured musical innovation.
The band plays a majestuous symphonic prog mix between vocals, guitar, keyboards and wind instruments, and add colorful string arrangements.
For this new Isildurs Bane venture, you can tell that many of the songs and arrangements by keyboard player Mats Johansson (also orchestrator) where done with Steve Hogarth’s vocal style in mind.
Add Hogarth’s imaginery writing the lyrics, and the resulting feeling, modulation, and rhythm of the songs are strongly reminiscent of Marillion.
At first glance, I wanted to write here that Hogarth’s voice dominated the album, but after repeated listens this would be wrong. The sonic structures, arrangements with violins, bells (including tubular bells), double bass, vintage keyboards, etc, are just as important as the singers’ throat.
With the the quite commercial ‘Ice Pop’, and the sweet melodic follower ‘The Random Fires’, the album starts very lively, drifting to the more relaxed, sympho waves of ‘Periphal Vision’.
Hogarth sounds profound, but by no means as vile as on one Marillion song of the past 10, 12 years. His pipes on this recording seamlessly blend with Isildurs Bane’s, and we discover some new facets from his capable way of singing.
‘The Love and the Affair’ is the next insight into the soul of Hogarth and the songwriting of his musical partners. The six titles are all at the same high level, sometimes lighter, sometimes symphonic, at places rocking, all in a true progressive manner.
Ranging from an excellent artwork and elaborated yet always captivating music, Isilidurs Bane & Steve Hogarth’s “Colours Not Found In Nature” is a true Prog Rock album.
This Swedish band has a unique sound with great playing, and on this album (I’ve heard some of their past works) they opted for a much more accessible style, shorter songs, and a proper 40 minute length.
Hogarth’s lyrics are very personal and interesting, and his vocal performance throughout the record, intense, velvety I’d say.
Marillion / Hogarth fans will be delighted. So do I.
1. Ice Pop
2. The Random Fires
3. Peripheral Vision
4. The Love and the Affair (Part I & II)
5. Diamonds and Amnesia
Steve Hogarth – lead & backing vocals
Samuel Hällkvist – guitars
Mats Johansson – keyboards
Katrine Amsler – keyboards
Christian Saggese – acoustic guitar
Axel Croné – bass, string arrangements
Kjell Severinsson – drums
Klas Assarsson – percussion
Luca Calabrese – horns
Liesbeth Lambrecht – violin & viola
Pieter Lenaerts – double bass
Xerxes Andrén – drums, percussion
John Anderberg, Anneli Nilsson – backing vocals
All compositions by Steve Hogarth & Mats Johansson