2003 was witness to the birth of a new legendary group in the form of Narsilion. Members formed this group out of the ashes of Ordo Funebris and currently consists of the duo Lady Nott on vocals, violin & flute and Sathorys Elenorth on vocals, keyboards, classic guitar & percussion after Dark Wind left the group in late 2007.
Their first work under this project was the demo titled Return to the Silver Forest. This eventually led to them signing with the Spanish record label Caustic Records which would set the stage for two of their successful future releases. Shortly thereafter they appeared on the highly acclaimed compilation My Dear Freaks where I first became acquainted with their sound and was immediately spellbound. Late 2004 finally brought to light their first full-length album titled Nerbeleth. This first edition printing of the album completely sold out over the next two years before they would release their sophomore album.
Over the next two years the band would stay busy recording their follow-up work and playing a few live shows. Early 2006 saw the release of Arcadia, their excellent sophomore album. Just within the first couple of months the initial pressing of the first edition was selling out fast to an eager crowd that was mesmerized by their previous work. The next big step in their history came with their signing to the german label Ars Musica Defundere, part of the Black Rain media group. 2008 saw the release of their third album titled Namarie which with the partnership with their new label crossed new boundaries and allowed a larger audience to have access to their great music.
Fans of neo-classical, medieval and goth-oriented ethereal music pay attention, this is destined to be your new favorite group and each album is destined to be a classic. Never since the likes of Arcana, sToa, Dargaard or Dead Can Dance has such a group been heard around the world like this. Narsilion will take you into a world of magic, enchantment, a real fairyworld of beautiful music that will absolutely hold you enthralled.
Listeners of Gothic Paradise radio will for sure be familiar with this group by this time. As far as legally possible, you'll be able to hear nearly every track from their albums. So keep listening and enjoy!
Namarie - Review
It took me a while to track down this release. I thought having it out on Black Rain would make it a little more accessible, and in truth it is, but not through the normal channels that we get our music here at Gothic Paradise. However, I'm sure most die-hard fans will already have this album by now, so hopefully I can help spread the word to those curious that just haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. The album comes in a beautiful digipack with a booklet full of lyrics and beautiful images to coincide with the spellbinding audio tracks on the disc.
Each new release is a fantastic collection of music from the beginning of the trite music box notes of "El Retorn a la Infantesa" to the final flute and violin of "Who Can Dream Forever". It's amazing how this band can so easily captivate the listener and take them away into a true fantasy land where the imagination reigns supreme and beauty is everywhere, even amongst the war-like neo-folk percussion that comes out on a few pieces. As you listen to the introductory notes of the music box fade into flute, harp, various ambient electronics and the soothing faery vocals, it opens the doorway to another world.
Even though I've listened to this album over a dozen times, it's still difficult to really pick out any favorite selections. They all blend so well though there is still some good variety. The captivating, dreamy ethereal sounds remain the foundation to the music, but as we drift along through "Desperta Ferro!", the military percussion kicks in and with the pipes, a taste of Irish or Scottish heritage comes forward for a nice mix and truly spectacular piece. "Las Puertas del Mar" has grown on me quite a bit over the last little while with it's spellbinding mix of everything I like about Narsilion, male and female vocals, a lilting rhythm, flute, harp, violin, ambient electronics and spanish lyrics. Though different, yet quite similar, more laid back and ambient-like "Enmig del Silenci" is always quite dreamy and captivating. The title track keeps this up after a short break into the heavier sounds of "Angmar" with it's percussion, and on we go through one beautiful piece after another.
After a couple of fun pieces in "O Sonar Das Augas" and "En Caure La Nit" we're brought to the final piece "Who Can Dream Forever". This happens to be the only english piece mixed amongst the spanish and catalan lyrics of the rest of the album. So amongst the english-speaking fans I can understand how this could be a favorite, as understanding the lyrics gives new meaning to the beautiful music portrayed. This is truly another masterpiece and an awesome way to end yet another perfect album by this talented trio.
Arcadia - Review
When I received word of this new release I was elated. Anyone that has read my review or heard any of their other albums including Nerbeleth will understand why fans of ethereal music are so excited about this release. This is like the second book of a fantasy trilogy, or the ice cream in apple pie 'a la mode', it's a necessary piece of any ethereal, medieval cd collection. Like is habit I've listened to this album at least a dozen times before sitting down to review it. The good news is that it's actually been hard to take this one out of the CD player and it makes for an easy review when it's such a nice piece of work. The packaging itself is uniquely presented in a beautiful DVD-like digi-pack case with artwork to match the music along with an 8-page booklet containing lyrics and other information.
Despite the nice packaging, everyone here is really interested in the good stuff on the disc, the music that this band manages to put together. Even after the initial wave of infatuation has worn off I'm still held mesmerized by what this band does. After listening to this album so much and their debut work a few little things stand out, such as the spoken words in english have a harsh accent, making it hard to understand.. but hey, that's what the words are for in the booklet, and in today's world of harshly-distorted industrial and rock noise, it's easy to forgive an accent for someone who doesn't natively speak English. The poetry comes out great though despite the accent and the title track kicks off the album with style as the music slowly builds over the spoken word. At this point the magic is unveiled as we embark on a mystical journey through a total of ten captivating selections.
Just about every piece picks up with a 3/4 (or 6/8 cut) time signature with swaying triplets that present something of a vision of a faery waltz. There seems to be a bit more percussion on this album, though it doesn't detract from the faeryworld-like, neo-classical ethereal nature of the album. The steady percussion provides a slight military drum march, but mixed with the waltz-like tempo and bells it softens the edges of tracks like "Montsegur", "Winds of Eternal Prophecies" and the slightly building beats in "Visions From The Ancient Times". But then you throw into the mix the angelic vocals and dreamy soundscapes of "Faraway" or the beautiful finale to the album "Lagrimas de Cristal" and the listener is left enraptured.
With a mix of works like those described above it is extremely hard to pick a favorite, and it seems like the choices shift from one listen to another, so today it may be the more ethereal works mentioned and including other pieces, but tomorrow it may be the pieces with the steady percussion and added male vocals. The music also speaks for itself, not only on the mystical instrumental piece "Beltane", but also as the undulating tapestry woven for each track bringing the siren-like vocals straight to the listener's heart.
What more can be said about this album without actually listening to it I don't think there's much more I could add to describe it, so fans should rush out and find a copy of this work and I'm sure they won't be disappointed.
Nerbeleth - Review
After first hearing the selection "Mirror of Nature" on the My Dear Freaks compilation, I was immediately spellbound by this group. When I heard they were releasing an album, I was extremely anxious to get my hands on it. I finally put it in my CD player and it was everything that I ever imagined and more. As a fan of fantasy novels, movies and the romantic vision of medieval times, this album presents all of these attributes so perfectly presenting a true dreamworld that you never want to wake up and leave. I've listened to this disc in it's entirety more than a dozen times and I still can't get enough and find myself listening over and over again.
As I listen to each track with mystical elements of running water, angelic vocals, medieval flutes and percussion, it truly takes the listener on a fantastic journey. From the powerful, yet beautiful sounds of "Prelude" which serves as an instrumental introduction, to the final notes of the finale and title track "Nerbeleth", the music is completely enthralling.
Most of the tracks of some sort of vocals present, whether it be the siren's call or those of Lady Nott resounding through the mystical beauty or the deep, whispered male vocals of Sathorys. Notably present are the absolutely angelic guest vocals of Ethla on "El Llanto de las Sirenas" and "Existencia Encantada" and the guys from Dies Natalis lend their vocals on the marching folk song "The Voice of Sin". This latter track sounds like it comes straight from a Dies Natalis album, so fans of that group should appreciate it as I did.
The flow of the album is nearly perfect floating from one track to the next in perfect transition. "Prelude" gives way to "A Night In Fairyland" which builds on the deep whispering male vocals and enchanting instruments. The moving percussion on "Lost Horizons" has quickly become a favorite of mine. "El Llanto de las Sirenas" with the beautiful spanish lyrics and vocals is an absolute dream broken down into two parts for a long and enjoyable piece. My favorite of the entire album still remains the song that served as my introduction to this group in the form of "Mirror of Nature". The organic sounds mixed with the mystical synths, harp, flute, vocals and overall fairyworld nature of the track is mesmerizing and I still find I can't pull myself away once it begins to play. "Existencia Encantada" is another spanish delight, which I'm glad that a group from Spain will actually include some spanish lyrics which are so beautiful and poetic. "My Pagan Land" and "Nerbeleth" wrap up the album and leave the listener longing for more.
Overall, with exactly an hour of material spanning eleven beautiful tracks, one can't really ask for more, except another album soon. This is the best release I've heard in some time and can easily recommend it to any fan of neo-classical, medieval, ethereal, gothic, ambient or just about any related genre.
Label: Caustic Records