DECEMBER 23rd 2013
Review by Anka

2013 has been the year of heavy, dark releases but apart from those we had a good bunch of melodic heavy metal and power metal albums spicing up the year’s soundscape. Polish power group Exlibris could fit into the latter category. I think “Humagination” is a quite accomplished release among the ones of the genre, although maybe it didn’t get the chance to shine as much as those belonging to the power titans like Stratovarius and Helloween, who had pretty remarkable releases too. Exlibris follows a slightly mellower and more melodic direction in the vein of Edguy, Masterplan and even a bit of Holy Grail.
The great thing about “Humagination” is the catchy groove and the massively keyboard-driven melodies as well as the quality execution. This release makes Exlibris a good contender for the top tier of power metal bands out there, since some of the classics happened to release weak albums in the recent years. The band doesn’t bring much novelty and settles for a very melodic heavy metal with sparse progressive and symphonic elements. There’s enough to keep you hooked through the 12 songs, whether they are catchy choruses, epic choirs (“Astral Geometry”), nice oriental-inspired touches (“Illumina”), sweet piano (“Elemental”, “The Arrival”), symphonic keyboard arrangements or the amazing clean vocal performance of Chris Sokolowski.

What I find about this album overall is that it loses momentum after a few songs. The mid part develops at a relatively moderate pace and it doesn’t carry the initial furious energy towards the end. There is a bit of a revival on the last songs but the attention is rather shifted to the melodies.

It’s one of the good power metal releases of the year, nevertheless. Although it’s been around for a decade, Exlibris is still a new band judging by the number of releases (“Humagination” is only their sophomore album) but with this album they’ll hopefully build a stronger fan base and continue releasing new albums more often.