Ex Libris – «ANN — Chapter I: Anne Boleyn»
After parting ways with Xandria, soprano Dianne van Giersbergen haven’t lost her heart and continued her musical path with the band Ex Libris. So, in the beginning of summer the band started a crowdfunding campaign that was aimed to raise funds for the recording of their third full-length album called «ANN«. The album was divided into three parts, and the first one called «Chapter I: Anne Boleyn» will be released on August 1.
Like the previous album «Medea«, «ANN» is a conceptual work, and the first part is devoted to Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry XIII. Three songs that «Chapter I» includes cover the main milestones in the Queen’s life: acquaintance and marriage with Henry, the loss of her long-awaited son and the execution for treason. Ex Libris managed to convey through their music this beautiful but tragic story of one of the most famous English women in history.
Ex Libris continue to create music in the genre of modern progressive metal, and one can’t help noticing its incredible growth and development since the times of «Medea«. It’s especially noticeable in the composition called «The Courtship«, the guitar and keyboard passages of which refer to the classical prog. All these tempo changes and variation also have a positive effect on this song’s atmosphere, making it interesting and multifaceted. Simple (as it seems at first), the second song «The Miscarriage» is gradually evolving and rolling like a wave, and soulful and powerful Dianne’s vocals give an unprecedented emotionality to this power ballad. Medieval motifs fit perfectly into the concept of the album and perfectly complement the tragic song «The Beheading«, which seems to be the best composition presented on «Chapter I: Anne Boleyn» due to the perfect balance of music and melodic lines incredible in their beauty.
And, indisputably, the main adornment of the album is unsurpassed Dianne van Giersbergen’s voice. Possessing classical technique, she perfectly combines dramatic operatic singing with powerful belting, which also gives the already varied compositions even greater variability. No doubt it was on this release that Dianne has really spread her wings. Professionalism plus incredible vocal technique and emotionality make van Gierbergen the most powerful classical vocalist in metal at the moment.
Summarizing, we can say that the album «ANN — Chapter I: Anne Boleyn» met all expectations and dispelled all the doubts. It seems to be a very strong work, and it is clear that Ex Libris is an extremely serious band. Therefore, there is no cause for concern and it is certain that the next two parts will keep this high level that the band has set by this work.