Invictus (The 11th Hour) is the second full-length album by Norwegian progressive metal band Tellus Requiem. It was released in 2013. The band previously released a self-titled debut album in 2010 but in the years leading up to the release of Invictus the band has acquired a new vocalist and a new drummer.
While Tellus Requiem seems to be listed on various websites as a progressive power metal band the truth is that while there are definitely power metal elements in their music, which are often quite strong, as in the track Eden Burns, Invictus as a whole is much more the modern sounding melodic progressive metal release. One that uses power metal elements, as well as symphonic elements to a much lesser extent, as an ingredient in their overall progressive sound. Danish band Anubis Gate comes to mind almost at once as a reference point for the type of sound that Tellus Requiem have going for them, although I think Tellus Requiem has a more openly progressive way of structuring their music, making comparisons to traditional progressive metal bands like Dream Theater all the more valid. Symphony X would be another good band to mention if we’re going down the ‘if you like Band X, you’ll like Tellus Requiem’ thing. Actually them more than any of the others I mentioned.
The album kicks off with an introductory instrumental, Ab Aeterno. I’ve singled this out before the other songs because I’m always pleased when I band includes an intro track worth its salt, because this one most definitely in a track in its own right, albeit still short at 2:44 duration. A haunting intro of piano and choir vocals, then building up into metal elements until the band is finally ready to shift into top gear with Red Horizon. I can’t think of a better way for an album of this style to kick off.
If I’m honest though despite its amazing start with carries over from Ab Aeterno into the fuller songs that make up the bulk of the release, I do find Invictus to be slightly inconsistent. Just slightly, I don’t mean this in a negative light as such. It’s just that some songs are spectacular while others are merely solid, competent compositions that are enjoyable but don’t move me in the same way as album highlights such as the infectious Eden Burns does, which is an absolute belter of a progressive power metal track no matter if I look at it from a prog or power metal perspective. Red Horizon, Sands of Gold and Reflections Remain are just a few that maintain that high standard. The returns that the album gives have got continually better with the more time I’ve invested in the release though and even the tracks which haven’t really stood out have grown on me some. Personally I feel that Tellus Requiem display a real knack for the songs which are the most power metal influenced although I admit that probably comes down to personal taste more than anything. But overall I’m more than pleased with Invictus regardless if Tellus Requiem are playing a power metal bit or not. An exceptional grade rating is deserved.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org/tellus-requiem-invictus-the-11th-hour-t2793.html))