Another great band I discovered last year is the Dutch band Ex Libris. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. They’re just another gothic or symphonic metal band because that’s all that the Dutch bands seem to make these days. Well, throw those preconceptions out the window. Ex Libris is actually a progressive metal act – and they’re unlike any other female-fronted metal band in the Netherlands right now.
To be more descriptive, Ex Libris plays progressive metal with hints of gothic, neoclassical, classical, and folk music. Their singer, the lovely Dianne van Giersbergen, is classically trained and has an impeccable operatic range that rivals Floor Jansen, Vibeke Stein, and even Tarja Turunen. And although Nightwish is one of Ex Libris’ influences, they also credit Symphony X, Opeth, Dream Theater, Moonspell, and Seventh Wonder for influencing their sound.
So it’s no surprise that Ex Libris’ 2008 debut, Amygdala, is a colorful one. You’ll hear all kinds of musicality on this album: heavy riffs, frenzied keyboard solos, myth-like storytelling in the lyrics, Transylvanian organs, and a plethora of tempo changes and progressive elements. As for Dianne, well, she can do just about anything with her voice. She has the power to soothe, excite, and even intimidate with her soaring soprano. If you’re looking for tracks from Amygdala to check out, I highly recommend the beautiful ballad “Sail…,” the exhilarating opener “Dawn of Sugars,” or my personal favorite Ex Libris track, “Destined.” Here’s a live clip of Ex Libris performing “Destined” last year.
Currently, Ex Libris is in the studio recording demos for their second album, Medea. They also have a few shows scheduled in the Netherlands later this year.
Ex Libris is:
- Dianne van Giersbergen – Vocals
- Paul van den Broek – Guitars
- Koen Stam – Keys
- Peter den Bakker – Bass
- Joost van de Pas – Drums