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Flamen Dialis - Symptome - Dei CD (album) cover

SYMPTOME - DEI

Flamen Dialis

 

Progressive Electronic

3.23 | 21 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really !!!

Attention, Mellotron a gogo and chef d'oeuvre.

Most progheads make a sort of fixation on THE definitive prog instrument (outside the flute that is) and even if some of us won't admit it, we all drool and melt at the sound of it, a bit like Quasimodo did for Esmeralda, the Big Bertha did for ten Big Macs or Sylvester did for Tweety. And generally most progheads to cherish the lone albums of Spring and Morte Macabre. But I got for you another baby that puts to shame the one I just mentioned and it is more prog than those two combined (yessir!!! ;- puts them to shame in the mellotronic dept. And not only is this album rather unique and awesome, obviously the guys from Landberk and Anekdoten (this is what Morte Macabre was really) obviously heard this album and inspired themselves rather heavily on it.

Flamen Dialis: a Breton prog group that started as the trio Yecta Plus Band in 71, but acquired a more standard line-up with the arrival Didier Le Gallic in 76 and released a single in 78 (as a quartet), and finally their album in 79as a septet but two members concentrating on whatever few vocals. But by this time, this kind of album might seem a bit anachronistic since most of music had shifted to digital synth, so basing an album on the original analog synth was sort of a rear-guard combat. This might explain why FD's sole album is barely known and went almost unnoticed.

Musically this record is a strange mix of Zeit-era Tangerine Dream (but not quite as spooky) with a weirdish Magma influence (mostly in the vocals, but the booming bass when present, also) and sometimes-free improvs (never made difficult because of the Tron layers), and as you probably known the Swedish MM's Symphonic Holocaust. Limiting FD to the mellotrons would be misleading as there is plenty of musical interplay between Didier Le Galic (drums and keyboards) and his compatriots, as his brother Yves is the other keyboard man. After a superb start (Dernière Croisade), the album goes wild with a bizarre Sanctuaire D'Argile with haunting Kobaian-like chants, soon over taken by an intrusive and implacable Mellotron, but the chants come back and lead to a superb acoustic guitar with Arabian influences. WOW!!! Dedale Vert is definitely more Tangerine Dream, and less impressive and oppressive. But soon Illusion bring back the gloom with doomy wind instruments that could easily find place in Shub-Niggurath or Univers Zero.

After a windy intro (Méandres), the Mellotron comes back in Eclosion , menacing, haunting, loomy , doomy and sombre, but Le Gallic's superb vibes are the centre of your attention here. The track ends with a rather minimalist repeating note pattern, which slowly segues into spoken words (we are now in Labyrinth) and yells out. Spooky? A bit, I must say. But just as the album gets lugubrious come some fascinating vibes Arc En Lumière as an interlude. Renaissance is an aptly-titled track which discusses the bass and the two Mellotrons (this is grandiose) and segues into a fast duo (remember the Mellotron is a slow instrument due to its mechanism) that seems unreal (Village) and the album closing in a complete chaos with Eclats, delving into improvisation.

As for the bonus tracks, they consist of the afore-mentioned single tracks, which are sensibly similar (especially Découverte and its enthusiastic TD-Clearlight realm), even if less complex and slightly more mainstream (the second in the JM Jarre vein). But they do not hinder or harm the progress of the album.

Truly one of those lost French gems that came a bit too late to get a better notice the first time around. Hopefully, Zaharia's label MIO will make the second time around. BTW, if anybody knows the whereabouts of Didier Le Gallic, there is a boss label waitng to pay him his dies, so please warn him. A real must.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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