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Dionysos - Le Grand Jeu CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.18 | 25 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

One of Quebec's earliest and most historically important albums is Dionysos' debut called Le Grand Jeu (referring to life's big play/game), along with Frank Dervieux's Dimension M, because of its use of the Quebec-French singing and even if the prog contents are relatively low, this is definitely a proggish blues-rock album.

Dionysos is a quintet (the usual prog quartet plus leader Thibert on vocals and wind instruments) that develops a relatively conventional hard blues-rock with the usual prog traits (all tracks between 5 and 12 minutes) of the early 70's. Organ-driven, filled with searing and soaring guitar leads, the odd flute and the then-surprising Joual vocals (the local French dialect was not really fully accepted in 1970 in arts) and an intriguing gatefold artwork the inside being fairly naïve/childish though.

With the opening12-min+ Narcotique is a typical Dionysos blues-based track, but comes with plenty of drama, interplay, interludes and changes of tempo, but it will not raise the hair from your arms. Suzie is a good standard 12-bar Blues with no surprise and therefore a bit boring. La Colère is a fuzz guitar piece that tries to emulate anger, but I must say that it is not entirely convincing either. Thibert's voice is a fairly typical one for Quebec's Joual singing (somewhere between Charlebois, Octobre's Flynn and Offenbach's lead singer.

Much more interesting is the 8-min+ L'Age Du Chlore, an up-tempo affair evenly shared between organ and guitar reminiscent of Purple in their proggier moments and even The Nice, due to Mathieu's presence. But the better has yet to come with the mid- tempo instrumental L'Age D'Or where the flute fights the guitar for supremacy early on, with the organ lurking just under, underlined by the efficient drumming until the flute seems to win and the track strangely fading out, to come back more energetic with a vengeful guitar. The album closes on the Agneau De Dieu (god's lamb), another hard driving organ-dominated rocker where Clement's riffy guitar is the main feature, especially in its middle section, where he hints at some Frippian tricks.

While this review was made from a loaned (thanks JM ;-) Spanish bootleg CD, I can't remember if the original vinyl presented the same sonic flaws (sounds like it was done from a so-so vinyl) as the pirate, but beware of this issue should you want to investigate the band. While hardly essential to most progheads, this early Quebec prog album is nevertheless an important step in La Belle Province's rise to greatness.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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