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Aranis - Made in Belgium II CD (album) cover

MADE IN BELGIUM II

Aranis

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.00 | 84 ratings

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thedunno
5 stars 2 Years ago Aranis released their 5th album "Made in Belgium" which contained compositions of various Belgium composers. Apparently the album was a (relative) success so Aranis decided to make a follow up: Made in Belgium part 2.

More of the same perhaps?

No!

There are some distinct differences compared to part 1. The most obvious one is that flute player Jana Arntz provides lead vocals on a couple of tracks. This is a really nice addition to their instrumental capabilities so my only complaint is that I wish there was more of it.

Furthermore on MIB 2 the intensity levels seem to be turned up a few notches. Tracks like Skip 21, Hit, Tolles Pferd and La vague all show an aggressiveness that wasn't there before. I like it!

All the tracks are good and show different sides of the band. There is a wild rocky tune (la vague) , a tango-ish tune (kablamo), a funny tune (Tolles Pferd), an atmospheric tune (DSK) and everything in between. I wont go into detail on all the tracks but I do want to specially mention the last two tracks.

First there is the mighty "cell stress" of UZs Kurt Budé. My favorite track on the album and probably the best track they've ever recorded. The track is a 10 minute multi-headed beast that builds up to a great climax that leaves you gasping for air. Luckily it is followed by the wonderful melancholic and folky Funanmbul, composed by (for me completely unknown) Aurelia Dorzee. This is a prefect track to dream away with and calm down to so that, after its finished, you can play the CD immediately again.

Overall I think part 2 is an improvement over part 1 (and I already completely loved that one). Together with 'the Cellar and point- Ambit' this is absolutely my favorite record of the year.

I guess there is only one thing left to say. Aranis are tagged with the dreaded Rio/Avant prog label. For many people this is the synonym of 'difficult unlistenable music'. Surely, Aranis make chamber rock; a stylistic marriage of modern classical chamber music, rock and folk but in this case it always stays a very structured and melodic affair. There is never any senseless noodling or complexity for the sake of sounding smart. In fact Aranis makes fairly accessible melodic music that could appeal to a much larger crowd, if they would get the chance to hear it. So please do not let that RIO-tag deter you and give this album a chance. It makes a great introduction to the music of Aranis and Belgium chamber rock in general.

thedunno | 5/5 |

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