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ADN - Prelude CD (album) cover





3.62 | 23 ratings

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4 stars The art of patience is a delicacy that can only rear its presence when a certain sense of maturity prevails, which of course requires time. Which is why the two words, time and patience, are often intertwined. Being unfamiliar with ADN, I relied on our own apps79's sterling review, which whetted my appetite, at least enough to set out 'tiger hunting with an elephant gun' for this French one-shot wonder. Lo and behold, the Prelude album was no longer printed and my prog provider had sold the last copy, a situation which certainly discouraged my exaltation and put this on my 'maybe one day' list. Well, I didn't have to wait long as I was informed by my supplier that he found some copies. Greg, you rock!

French prog has an incredible preciousness, as proven by a multitude of magnificent releases since the very birth of prog, never disappearing even during the dark and somber days when all was glum in progland. ADN is an outright hidden masterpiece, a perfect gem of expressive theatrical rock of the very highest order, with three scintillating epics and a few shorter escort tunes to keep the balance and the spice always appealing. Most vocals are in French but some also are sung in English, a rather unique twist. I happen to be educated in French, so I luxuriate in the expressive depictions, wordplay and inferences that make French art, music and literature so universally lauded and applauded. France and Italy are not countries, they are theaters, which reflects strongly in their effusive styles that only serve to enrich our progressive landscape!

"Le Guide" has typical prog intro with space craft countdown and ignition, (corny but it works), quickly shooting into the dark skies with a melodic lament, the warm vocals up front and center, charmed along by an accomplice violin, slinging along the lines of classic Atoll, unleashing that 'echo in a tunnel' guitar barrage, the hushed mid-section adds that typical Gallic 'touche', swirling keyboards and solid drumming from the mighty Didier Pegues. Nothing earth shatteringly technical but simply loaded with emotion, feeling and passion. Though neo-prog, there is also strong symph and space rock tendencies with a brash bass leading the way , menacing and nasty the way a good bass should be. The sultry violin does wonders, one is reminded of Silver Lining, a stellar French one shot symphonic wonder from 2004.

Switch to English for the sweet piano-led delicacy "Dreams of a Line" (no, not a song about cocaine dependency!), which has a high-pitched wail to die for, a glance back at classic Tai Phong, another great French group. Elize Bruckert's violin waltzes once again with bravery and seduction.

"Here is my Soul" is much more hyperactive, with contrasting rhythms, stop and start calibrations and masterful vocals, once again expressed with profound theatricality. Keyboardist Philippe Benabes does wonders on a variety of organs and synths, prepping the terrain for a wicked lead guitar solo, all torture and pain. Though vaporous and impeccably romantic, this is still powerful enough to please the hard-core prog fan, as it pulses, howls and lunges with abandon.

The magnificent "Elle Tourne la Page" is a delectably romantic 14 and half minute 'chef d'oeuvre' that has all the classic prog requisites, namely bold bass accelerations, spooky keyboard colorations, raspy guitar and liquid piano , all propelled by the exquisite vocals of S. Fred. When the booming bass starts its relentless samba, the snarling Hammond kicks in like a tornado, one can only get onto one knee and accept the awe of French prog at its zenith, the breathless vocals alone are worth the price of hunting this mother down.

After such an emotional ride, the short title track is a pastoral diamond, a slithering violin leading the otherwise sunny disposition and the breezy melody, both intoxicatingly reflective. There is an overt Genesis feel mixed in with some idyllic orchestrations that may hint at Harmonium, all in all seductive and celestial.

The whopping finale "Fool or Subject" showcases brilliantly this disc, a 23 minute extravaganza that defies categorization, as it captivates right from the get-go, encapsulating all the previous stimuli and encasing it in an epic format that can only induce drool and perspiration. Another typical prog intro , a radio dial, quickly morphs into a bright Tubular Bells-like touch which then bleeds into something way darker, gothic and menacing, as if Bauhaus' Peter Murphy took over the microphone. Grand piano and baby voices (that famous combo) supply some drama and gentle hysterics, 'I swear, I swear' repeated over and over, slowly building up a frenzy, a slow cooker blending the juices, aromas and flavors with culinary artistry. Hey, if there is one absolute truism, the French really know how to cook! S. Fred grieves and growls in his lightly accented English, convincing with little doubt, then howling towards 'la lune' like some miserable madman. The screeching guitar screams its foul pain with exquisite form. There is so much going on here, never boring or pedantic, in fact it keeps expanding and searching out new directions of inspiration. It's just plain beautiful.

This incredible album does not have perfection stamped all over it, the sound can be rather thin at times, some rather obvious missteps but the playing and the melodies are simply world class jewels that beg for applause. Beautiful artwork seals the deal for me, as this has that famous 'Je ne sais quoi' that is utterly attractive. Apostolis, after the Protos now the ADN efcharisto, mikro filo mou. You gave it 3 stars and lots of love. I must give it way more and lots of amour.

4.5 Je suis Charlies

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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