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Saens - Escaping from the Hands of God CD (album) cover





3.68 | 55 ratings

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3 stars Skeptical as I was when I saw the recent release year, this album is quite the piece of legitimate symphonic prog. Saens tie together key art references such as IQ, Phil-era Genesis and Rush (as well as the occasional melody that harks back to early JMJ!) penned into rotating epics that are variously radio-friendly, forbidding and incredibly indulgent. "Escaping from the Hands of God" is uneven because all of the songs bristle with ideas, sometimes arranged in sequences that can fade from interest and occasionally slip into a sort of symphonic fusion - and has a lot of trouble climbing back out - but no matter where you dip into this CD, you'll find genuine modern progressive rock with a minimum of unseemly nu-metal or AOR influences - refreshing in and of itself.

The opener "Babel Lights" seems to be the most memorable because it utilises mood so well - in fact, the first time I listened to the CD I remarked that this might be akin to Anglagard or Deluge Grander because the atmosphere was so carefully gothic. Instead it spans out into a neo-style power piece complete with heroic guitar lines that reminds me so much of IQ (and in the bigger picture, the album I would soonest compare "Escaping the Hands of God" to is IQ's "Dark Matter") but with the addition of a choir and recorded with as much echoing as your speakers can support. The singer's voice is a little elastic, sometimes reminding me of his counterpart from Moongarden (a similar band in many ways, now that I stop to think about it...) , while occasionally being more similar to Garm (of Ulver infamy) and at other times still, incomparably carrying more surprising bite than you'd expect from this usually over-gentle genre.

In truth, the instrumental that follows this rather special opener usually diminishes my attention and I have trouble regarding the remaining work - and just generally, this ambitious CD is way overlong for my tastes, but this is a failing of mine and not of the band. In any event, the three other epics are just as worthy of a modern symph-head's attention - "Alone" in particular does well to recapture the excitement of the album's early movements. Even if Saens' sound isn't particularly new or even all that different, the songwriting is strong, so by hearing this album your enthusiasm for the genre might well be rekindled.

laplace | 3/5 |


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