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Ex-Vagus - Ames Vagabondes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 13 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I am very glad that this French band finally made their PA entry. I proposed the band for inclusion in February this year and after several mails (info, comments) the band was finally added; although I got no credit therefore.

I saw the band on stage as they were opening act of a "The Watch" concert in the Spirit of '66 (Verviers - Belgium; Noveember 2006). Even if their vocalist is a bit "grotesque" on stage, using (very) cheap "costumes" while playing the role of each character. Each song is a kind of short piece of theater. And I must say that his vocals are special. Deep, high pitched voice. Strong but yet subtle; Eric Vidovati is rather talented. But all these musicans are and they deserve more recognition for their work. I just hope that more of you will listen to them and comment their work. So far, only two reviews for such a good band is quite a shame on a prog site.

"Ex-Vagus" plays a complex and powerful music. The main reference is "Ange". Same sort of theatrical vocals, middle age weird stories, great keyboards and classy guitar. Rhythms are intricate and lyrics full of fantasy.

My favorite song on this very good album is "Le Cheval Des Nébuleuses". An epic and wonderful symphony. This really brings us back to the greatest pieces of the seventies. Did you say Genesis (for the guitar work), Ange (for the vocals), or Yes (for the keys) ? You' ll get it all ! Actually, you'll even get Christian Descamps on the vocals ! An absolute highlight and a prog masterpiece.

But before this, we got already a strong opening number with "Astrodelica". Disjointed vocals, hard beat. Violent at times. But sweet guitar will incorporate the necessary symphonic flavour.

The wild "Il A Neigé Sur Pluton" also confirms that "Ex-Vagus" can also play on a harder edge. But most of their songs won't let and you asleep, believe me. Strong rhythm, crazy singing exercises (maybe a bit too much) and scary atmosphere for "Le Songe Du Surfeur D'Argent". Grandiose. Weird lyrics (although difficult to imagine if you are not into French).

We'll get Christian Descamps back for "Ici". This time as the composer. It is a song full of passion, well in-line with the early Ange. The chorus line is absolutely wonderful. What an harmony ! Another great piece of music. Such a sweetness, such a beauty...

The second epic "Au Domaine Des Trois Collines" is fully lyrical, dramatic, impressive. The power of "Ex-Vagus" music at its best. Heavy keyboards and fantastic vocals. This guy could have been an opera star. I thought already of this when I saw their concert. Really an outstanding style. Not common at all. This magnificent piece of symphonic music displays somptuous and spacey keys during the second part of the song. Gorgeous.

Another epic with "Un Petit Empire". A warrior and wild song. About war and dictatorship. The "Domaine" is a small part of land, and his chief is a small dictator. He never made war outside of this territory. Only internally...The mood is very dark and depressive. Hard for most of it, we'll get a bit of light and pastoral music at half time; just to bring us some relief (you know like the calm interlude during "The Knife"). The last part is almot similar to "Le Cheval Des Nébuleuses" (vocally).

Lyrics are weird again : "Il était un petit empire dans l'univers inexploré, ohé ohé. Il n'avait jamais massacré les êtres angers" (play on words for foreigners). The song ends on the famous French traditional song : "Il Était Un Petit Navire". A funny touch to smile a bit. The closing number is truely bombastic, difficult to approach. Probably the most Crimsonesque of all. Tortured and complex vocals. The lead singer playing several roles in this song (you know like ...).

I was already impressed with their live set, but this recording ranges amongst the best ones I have heard for a long time (Maldoror - another French band - was another one). Even if "Âmes Vagabondes" is not their first release; it is the only one apparently available on the market.

This is a brilliant record release on the Swiss label Galileo Records. Five stars.

ZowieZiggy | 5/5 |


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