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Hamadryad - Conservation Of Mass CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 90 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Stunning debut for this Canadian band, that actually doesn't sound like a debut at all. This may not be a big surprise, since some band members are playing together since 1987 as a cover band in various styles. Generally they manage to bland many prog rock influences and elements, from the 70's, 80's and the 90's, and offer their own version of progressive rock in the start of the millennium, in a modern, up to date sound.

The band sounds great as a whole, but for now I'll mention the vocalist Jocelyn Beaulieu and his high, distinctive vocals. He sounds different from Jon Anderson though, and my association goes more for vocalists such as Fish, Thom York, or even Jimmy Somerville, (if to mention that great pop singer). His high vocals in exact and precise pitch and his highly emotional expression lead to a result of a great vocalist. Unfortunately, he left the band in 2002, so this is the only band album featuring Jocelyn as the lead vocalist.

In addition, Jocelyn is the main lyricist and a second guitarist, along with marvelous Denis Jalbert as the lead guitarist. This creates an enriched guitar sound. Two guitarists sound different from one doubled guitarist, and this rule (IMO) is certainly valid here. Beside of those features, note that the band members create wonderful and intriguing vocal harmonies all the way throughout.

There is sort of a concept in this album. The concept may seem a little vague, but the lyrics, as well as the cover art, relate to an idea of an alien entity that looks at the world from outside, sees all the bad and evil things, but at last comes to far more optimistic conclusions about our globe. The music in this album got a great flow, inside and in between the tracks, and through not-too-long 60 minutes, creates a great 'album treatment', a treatment which is bitterly absent from so many nowadays albums.

Maybe the best moments of this album could be found in the middle part. Just maybe, because there are so many other goodies here... lyrics of track 8, '.Action!' are opposed to track 7 lyrics, 'Shades of Blue'. While 'Shades of blue' is a delicate love song (with so nice bass fretless solo from Jean-Francois Desilets...), '.Action!' deals with another important aspect of love. No matter how well is your English, you'll probably understand easily the action this song deals with. It start with a raw rock'n'roll form, and a very simple rock/blues melody, background with propulsive double guitars. This is the only song that not performed by vocalist Jocelyn, but by bassist Jean-Francois, and his down-to-earth vocals express the song very well. However, Hamadryad didn't mean to stay in this base rock form for too long: soon this evolves into four minutes of spectacular guitars exhibit, in various soloing styles. After this amazing extravaganza, the atmosphere is changed to a calmer mood, and with the same chords and harmonic moves as before, we get into a bolero-like rhythm, performed by snare rolls from dynamic drummer Yves Jalbert, and wonderful vocal harmonies and lines from the band members all.

Track 9, 'Nameless', is a true epic, that deals with the useless and evils of war. Seem to be that people won't be tired of dealing with that sad issue although Canada wasn't participate in any war for years. still they have their own right to pass this important and true message. This track make the best opportunity for keyboardist Francis Doucet to express, and he takes this chance by some Hammond riffs, mellotron and synths, and a moog solo. But that's not all: The vocal harmonies, call and response, are breathtaking. The end climax, guitar solo join to the moog, is hair rising. All in all, it's a very strong epic.

...Sorry that in order to keep this review not too long, I didn't relate to the other tracks: The power opener 'Amora Demonis' (with Jocelyn yelling 'a-mo-ra de-mo-nis!!!' at the chorus), the next short following tracks which consolidate to one epic, featuring a capella singing, decisive guitar riffs and a Russian-like melody ('Still They Laugh'), or the closer, 'The Watercourse Hymn', TALES - like suite, consists from 4 songs combined together by delightful acoustic and classical guitars playing...

But I hope the conclusion is clear: Conservation of Mass is a fantastic album that well worth your time and money. Is it a masterpiece? I don't know. I'm not sure yet. Is it essential? No. Just in case you love good music. I rate it as a five stars album due to its concept and flow, to the great singing and playing, and to the fact that they sound enormous as a band. They really love to play and sing together, and this passionate is fully pass to the listener. I have a great time listening to this album.

ShW1 | 5/5 |


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