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Xang - Destiny Of A Dream CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.77 | 33 ratings

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5 stars First, an official disclaimer: this is one of my favorite prog discs ever, certainly in my top 20 all-time, so take note that I am grossly biased having listened to this masterful recording over and over again ad perpetuam since its arrival. I anointed the follow up "Last of Lasts" with equal lavish praise, so I am a fan. Even though I unabashedly prefer the mellower , more pastoral melancholic side of prog, I was also raised on a steady diet of hot, searing , sweaty rock , so it should come as no surprise that this excellent hard prog group from the north of France remains one of my little pet/protégés, a rambling bruising instrumental outfit that can really lay it on thick, with an abrasive and mellifluous guitar courtesy of the incredible Antoine Duhem (straight from the Lifeson school of riffs and solos), suggestive keyboards from Vincent Hooge who throws in a few oblique organ forays and tons of razor- sharp synth solos , all held down by the prolific Matthieu Hooge (Vince's bro?) and the tremendously agile drumming of Manu Delestre. From the opening "La/The Revelation" , the unending roller coaster ride goes unabated , swerving in all directions, great riffing, stop on a dime arrangements, constantly huffing, puffing, spewing and devastating the aural landscapes with well thought out interventions, not one boring second on this puppy! . Strangely, while there are no vocals, there are some lyrics, which make this rather brainy exercise even more appealing, giving the listener the ability to imagine the story via the music only. Darn brilliant, if you ask me! "Misgivings/Le Doute" is another highlight, with some fascinating rhythms, dive-bombing guitar runs, machine-gun percussion and that solid bass buoying everything down tight. "My Own Truth/Ma Verité" provides a heavy symphonic background for some added instrumental mischief, with both synthesizers and fretboards simply ablaze with inspiration and steadfast drive. A ravishing Duhem solo ignites the deepest passions, sparkling fiercely in the sonic tornado. "The/La Prediction" is a contrast-laden epic with calm almost minimalistic piano musings clashing suddenly with more cerebral sections, featuring hooting six-string howls, some fine ensemble playing, stupendous heavy drumming and another rousing synth solo, brimming with folly and a Duhem blast that spells mayhem. "The Dream/Le Songe" is a brief piano interlude that clearly resonates the simple beauty of a lull after the storm, where time and space suddenly disappear into oblivion leaving only weightless introspection. "Bitterness/Amertume" is the first monster cut, clocking in at 10 minutes plus and rewards the delirious listener with a majestic romp that slowly builds from a gentle symphonic awakening into a blossoming adventure , replete with melancholic inflections despite the strong rhythmic guitar groove, wailing synths whistling the pain of regret , bass booming in tandem and full- fisted drum patterns. Antoine Duhem radiates again with a series of world class solos full of gritty suffering, precise yet evocative highlights that remain forever etched in one's brain's sensory boards. A brief e-piano/cymbal duet mid-section keeps the tension in place, rebuilding the tonal melancholy into a gloriously exploding finale. This is a riveting, deliberate piece that is surely among the finest prog instrumentals ever recorded. "The Choice/Le Choix" continues as an extension of the previous brilliance, with a more mid-tempo guitar led assault, Duhem weaving some bending guitar notes, here sounding more like a cross between Holdsworth and Latimer. There's some playful and restrained group playing until they all simply take the tune into muscular overdrive, zooming along at breakneck speed, lobbing heavy riffs, shredding nicely into the boiling cauldron. Out of the blue, an organ announces a change of direction and the rifferama begins anew in a different expanse, an oblique at times Holdsworthian solo burning incandescent. Incredibly creative stuff, really, I cannot imagine someone not liking this. The nearly 7 minute finale "The Light/La Lumière" (though its listed at 13 minutes, it has some dead air and noodling towards the end) starts off with some imperial church organ (sounds like Wakeman's 6 Wives of Henry VIII there for a moment!), a luminary guitar blazing away, controlled shining at all costs, unending peaks and valleys in terms of intensity, always veering near the outer fringes of insanity, at times harsh and then warm and glowing. Rarely has instrumental prog shown itself so versatile, fun, exhilarating, aggressive, melodic and moody. Packaging is interesting reading, this being obviously musicians with day jobs (Manu is a university teacher !) whose passion for ace prog is clearly expressed in their discography. First-rate prog that will definitely upgrade your collection's scope and quality. 5 shining etoiles.
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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