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Ange - Au-delà du délire CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 320 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Fans of symphonic French Prog generally regard this as the best album by that country's most quintessential band, and I'm not about to argue the matter. In less than forty minutes it manages to sum up just about the entire Progressive Rock tradition in the 1970s, from gentle 12-string ballads to heavy electric riffing, and from oddball spoken word narratives to ultra-tight instrumental workouts, all with a Gallic whimsy and fatalism easily translated across any language barrier.

Although often compared to early (pre- "Trick of the Tail") GENESIS, in my opinion that's only a lazy point of reference for Anglophile listeners unfamiliar with the wide spectrum of Continental music. ANGE had its own identity, built around the theatrical exuberance of singer Christian Decamps (making Peter Gabriel sound like the inhibited middle-class choirboy he once was) and his brother Francis' trademark mellotron sound. There weren't too many bands from the period who didn't employ the ubiquitous orchestral-sampling keyboard, but none with such distinctive style, combining a deft classical touch with enough reverb to rattle a battleship.

Picking out highlights is pointless. My own favorite moment is the endlessly rising crescendo of "Fils de Lumiere", and it's gradual transition to the mock-medieval pomp of the two-part title track, which after its raconteur-troubadour intro switches gears dramatically, working toward an ecstatic climax.

My only complaint is about the packaging: my CD reissue (on the Philip Records label) has no track information beyond the titles, no production details, no clues about the personnel and instrumentation, and reduces the beautiful book-of-hours cover art to a shadow of its original glory.

Thankfully the music itself survives, after more than thirty years sounding even better than ever.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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