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Nemo - Barbares CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.10 | 269 ratings

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4 stars The first album to come through my door in 2009 was this new album from French prog band Nemo. What a great start to the year it turned out to be too! This is my first taste of Nemo so I'm unable to give comparisons with their previous releases. What I can say though on the strength of Barbares is that Nemo have made a powerful, dynamic and often modern sounding prog album.

It's immediately apparent how well the band work together, no doubt helped by this being their sixth album. The musicianship is excellent, particularly Guillaume Fontaine and JP Louveton's keyboard and guitar work respectively, which blends so well together. The keyboards are modern sounding much, though not all of the time, the guitars ranging from powerful riffing, through jazz tinged chords, explosive soloing to gentler acoustic moments. Mention also has to be made of of the dynamic rhythm section comprising of melodic and fluent bass player Lionel B. Guichard who features prominently in the mix and JB Itier's excellent drumming; powerful yet full of detail and subtleties.

Not surprisingly the attention is drawn towards the epic title track which at over 25 minutes closes this excellent album. Interest never wanes throughout due to the myriad of different parts making up the whole. Perhaps strangely for a track so long the vocals, which incidentally are sung in French throughout the entire album, do not feature that prominently here. Instead the track is in the main given to the many and varied instrumental parts. Starting with restrained Celtic sounding guitar the track builds into a powerful tour de force, each player having ample opportunity to shine on the excellent instrumental interplay with some very good soloing too. A lull for some melancholic piano leads the way into a powerful climatic finish.

While no doubt Barbares is the highlight here, the other 5 tracks in the main while lacking the length, match in quality, though it has to be said, 2 of them still almost make the 10 minute mark, my favourite of these being L'armée Des Ombres.

On the strength on Barbares I'm inclined to now start investigating the Nemo back catalogue which you can get a taster of here if you can still manage to get hold of the limited edition 2cd version with the Si live cd. It's only early yet but there's going to have to be a lot of excellent albums released this year to knock Barbares out of my 2009 top 10 list.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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