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Ange - Caricatures CD (album) cover

CARICATURES

Ange

 

Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 91 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Ange's first two albums don't come with the highest recommendations from Ange fans but I've always had a soft spot for them. No, not a soft spot, absolute adoration! More so then for their later works, which are more polished, more professional probably, but lack the harsh and slightly darker sound that prevails here. Yes, if you want, call me a fan of the dark and the dramatic.

Ange is often compared to Genesis but when I hear the first bars of Biafra, I would go a bit further back in time to Van Der Graaf's atmospheres of their sophomore effort: dark, brooding and theatrical. The tempo steps up a notch when the guitars kick in. Powerful instrumental.

If there's one complaint about this album it would be the production. Like all tracks, also Tel Quels suffers from the muddy mix. It's an excellent song but its start-stop structure just screams for a more dynamic sound. They make it up by giving their ultimate best though.

As you've guessed from the titles, Ange sings in French, which may take you some effort if you're not used to it and which will make you miss out on the lyrics if that is an important element for you. But they do it so beautifully and expressively (and in the most beautiful language of the world :) that it is an asset and certainly not a weakness.

Not only their lyrics are French, also their musical roots are. You will surely hear echoes of King Crimson and Genesis in this music because those are the influences you're likely to know well. But at the heart they sing French chanson, be it extended to proggy lengths. La Dignité is an excellent example of that, with a Christian Dechamps that sounds very confident on the vocals and proves he's a worthy French incarnation of the Hammill / Gabriel type of theatrical vocals.

Le Soir du Diable is a wonderful little dreamy-dark ballad which sure must have inspired the Swedish prog scene of the 90-ties. Caricatures is the next extended piece here, over the top theatrical, disjointed and slightly directionless but oh my do I love this one. Very big early VDGG feel again with those heavy organs and mellotrons.

It's sure indebted to Genesis and King Crimson but it is not just blind adoration. I have always found this band to sound very original and entirely at ease with themselves. Often overlooked, this debut is my preferred Ange album and one of my favourites of the symphonic prog sub-genre.

Bonnek | 5/5 |

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