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Seven Reizh - Samsara CD (album) cover

SAMSARA

Seven Reizh

 

Symphonic Prog

4.15 | 52 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Celtic and prog really don't mix that frequently or that well. Don't get me wrong - I could name a lot of great albums that combine the two, but the proportions are off, or they are too self consciously one way or the other. The Celtic component might be used more for flavour and sound more quaint than anything, or the progressive aspects represent mere accents. SEVEN REIZH seems to be one of those rare bands whose genetic spirals enslave both, with lineage to Breton greats like ALAN STIVELL but also to the modern neo prog movement. Moreover, they have chosen to dovetail the suspenseful aspects of all these genres into some of the most riveting musical storytelling around.

Their sophomore effort is another ambitious, lavishly packaged production in service of often breathtaking themes. Orchestral, rock and traditional Breton instrumentation blend with diverse voices and clash rarely. The piano of Ronan Hilaireau is especially enjoyable in the longer cuts like "O Redek" and "Samsara" (with its lovely contrabass redolent of CAMEL), providing a respite from the sometimes raunchy guitars, savage rhythms, and skirling Breton instrumentation. "Qim Idi" combines cello with eastern European styled vocals like those in DEEP FOREST's "Boheme", but more acoustically based. The chanting of the brief "Awalik" is drenched in dramatic and melodic inspiration.

If you enjoy LOREENA MCKENNIT's knack for bridging the Celtic and middle eastern worlds but wish she could escape her ethereal mists once in a while, you will enjoy "La Longue Marche". The lone hard rock moment of "A Roak" conjures FLEETWOOD MAC's cult classic "Sisters of the Moon" right down to the furious closing sequence, even if its pace barely breaks with the slow tempo on most of the album. The keyboard work near the end of the title cut sounds like something out of SATELLITE's "Evening Games", and Doro alternately recalls ANNIE HASLAM, KATE BUSH, SALLY OLDFIELD, MAGGIE REILLY and CRANBERRIES, as well as the vocal styles of EMELIE SIMON in the French language version of "March of the Penguins". The net is cast widely and the take is bountiful.

"Samsara" is a wandering and worthy follow up to "Strinkadenn Ys", more reflective and subtle perhaps, but also with a potentially more lasting footprint.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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