Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Eskaton - 4 visions CD (album) cover





4.34 | 279 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars Recorded first but released second, 4 VISIONS has been a zeuhl classic for ESKATON who lurked in the shadows of the underground all throughout the 1970s hot on the heels of fellow Frenchies Magma but didn't find a proper release until 1980 with its second recording turned debut album "Ardeur." I've never read a satisfying explanation as to why 4 VISIONS emerged as a second release despite it having been recorded as far back as 1978-79 but what is known is that all three original ESKATON albums only appeared on cassette and remained so for decades until they finally saw a proper re-release on CD by the Soleil Zeuhl label. Rightfully so 4 VISIONS received a makeover in the cover art department transmogrifying from a rather amateurish New Wave of British Heavy Metal type logo for the moniker to the darkened "Prometheus" style album cover that suits the music much better.

Despite initial appearances form the original cover art though, ESKATON consisted of seasoned veterans in cranking out their own stylistic adaption of the zeuhl that Christian Vander and his army of Kobaians cranked out during the 1970s. ESKATON had actually formed as far back as 1970, the very year Magma released its debut but didn't find an outlet to release its own music until 1980 however with a decade's worth of a head start to hone and tighten their skills. ESKATON emerged as one of the more successful zeuhl bands to follow in Magma's footsteps. While the Magma influences are about as obvious as can possibly be, the rather limiting nature of the zeuhl sub-genre of progressive rock makes it more difficult to deviate from the tight knit instrumental interplay and at least during this era the differences were all about the subtleties.

ESKATON was definitely a much more direct action band than Magma who structured its music more in the vein of classical music particularly the world of Carl Orff and his classic score "Curmina Burana." ESKATON in direct opposition to such sophisticated compositional fortitude opted for a fire setting stampede of zeuhl fueled passages without much room for down time. Particularly impressive is the incessant bass thumping prowess of Alain Blésing who must've had arms of steel to sustain such lengthy bass virtuosity for lengthy periods of time. Of the four tracks that were featured on the original version of 4 VISIONS, only the closing "Pitié" was less than 10 minutes but still almost hit the 9-minute mark. The music fires on all pistons for its incessant 42 minute plus run.

After a bit of light jazzy keyboard tinkling, the opening "Eskaton" wastes no time jumping into high tempo frenzies with blistering bass antics and the dueling contrapuntal vocal dynamics of Paule Kleynnaert and Amara Tahir. Basically an album's worth of Magma at its most climatic moments, ESKATON distinguished itself by remaining Earthbound and employed its native French language instead of some self-constructed lingo however with such frenetic fast playing verbiage it's really impossible to understand anything therefore the vocal parts come off as nonsensical additional instrumentation. Another differentiation from Magma was a heavier use of guitars with no qualms in engaging in raucous guitar solos and avant-prog angularities as heard from of the chamber rock bands like Univers Zero or Art Zoyd. The sense of dynamics is fully implemented with thundering rhythm sections pacified by chilled out atmospheric backdrops.

While ESKATON has become one of the more successful in terms of recognition in the mondo-ziarro world of zeuhl, for my tastes they have always been a bit too close to the parent tree from which their fruit dropped. Despite the idiosyncrasies to separate themselves from Magma, they still end up sounding too similar for my liking especially given the infinitely more creative zeuhl acts who existed simultaneously that found startling new ways to implement the martial rhythms into their own twisted musical world. For many this second release from ESKATON is an exemplary masterpiece but for whatever reason this band just doesn't get me quite as hot and bothered. Despite any personal preferences, there is absolutely no doubt that 4 VISIONS is a powerhouse of musicianship with an energetic display only comparable to the world of heavy metal at the time. With much more diversity than "Ardeur" and a knack for keeping things in the extreme drama zone, 4 VISIONS is indeed an excellent display of zeuhl firing on all pistons.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this ESKATON review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.