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Shylock - Ile de Fievres (Fever Island)  CD (album) cover

ILE DE FIEVRES (FEVER ISLAND)

Shylock

 

Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 60 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Ile de Fievre' is Shylock's second effort, definitely their top achievement, and also one of the most important prog inputs to come out of France. Now as a quartet (they've got a specific bass player in), Shylock manages to recycle its crimsonian inheritance by adopting a stronger approach to their symphonic sound: you can also notice some clear influences from 76-77 Genesis and Rain Dances-era Camel, as well as some discrete leaning toward avantgarde ambiences a-la RIO. In comparison to their debut album, the musicianship is tighter and more confident - guitar and keyboard solos and interplays are refined, Fisichella's drumming is tight and his employment of various percussive devices is inventive, new bassist Serge Summa's work is solid. The compositions are also brilliant when it comes to the album's highlights. The opening title track displays a colourful combination and ensamblage of diverse musical ideas, intertwined and ultimately reprised with tremendous skill and immaculate fluency. This moster track comprises the signals of the band's main influences with a particular dynamics that reveals Shylock's own prog style. An absolute individual gem, that can only be equalled afterwards by 'Laocksetal', the most aggresive number in the album: starting with a series of guitar-driven riffs, momentarily intersected by a rough martial section, it ends with a disturbing, almost nightmarish synth "festival" exhibited upon layers of mellotron and a cacophonic sequenece of guitar, bass and wood blocks. In the middle of these two highlights, the remaining tracks may not seem so impressive at first listen, but they have grown on me as to make me consider thsi album as a coherent catalogue (opposite to many reviewers). Indeed, they're quite good pieces: the mysteirous beauty of the mellotron solo 'Choral' and the Weather report-esque vibe of 'Himogène' are really well accomplished - the latter includes some occasional dissonanace a-la GG. The final bonus track is a nice jazz-oriented piece, with a firm melodic motif that gets constantly reinstated without getting boring: in some ways it reminds me of "Rain Dances"-era Camel. Taken from a demo recording, this bonus should not have been placed at the end of the CD, since it cuts down the sinister climax achieved by 'Laocksetal'. By the way, the preceding track sets an ethereal disturbing preparation for the explosion of 'Laocksetal': 'Lierre d'ajour d'hui' displays a 2-minute landscape of mystery, like a breeze of impending doom appearing from the deep end of a forest in the evening. 'Le Sang des Capucines' is a jazz-rock oriented jam that portrays a deceving appearance of incompleteness, but beyond the surface you can appreciate a dynamic elaboration of the basic motif in a well-sustained crescendo that only stirs things up in a very sybtle fashion. It is as if the band had left room for "unfinished" development in order to work more profoundly in their own performing finesse. Overall balance: 'Ile de Fievre' is a must in any good prog collection, since it's a classic masterpiece of the genre during the late 70s.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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