Ange - Le Cimetière des Arlequins CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 131 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Ange is a cult band for prog in France. In fact, there is many things which can explain it: Christian Décamps's strong personality as a charismatic leader and singer, very good musicianship provided by Jean Michel Brezovar with a good feeling on guitar, Daniel Haas on bass and accoustic guitars, the impressive Gérard Jolsch on drums and Francis Décamps's Christian's brother on organ and mellotron.

There is something very special to Ange's music: as Magma was mixing Coltrane and Bach influences with a rock feeling, Ange was mixing folk, prog and what we call in France "chanson", a kind of poetry which is in the vein of George Brassens, Léo Ferrer or Jacques Brel.

The opening track, "Ces Gens Là" is a cover of Jacques Brel famous tune. But, here, the song is totally into the spirit of prog. The introduction is made of mellotron and guitar harmony. Christian Décamps's vocals are totally in the spirit of both Brel and Genesis, and the song arragement could remind King Crimson. The lyrics are about greed and people's lack of open-mindedness. The final verse which was the most emotional in Brel's version, is replaced by a magnificent guitar solo by Brezovar. Brel himself was impressed by this cover. A bright song!

"Aujourd'hui c'est la fête chez l'apprenti sorcier" is another interessant song. It begins with thetrical vocals singing surrealistic lyrics provided by Christian Décamps, with a background of big organ sound, powerful drums and dynamic bass line in the tradition of prog. But, in the middle of the song, Haas and Brezovar mix their accoustic guitar melodies, with Francis Décamps playing mellotron, until his brother whisphers "Aujourd'hui c'est la fête chez l'apprenti sorcier". And as an ending a reprise of the opening theme.

"Bivouac" is another pure prog track. The begining of the track is built around a contrast between climats made of rock guitar and Christian Décamps repeating "Bivouac mon Bivouac" (very shortely) and quiet moments with mellotron and thetrical vocals by Francis, before this last ones dominate the song creating a mysterious and disturbing feelling, until Christian declaim surrealistic lyrics. The song continues to be mysterious until the third minute when the song is moving into an organ solo sustained by the strong rythmic and Brezovar's guitar.

"L'Espionne Lesbienne" is a folky song dominated by accoustic guitar and Brezovar's flute. It contains very humourous and well written lyrics by Christian Décamps.

"Bivouac (Final)" continue "Bivouac" where it ended and contains a duel between Francis Décamps on organ and Brezovar on guitar. It ends on mysterious mellotron melodies.

"De temps en temps" is beautiful ballad made of very present organ and superb vocals by Christian Décamps who signs poetic lyrics. There's too a bluesy guitar solo and a good job from the rythm section espeacially Jolsch on drums.

"La Route aux Cypres" is another folky tune which sounds very delicate. The work on accoustic guitar is beautiful and the flute gives a pastoral side to the song. The vocals by Christian are unusually soft.

The title track is an epic one. It begins with mellotron melodies. The vocals give a really mysterious feeling when the background is very atmospheric. It turns slowly more and more strange as the song progresses. The mellotron turns very disturbing, when suddently Christian declaims very surrealistic texts ( I let you discover these) as the rytm becomes faster. Then there's an exchange of harmonies between the guitar and the keyboards. The song fades into a kind of concrete music section dominated by percussions. It is unuseful to say the musicianship is as allways very good with a special mantion to Gerard Jolsch.

So why only four stars for a music I love? Because, first the album is not as coherent as the following ones, especially "Au Delà du Délire", even if the songs are excellent. But, there is more important: the sound production is bad. Maybe this was the early seventies, but Pink Floyd was recording the same year "Dark Side of the Moon" which still sounds very modern today. Brezovar explains the sound engineer was very frightened by the sound level used by the group and he asked them to play in a lower tone. The sound mix is not very good too: the guitar is hardly heard as the vocals, when the rythm section is very proeminent...

But, in my opinion, it stays a very good prog album.

Usandthem | 4/5 |


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