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Harmonium - L'Heptade CD (album) cover

L'HEPTADE

Harmonium

 

Symphonic Prog

4.08 | 233 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Zitro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 3.25 stars I actually waited a lot of time to let this grow on me as it seems to be very loved among prog fans.

How disappointing, it did not grow on me anymore. It is disappointing since it is after that album of theirs that I sometimes consider the best prog-related album of all times. This is an ambitious double-album with the use of an orchestra and many other instruments not heard in the previous albums. While it sounds good that the band is finally complete, the songwriting is not as great, and the songs drag on and on, especially in the second disc ...Nevertheless, This is still a very good album with some excellent tracks and an overall nice mood. The problem with it is that it tends to bore sometimes as it may have lack of dynamics in some of the long songs.

Prologue opens the album and show the listeners the new direction of the band: symphonic music. Not much to say about this track, it is just an overture, and not a very good one.

Comme Un Fou is my favourite track here. It is extremely dynamic and tight. It also offers brilliant riffing, gorgeous and some menacing-sounding instrumentation and vocalizations. I love that synthesizer in it (yes, there is a synthesizer now!)

Chanson Noire is a good jazzy tune with orchestra, backing vocals, and a pleasant atmosphere.

L'Appel/La Premier Ciel starts slowly with a seemengly melancholic mood but later turns into an upbeat song at the 3rd minute. The chorus is quite catchy. Then, there is a part that grows and grows to reach a climax which finishes the track nicely with my synthesizers and a big band-like feel.

L'exil is another highlight of the album. This song contains some of the strongest moments of the album and is only flawed by its tendency to drag in a few parts. The melodies are as strong as they were in the previous two albums and the songwriting is almost as good as their masterpiece album (Si On Avait). For example, while it takes a bit for the music to lead to the chorus, that chorus is phenomenal. Sadly, after the 2nd chorus, there is a soft section that I don't really care for. A great upbeat finale continues the song and a bombastic finale finishes it.

Now, to the second disc (much duller)

Le Corridor features a gorgeous female vocalist accompained by simplistic and effective electric organs. The second half is a bit boring though. While minute 4-6 feature nice and haunting mellotron coupled with acoustic guitars, it is a bit repetitive and the last two minutes seem like movie soundtrack music, which I don't really care for.

Les Premières Lumières / Lumières De Vie: This is where I lose the music. It is extremely slow for a very long moment and while the arrangements seem well done, it loses my interest thanks to the lack of dynamics, hooks, and memorable melodies. The piano takes over later in the piece, but it is not as interesting as I hoped it to be. It seems to be there to fill up more time. This whole songs feels like filler to me.

Comme un Sage is a song that is waaaay longer than i should be. While it carries a gorgeous theme, it doesn't have that much besides that theme (The vocalized Comme un Sage line). There are some good moments here and there, but it comes off as just an ok track with a great climax near the end. The theme is used and developed at the end with great vocalists.

Epilogue is just like Prologue, an OK instrumental.

It's a shame that they had to make this a double album, as they could have removed some of the padding in various parts of the album. As a result, this album has similar problems to Tales Of Topographic Oceans from Yes.

Highlights: Comme Un Fou, L'exil

LetDowns: Prologue, Epilogue, Sommeil sans reves, and most of the music in the 2nd disc

Zitro | 3/5 |

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