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Ange - Le Cimetière Des Arlequins CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.52 | 188 ratings

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4 stars One of France's three main progressive rock outfits alongside Christian Vander's zeuhl exponents Magma and the Pink Floyd-styled Pulsar, Ange have enjoyed a long and varied career sinde starting up at the beginning of the 1970's, enjoying both national and international commercial success. Unusually for a French-speaking rock group, Ange regularly toured outside of their homeland during their peak years, visiting Germany, Belgium, Scandanavia and Britain on numerous occasions during the 1970's; as a result the name Ange is now synonymous with French progressive music, the group often rather lazily compared with Genesis thanks to their keyboard-heavy sound. One of the group's 'classic' releases alongside 1974's follow-up 'Au Dela Du Delire' and the mellotron- drenched 'Guet-apens' from 1978, 'Le Cimetiere Des Arlequins' was the album that truly broke Ange, introducing them to a wider audience thanks to a deal brokered with the French arm of Phillips and the album's distinct and jaunty musical flavour. Crucially, it would prove to be a remarkable improvement after the group's interesting yet underwhelming debut 'Caricatures', whilst also showcasing the five individual musicians rapidly- growing instrumental chops, with the incessant Gallic chatter of lead-vocalist Christian Decamps now underpinned by some intricate technical displays and richly-drawn melodies. Like many of the better progressive rock albums, this is best listened to from beginning-to-end, though individual tracks do stand-out, such as the forceful opener 'Ces Gens La', which features both Ange's trademark keyboard stabs and Descamps eccentric vocal style, and the haunting, almost gothic strains of follow-up 'Aujourd'hui C'est La Fete Chez L'apprenti Sorcier', which drifts effortlessly from ominous symphonic rock into serene acoustica rather beautifully. Elsewhere, the bouncy 'Bivouac' exhibits the group's more playful side, whilst the album's lengthiest piece, the eight-minute title-track, closes the album in suitably grand fashion. Like much European progressive rock there is an arty and complex edge to Ange's music, though the pompous seriousness that can blight such material is thankfully absent here, Ange very much a group with a sense of humour that is apparent even to those who don't fully understand the French language. A fine album, 'Le Cimetiere Des Arlequins' isn't quite as impressive as follow-up 'Au Dela Du Delire', yet there is still much here that should please fans of both symphonic and European progressive rock. Inventive, eccentric and occasionally wildly adventurous, this is one of Ange's genuinely essential records. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 4/5 |


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