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Hecenia - La Couleur Du Feu CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.28 | 34 ratings

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Paul Stump
4 stars A bit of a disappointment after "Légendes" (what isn't?) although at least it's blessed with better cover art (what isn't?). The template is similar, but the overwhelming comin'-atcha intensity of the debut pales a little here, despite the introduction of a very effective live drummer. There's too much concentration on those twiddly Emersonian triplets for comfort, notably on the shapeless, overlong 24-minute Jardins Ethernels which, I am afraid to say, just goes on and on and on and on. But there's lots to enjoy - it's head and shoulders above the likes of almost all other Musea 90s stuff, and what really stamps it as a class act is the INSPIRED use - no other term will do - of Delphine Douillard's delightful harp. I can't think of another rock album on which this wonderful instrument is so tastefully deployed - barring Andreas Vollenweider's output, natch. It lends a dreamy, nostalgic flavour and gives the textures their own peculiar hue which I've yet to hear anywhere else. H20 is a pretty good classical-rock workout, but the interpolation of fluttery little mini-solos, written and performed with expertise and feeling, between blasting pipe organ broadsides turns a fine track into a real winner. But Douillard's finest moment is her rendering of the closing minutes of the suite so wistful and meltingly delicate it almost redeems the superfluous sound and fury of the rest (there's an almost direct quote from the "Légendes" opener at one point- yawn). Given the preponderance of synths and those Vollenweiderisms, it's tempting to file this under Electronic Progressive but the symphomaniacs might have something to say about that. So OK, symphonic it is. But there'll be no complaints from them when they get round to hearing this flawed but ultimately very rewarding collection.
Paul Stump | 4/5 |


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