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La Tulipe Noire - Shattered Image  CD (album) cover


La Tulipe Noire


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The Founder of
4 stars Over an hour of music, "Shattered Image" is a concept record with great female vocals. If you like MARILLION (specially FISH-era) and GENESIS with GABRIEL, go and buy it you won't regret. A strange FLOWER (band), but five stars will be too much.
Report this review (#10868)
Posted Saturday, January 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Shattered Image" are a concept album about a man who looks back on the things in his life that has lead him to finally considering suicide. Apart from the female vocals this album could've been a MARILLION "Script For A Jester's Tear" Part II. Greece band La TULIPE NOIRE may not be as good musicians as MARILLION, but they have produced a album with very good melodies that reminds very much of MARILLION's debut album. Even their logotype reminds a lot of the first MARILLION logo. The MARILLION influences are the most obvious, but there's also reminiscences to ARENA, GENESIS, IQ and PENDRAGON with complex arrangements and lengthy instrumental passages. If this album had been released eighteen years ago, La TULIPE NOIRE could've been one of the forefathers of neo-progressive rock, but now they're dangerously close to being a clone. But then again, MARILLION was also accused for being a GENESIS clone back then. This is after all a nice album that is very good performed. But I hope that they will try to get a more personal style before the next release, because it's quite obvious that this band has all the potentials to make a real masterpiece if they could only get rid of the main part of their MARILLION influences. Recommended if you've longed for MARILLION to release a new "Script for A Jester's Tear" sounding album.
Report this review (#10869)
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Now get your pens and paper out kids and write this one down as it is a real keeper for sure. 6 piece Greek prog band who take neo - prog into a direction you won't believe. What is immediately recognizable is their compassion to the magic of MARILLION and IQ, without sounding too cliché'ish or "tribute'ish" and in no way from my view are another one of those "MARILLION rip off neo prog acts". For me the first striking element was the distinct vocal talents of lead singer simply called Ima who convincingly sings in english with a lovely voice. La TULIPE NOIRE musicianship in support is also very solid with dual guitars and keyboards very reminiscent of IQ's Martin ORFORD, early MARILLION's Mark Kelly and certainly Clive NOLAN. For those who do not really like neo-prog then I would recommend you stay away from this beast otherwise for the rest of you then I would put this into the essential category for new neo prog talents.

Report this review (#10870)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I would agree this band sounds like Marillion (Fish-era) and IQ. Unfortunately, the production and vocals leave a lot to be desired. Maybe I'm a bit more harsh but I don't like the 80's electronic drums and the tinny sound of this album. Perhaps in the hands of a good mixing engineer and good drummer, this album might be worth it.
Report this review (#10872)
Posted Monday, August 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
3 stars The threshold to the new millennium beheld what was supposedly going to be one of the most revealing albums from one of the most representative newly born bands over the Mediterranean area. Without sounding outrageously relentless to your prog expectations or very evolutional on its argumentation, "Shattered Image" is certainly one of those albums that get to be absorbed by few musical fibers in your body only, letting the rest of your senses devour the whole concept.

Evidentially, this second production by the Greek band, was crafted upon the character once created by Derek DICK to be included on "Clutching at Straws" under the name of "Torch". As the irreplaceable lyricist from Edinburgh explained over the retrospective interview he agreed on to compile the reminiscences of the MARILLION he once was in charge, "the character (from "Clutching.") was named Torch and he was the novelist trying to create the follow up to a successful book and losing himself in the world of drink and drugs". "Shatter Image" is all that. The story of a young man living in a big city, somewhere in Europe. It was the story of his life, his problems and his hopes. And well, the front cover sort of gives away the whole idea pretty much. the peculiar scribbling reading LA TULIPE NOIRE which resembles the pictorial FISH era, the man in the raincoat, the pallidity and characteristic vivid images. Very Mark WILKINSON. So MARILLION.

And more than plagiarism, I think of this piece of work as a tribute to the "prog nouveau" (as FISH referred to the genre provocatively), band that lasted until 1989. The rest, I respectfully leave to the depths of history. Thus, "Shattered Image" is divided as proper, as the ancient Greek tragicomedies would suggestively lead, in three instrumental and sequential acts. Opening act, "A Glimpse On The Mirror"; climax, "Black Star Rising" and ending, "Looking At The Sunrise". The theatrical concept, as I just tried to explain to you vaguely, is pursued by the parallelism sustained on this young man's story. The endless inner search from within and the constant fight. Which is merely, the message of this concept album, the so cliché statement of "never give up". The lyrics to this production, are mainly condensed on a practical, circular thematic. Not forcefully elaborated, quite digestible and beautifully interpreted by the operatic voice of Ima. Strangely how, and leaving the ordinary aside, the female vocals are suitable for the full accompaniment along the simplicities the instruments propose for complete understanding and appreciation of the album.

Arguably, "The Haze" is the track that sets off the whole album, but there is so much more to be rescued from the entire running time, where pieces like "Shattered Ego" and "Through the Snake's Eyes", would filtrate the emotiveness and passion, keyboardist and songwriter Alix has between hands. Well-executed piano preludes will always dazzle anyone, and this album has got those and more, since I believe Mark KELLY and Martin ORFORD themselves would be surprised. So, before crossing out LA TULIPE NOIRE from your list due the "Marillion-ish" yet "IQ-ish" resemblances fiercely exposed here, try guiding those supposed drawbacks to the path of cohesion and deserved understanding this albums claims for. The reason I'm giving it three starts only, is sustained on the fact of me leaving the rest to you out there. Be the judges and decide whether "Shattered Image" has to go back where the meaningless rates gather or further on to the limits of glorious five starts. I widely recommend you get hands on this, you won't regret acting fearless to change and to satisfactory, fulfilling experiences.

Report this review (#10873)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars.

La Tulipe Noire's Shattered Image is one of the few albums directly derivative of 80s era Marillion. I'm sure more reviewers think otherwise, but I tend to see most lesser- known Neo bands that I've discovered give just a passing reference to Marillion. On Shattered Image, La Tulipe Noire take it a bit too far. Luckily, these influences are toned down and distilled a lot of the time, and you can often get so caught up in the music that the influences don't make much of a difference at all.

But sometimes, if you have a really good ear and memory, you can spot the moments where, either on purpose or by coincidence, the band almost lifts the music directly off of a Marillion album. Early on in the album ("Shattered Ego") is almost a direct rip- off of "Script for a Jester's Tear." They include a soft intro, which I admit is nothing like "Script" music-wise, but it gets worse. There is the louder instrumental component midway through the song which sounds NEARLY EXACTLY like the "So here I am once more..." section in rhythm and similar in vocal melody. Then, just to put the cherry on top of the sundae, the song ends with a slower tempo conclusion with the same setup as "Script": A distorted guitar hammers out whole notes in what I believe is the exact same chord progression, another guitar solos at times, a vocal melody carries the song away as it fades out. This is probably the biggest rip- off I've ever heard in prog music. I liked this song a lot initially, but that was only because I've heard it so many times before on Marillion's debut.

I just have one more incredibly annoying bit of plagiarism to display in this review. I guess the band decided not to spread thin their tribute to the Neo Progressive godfathers amongst Shattered Image, because in the very next song ("In the Gardens of Eden") they lift the music and beat from the third or so verse of "Jigsaw," complete with tambourine flourish. It may not be exactly the same, but it was close enough for me to notice it and become angry. This is slightly less annoying that the previous instance if only because it doesn't last for nearly as long. These were the only direct lifts that I can see at the moment, but I think I've made my point: this music is NOT very original, regardless of whether or not it is lifted from another band.

There are some good points to Shattered Image, however. It becomes apparent within the first few minutes that the real draw on the album is the absolutely beautiful vocals. One of the few bands, Neo or not, to utilize female vocals, La Tulipe Noir add an entire new dimension to the music. The production of Shattered Image does not do the vocal work justice, but they rival the fantastic female vocals on Glass Hammer's new album all the same.

If I were to rate Shattered Image on the music alone, disregarding my opinion that the music sounds little more than plagiarism at times, I'd offer it 3 stars. But seeing that this is not truly my belief, I feel it necessary to take it down a notch. I also wonder whether or not Shattered Image is supposed to be a direct homage to Marillion, for the band's logo is in the exact same font as that of the Marillion albums up until Season's End. Nevertheless, this side of the band does not impress me at all.Be sure that this is not a shining moment in Neo Progressive rock, but if you're a fan of Fish-era Marillion, Shattered Image and La Tulip Noire could be a wise investment. Just be warned: you may be hearing the same songs over again.

Edit August 13, 2006: I believe my overall demeanor regarding this album has softened considerably during this half year. I'm not nearly as bothered by the Marillion influences on Shattered Image now, but they can still be heard if you wish to concentrate on such things. I now appreciate the music for what it is: not superb, but definitely enjoyable and rather atmospheric but with a strong focus on songwriting. And indeed, the album holds to some degree a sentimental value for inexplicable reasons, so I gladly raise it the equivalent of a star to 3.5/5.

Report this review (#70772)
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is definetely a 3-star album,but I love it very much.So,4 stars will do I guess.

This is MARILLION clone with female vocals.Poorly produced and recorded,yet it has a very sincere ATMOSPHERE - this is really a Fish's MARILLION re-incarnation!!! Even some gothic music lsteners (my friends,for instance) enjoy this CD - it's dark,moody and very romantic. Epics are well-written and evoking sometims ARENA or early IQ style.The closing song "Scent of Spring" is the best "spring"-song I ever heard - it's really brings the springtime feeling every time I listen to it!!! It's so touching and sincere!!!

Highly recommended album for all MARILLION/neo-prog devotees.You may not be impressed by the album's quality,but you'll love it as a piece of awesome music,believe me

Report this review (#80021)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars MARILLION clone or not… I think it doesn’t matter. There is not so many songs in this world that make me cry… This CD is full of deep emotions, and only real listeners could hear the atmosphere of “Shattered Image”. The transparent aura hovers under the music of LA TULIPE NOIR, the native wind of eternity blows with the sounds of this infinity dark flower… This is something tender and frail… And so cloth to death… “In this world we are nothing, we're so small…” Are we? Of course. Listen to this CD and you will understand how you can approach to death so close that you’ll be able to touch it, but you will remain alive. Dissolve in this shattered mirror and you will die and than reborn again…
Report this review (#84706)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Excellent second efford by this interesting neo prog band from Greece - and a huge step forward from their first. Their music is very much influenced by early Marillion, Arena and IQ, but they also have a very greek folk flavor in their sound as well. New singer Ima has a very particular voice that is soft and strong at the same time. She gave the band a kind of personality that was missing from their debut CD.

This is a concept album about a man looking at the facts of his past life and facing the possibility of suicide. All the tracks are linked with this story line. La Tulipe Noire has an interesting and unique approach to prog, less bombastic and more minimalistic and circular than most bands. What initially seems to be simplistic and sparse, is really very well crafted and melodic. It takes some time to sink in like most great prog albums do. But if you listen carefully to the small details youll find a great tapestry of sounds. The guitars/keys/bass/drums interplay is very interesting, but the keyboards brief solos are the most outstanding and rewarding pieces here. Very effective.

The songs themselves are all good. The second track, Shattered Ego, may sound too Marillion-like for some (even the drum patterns seems to be lift directly from Script From A Jester´s Tear). But it is the only one. The rest is quite unique, very convincing and powerful. The ten minute epic The Haze is probably one of the highlights, but I like to hear this CD as a whole. Production is ok. The cover seems to be a Mark Wilkinson rip off, but it surely works well considering their influences and style.

One of the nicest surprises I found on PA. Highly recommended, especially for 80´s neo prog fans. 4,5 stars.

Report this review (#194374)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ok, initially I wanted to do my usual song by song review for this album but after having listened to it one more time I decided against it. And the reason is that the songs on the album are too much of the same, at least most of them.

In fact there are only 4 songs out of eleven that are out of the more or less common Tulip Noire style. And this style is vocal songs of appr. 6-7 minutes average with some instrumental contribution in the middle section of the songs. So then a song by song review would become repititive and boring. All these seven songs are rated somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars by me. Meaning all songs are good but nothing excellent with these.

Three other songs are instrumentals, all named Images which refer to the album title no doubt. These instrumental tunes are all very nice, one general, one with mainly keys and one with dominant guitar. Also these have an average of about 3,25*.

This means the rating for this album is settled and will indeed be three stars for me. But I cannot forget about one extremely honourable mentioning here: the only track of masterpiece status and if I'm not mistaking the only one in their carreer of this huge level: The Haze. In know this song for almost 5 years now thanks to PA's stream. I fell in love with it immediately and love it still to the bone. Especiallly the mindblowing second half of the song makes me go into raptures every time I hear it. What the level of greatness is ? Well, to me it can compete with Big Puzzle's (TFK) instrumental part same as with Cinema Show and Firth of Fifth. Yes, indeed: it's that fantastic ! So everyone that hasn't heard it yet: go have a listen to PA's stream song !

Anyway, however magnificent it is, it's not enough to raise the rating. And I'm also a bit frustrated that if a band has the potential to create something this wonderful, why can they only do this once ? I challenge them to do it more often. However, three stars for Shattered Image.

Report this review (#220875)
Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars LA TULIPE NOIR are a Neo-Prog band out of Greece. This is a lyrically heavy concept album so thankfully I really like the female vocals. I have to agree with Prog-jester who says that this is probably a 3 star album but he has to give it 4 stars. Me too. I'm a sucker for this genre and a good melody, especially if there is an emotional element to the music like there is here. This album has gotten some bad reviews around the "net" for being too MARILLION-like but she sounds nothing like Fish (haha) and I for one really enjoy this record.

"Image I (A Glimpse On The Mirror)" is the opening instrumental. The album opens and closes with short instrumentals. Keyboards and atmosphere to start as it builds. Drums and guitar suddenly take over before 2 1/2 minutes. Synths join in as well. "Shattered Ego" opens with atmosphere as vocals and piano arrive. Drums after a minute. Some intensity around 2 minutes. It settles back then the tempo picks up. It settles again after 4 1/2 minutes before it turns heavier a minute later with guitar. "In The Gardens Of Eden" is pastoral with reserved vocals to start. It's fuller before 1 1/2 minutes with passionate vocals. It settles again as contrasts continue. "A November's Night" opens with the sound of the wind blowing as keys then vocals arrive.The sound gets fuller. Some nice guitar 2 1/2 minutes in when the vocals stop. Vocals return as it settles back. It picks up and blends into "Image II (Black Star Rising)" which is a short instrumental. Synths join in before a minute.

"Through The Snake's Eyes" is uptempo with keyboards and drums. Vocals before a minute and guitar to follow. Spoken words before 4 minutes then the guitar comes in soloing. Vocals are back a minute later. Piano ends it. "Empty Streets" opens with keyboards and atmosphere as a beat joins in. Vocals follow. It picks up before 2 minutes as bass and drums become more prominant. Guitar after 2 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop. Synths follow then the vocals return. "Driving In The Rain" features vocals, keyboards and a beat. It picks up some 3 1/2 minutes in. Guitar comes in late to end it. "The Haze" opens with vocals and atmosphere. Some heavy guitar a minute in comes and goes. It kicks in before 2 1/2 minutes. Nice. Themes are repeated. "A Scent Of Spring" is an uplifting track and vocals are the focus. I like the instrumental section that ends after 3 minutes. Some great lyrics on this one. Narration ends it. "Image III (Looking At The Sunrise)" is the closing instrumental that is led by drums, keyboards and guitar.

Lots of atmosphere and great vocals leaves me unable to give lower than 4 stars.

Report this review (#308040)
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Then my first impression of this album was an easy an listening pop rock, a simpler and female version of Marillion Fish era, with catchy melodies, and nice keys arrangements. The Marillion influence is evident, Shattered Ego, is a rip off of "Script for a Jester tear", the intro, the structure of the song and the final coda has the same armonies! There are other songs that remember the Marillion style, "Empty streets" for example remember me a b-side of Marillion, Tux-on, for the drum, the style of guitar and the same armonies, ok fortunately there are diversified arrangement of piano and a stunning keys solo that makes it very pleasant. Their Masterpiece is sure the long track "Haze", where is possible to see this band to shine, the song is very structured with several time changed and beautiful instrumental interlude between guitar and organ, especially in central part of the track. The other song are a bit weak, and in my opinion. Highly recommended album for all MARILLION/neo-prog fans, but just 3 stars.
Report this review (#378126)
Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars You know what you're getting from La Tulipe Noire's Shattered Image when you realise the band's logo here is a shameless rip-off of Fish era Marillion's logo. Sure enough, what we have here is Marillion-imitating neo-prog, and whilst lead vocalist Ima gives a very credible performance in her own unique style the rest of the band are content to try and emulate their heroes. However, between the production values of the album and the rather mediocre compositions, they fall well short of the mark. Go for this one only if you really can't get enough of weak imitations of Fish-era Marillion, or if you are out to research the Greek prog scene.
Report this review (#637553)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars With Shattered image issued in 2000 La Tulipe Noire sounds more solid, the musicianship is more tighter then before, the sound and all is far better then their on previous work, but the influences here are more evident as before, the greek version of Marillion I might say, even the logo of the band is very Marillionesque. So, musicaly speaking this is more then ok, some passages are truly great. The voice of Ima fits perfectly into this neo prog atmosphere, having some spectacular moments on some pieces. The instrumental section aswell great, no complains from me, fine parts who remind me lot of Marillion, Jadis or IQ, not original but good. Best pieces to my ears are Shattered Ego, Through The Snake's Eyes and A Scent Of Spring, the rest are also good. This is solid neo prog album, that might please enough fans of the genre, even originality lacks here I can easy give 4 stars, the guitar and keyboards are really awesome. Fine cover art.
Report this review (#914236)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars The 10 000th tribute to Marillion.

There's nothing wrong with unoriginality, just look at the music market today: it's all re-heated stuff we heard many times over. The same phenomenom is not avoiding the progressive world, La Tulipe Noire is proving it, but they're doing it nicely at least.

I frankly was attracted to this record because of the the nice cover (how shallow of me). The songs are basically Fish-era Marillion but sanged by a girl, a not too convincing one at that. She barely changes key and stay with the same phrasing all the time. Fish was good when you think of it! For those who cannot get enough of that sacred period (and there's a lot), you will like this a ton.The keyboards are my favorite part of the record, they will please the Mark Kelly fan.

A good clone but quickly forgotten in my case.

Report this review (#944995)
Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second official album as La Tulipe Noire finds the Greek band with a few line-up changes.Lead singer Lena has stepped down and a new female singer, Ina, takes her place behind the microphone.Drummer George F. quit also, as he played drums in only two tracks, to leave room for newcomer Nick Kassavetis, while apparently this was also the last contribution of guitarist Yiannis Barkoulas to a La Tulipe Noire work.Chris Tabouratzis offered his guitar texts in a few tracks.Recorded at the Groove Studios in Athens, the album, entitled ''Shattered image'' and dealing with the feeling of hope, was released in 2000 on Musea Records.

This was a tremendous comeback for the Greek band, as the new album finds them extremely mature, inspired and executing every single detail with passion.New singer Ina adds her own touch with her angelic vocals and the composing duo of Hyde and Alix had transformed their potential to reality.La Tulipe Noire played now a grandiose Neo Prog with obvious MARILLION influences and lots of Classical/symphonic tendencies, characterized by emphatic synth soundscapes, poetic lyrics, tight structures and good use of changing tempos, as there are plenty of laid-back melodies supported by more powerful and flashy performances.The band had always a dark, symphonic mood within their structures, but this time the atmosphere eventually makes sense, recalling epic works by MARILLION such as ''Misplaced childhood'' and ''Fugazi''.Kontakis' guitar melodies are extremely beautiful and the female lyricism in the album is an absolute highlight, definitely among the excellent female-fronted albums of the early-00's.The longer tracks with their sinister keyboard parts and the edgy guitar moves come also close to the monumental works by ASGARD: Music full of tension, finesse, haunting moods and poetic underlines.The production is better than on the first albums, but it certainly could get some improvement.

Excellent, dark and lyrical Neo/Symphonic Prog with ethereal female vocals.An absolute must-have for fans of early MARILLION and the likes.Highly recommended.

Report this review (#1153449)
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | Review Permalink

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