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Ex-Vagus - Dream Object 5 CD (album) cover



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4 stars Those who are fond of symphonic and vintage Neo-progressive rock both should find this latest effort from French band Ex-Vagus to be a real treat.

Musically residing somewhere in between Genesis, Ange and Camel of old and Fish-era Marillion, this is an album that ooze distinct melodies, carefully crafted symphonic textures as well as lush synth-dominated themes from start till finish.

The synths dominate the proceedings totally, everything else has a more or less subordinate role to the mostly multilayered textures provided by various forms of tangents. And the vocals, delivered in a manner which should be recognizable by most fans of Ange and which can be described as theatrical with semi-operatic qualities, does add a distinct flavour to these compositions. As far as Neo-touches go, these are mostly found in the atmospheric lush passages spread throughout this effort, including some rather delicate harmonic guitar soloing.

For those who think this description sounds tantalizing, this CD will most likely become a treasured item in your collection. A well made effort overall, touching upon the truly brilliant with final track The Clay Spirits.

Report this review (#276756)
Posted Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ex-Vagus is a Swiss five-piece formation rooted in 1996, their musical goal was to blend progressive rock and French vocals. The information about Ex-Vagus mentions : "the band joins together five authors and creators in a permanent creativity, having for 'Leitmotiv' the systematic association of the visual world with the auditive world, from where principal will to dramatize their music". Ex-Vagus concretized this artistic line by creating two rock opera's (Par Dela Les Legendes from 2000 and Seconde Lumière from 2000) calling upon original lights creations, a particular scenography and external actors. Ex-Vagus produced an EP, a demo CD, 3 studio albums, a live CD and was the support-act for progrock bands Ange, Barclay James Harvest, Focus, The Watch and Ars Nova.

Well, I can write the same about their fourth album Dream Object (2009) but there's one big difference: the vocals are in English, pretty good but you can hear the accent. In my opinion the reason to change from French to the English language is a better understanding of the interesting lyrics: about dark subjects like the sea pollution, the corrupted power and the native indian genocide, the band welcomes us on their musical trip. During that trip we can enjoy seven compositions that deliver a lot of tension and compelling atmospheres, topped by inspired vocals that give an extra dimension to the often dramatic music. In fact Ex-Vagus their music sounds as a dark modern rock-opera with many inventive musical ideas and excellent work on keyboards and guitars.

Exciting interplay between a distorted electric guitar and organ in Trash Vortex.

A strong build-up from dreamy with acoustic guitar and soaring keyboards to a compelling climate with tight drums and a powerful guitar solo in Lostaway.

An ominous atmosphere with an aggressive undertone in The Conqueror's Weapons.

From mellow to a slow rhythm with a fiery guitar solo and slow synthesizer runs in Some Fallen Dust.

Great dynamics and a sensational break with heavy guitar riffs and exciting sumptuous keyboards in Stravinsky's Gondola.

And cascades of shifting moods in the very dramatic and cynical One Upon A Dime.

The long final composition is in the great tradition of the epic early Marillion songs featuring a lot of tension between the dreamy and bombastic parts, moving electric guitar, lush keyboards and dramatic vocals and a compelling conclusion delivering emotional vocals and howling guitar runs, goose bumps!

I conclude that this second Ex-Vagus is superior to their previous efforts, but you have to be up to the very special, slightly theatrical vocals (with an obvious accent).

My rating: 3,5 star.

Report this review (#1939999)
Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2018 | Review Permalink

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