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3 stars This album is more varried,more melodic than their first,but not better.Here they're using some more synthesisers and music is more baroque...more to the real symphonic rock direction.The song 'Laocksetal' is an exception and musically an annex on their better first album.Strange synthesiser effects are storming over the dark fripperian guitarplay.However still a good and recommended album for the Crimson fans.
Report this review (#26524)
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Steve Hegede
4 stars I have never made up my mind whether "Ile De Fievre" was a great album, or not. It does have one of the greatest prog songs ever written also entitled "Ile De Fievre". But, after this monster, the album never quite recovers. Sure, "Ile De Fievre" is worth $16, but it definitely goes by too quickly with its inspired playing influenced by GENTLE GIANT and KING CRIMSON. The rest of the album is okay; In fact, most bands would love to have this material. But, compared to "Ile De Fievre", the rest of the album is no match. Maybe the band should have put their monster composition as the last song, rather than the first, so the album would build-up to an incredible climax. You have been warned! :)
Report this review (#26525)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars In the vein of KING CRIMSON and MINIMUM VITAl, this is the best reference for the art rock and fusion progressive bands in France.

Highly recommended for the lovers of the best complex style by KING CRIMSON, even though their music is characterized also by other interesting elements!!

Report this review (#26526)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Ile de Fievre' is Shylock's second effort, definitely their top achievement, and also one of the most important prog inputs to come out of France. Now as a quartet (they've got a specific bass player in), Shylock manages to recycle its crimsonian inheritance by adopting a stronger approach to their symphonic sound: you can also notice some clear influences from 76-77 Genesis and Rain Dances-era Camel, as well as some discrete leaning toward avantgarde ambiences a-la RIO. In comparison to their debut album, the musicianship is tighter and more confident - guitar and keyboard solos and interplays are refined, Fisichella's drumming is tight and his employment of various percussive devices is inventive, new bassist Serge Summa's work is solid. The compositions are also brilliant when it comes to the album's highlights. The opening title track displays a colourful combination and ensamblage of diverse musical ideas, intertwined and ultimately reprised with tremendous skill and immaculate fluency. This moster track comprises the signals of the band's main influences with a particular dynamics that reveals Shylock's own prog style. An absolute individual gem, that can only be equalled afterwards by 'Laocksetal', the most aggresive number in the album: starting with a series of guitar-driven riffs, momentarily intersected by a rough martial section, it ends with a disturbing, almost nightmarish synth "festival" exhibited upon layers of mellotron and a cacophonic sequenece of guitar, bass and wood blocks. In the middle of these two highlights, the remaining tracks may not seem so impressive at first listen, but they have grown on me as to make me consider thsi album as a coherent catalogue (opposite to many reviewers). Indeed, they're quite good pieces: the mysteirous beauty of the mellotron solo 'Choral' and the Weather report-esque vibe of 'Himogène' are really well accomplished - the latter includes some occasional dissonanace a-la GG. The final bonus track is a nice jazz-oriented piece, with a firm melodic motif that gets constantly reinstated without getting boring: in some ways it reminds me of "Rain Dances"-era Camel. Taken from a demo recording, this bonus should not have been placed at the end of the CD, since it cuts down the sinister climax achieved by 'Laocksetal'. By the way, the preceding track sets an ethereal disturbing preparation for the explosion of 'Laocksetal': 'Lierre d'ajour d'hui' displays a 2-minute landscape of mystery, like a breeze of impending doom appearing from the deep end of a forest in the evening. 'Le Sang des Capucines' is a jazz-rock oriented jam that portrays a deceving appearance of incompleteness, but beyond the surface you can appreciate a dynamic elaboration of the basic motif in a well-sustained crescendo that only stirs things up in a very sybtle fashion. It is as if the band had left room for "unfinished" development in order to work more profoundly in their own performing finesse. Overall balance: 'Ile de Fievre' is a must in any good prog collection, since it's a classic masterpiece of the genre during the late 70s.
Report this review (#26527)
Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Without the first track, I would rate this stuff as an average or perhaps a poor album. Just the opening track -IMHO- justifies the purchase because the rest, except brief moments ("Choral" i.e.), is a chain of dissonant and dark notes, extremely complex and strange, a sort of an agressive and even noisy KING CRIMSON meeting heavy fusion bands.

But returning to the main homonymous theme, I must say that it was and it will be -for me- one of the most representative tracks in the whole progressive rock history, beside some GENESIS and YES terrific songs. These 13 minutes can summarize what prog rock means: Energy, beauty, surprise, majestic, and all magnificent adjectives you can imagine. After hear it, I didn't feel myself disappointed despite I didn't like the remaining pieces. So, my humble advice is this: If you think that just a real (I mean REAL) gem lost in a strange stuff deserves to be in your collection, acquire the album, listen to "Ile de Fievre" (the track) and forget the rest.

Report this review (#26528)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Shylock's second (and last) album was recorded under much better conditions, they had a major label which allowed them to record in Switzerland's better studios, but the least we can say is that this investment did not pay off for the label as it sold less than their debut album. His is really too bad, because on the whole, this second album is an altogether more interesting work than Gialorgue.

Starting off with the epic title track, Shylock lunges again in the Genesis realm and if not for some good drumming, the track would remain mostly a derivative piece of music. The next track is quite interesting really; Sang Des Capucines is delving into the more improvised Wetton-era Crimson (somewhere between Easy Money and Fracture) and might just be the album's highlight. The short Choral is a bit meaningless (if a bit pompous) but could've served to another track, but not to Himogene, which again bows its Crimson face to Jamie Muir's type of percussions and funky jazz bass lines to Mahavishnu Orchestra (the guitar sounding more like John Mc than Hackett, now). Lierre D'Aujourd'hui is more proof that Crimson spirit not only lived in Shylock, but also through them managed to infect Xaal and Nebelnest after them. The closing epic, Laocksetal is a rather difficult piece ending rather abruptly and leaving the listener wondering where to go next.

Again like on the previous album, Musea (whom has reissued them in Cd format quite a while ago) has added a bonus track, which does not change much to the album's progress, but is also of limited interest.

Like most young groups in the late 70's, they were a bit victim of the punk wave, but also of the public growing tiresome of albums like these which brought little new (although there were worthy almost-inventions), and were not easily accessible (the lack of vocals did not help either), so after trying to modify their sound to be more successful, Shylock had the good taste of not insisting much more and disbanded. Their two albums, while not essential, are both worthy of the symphonic progheads' collection, even if this second album is much more advanced than its predecessor.

Report this review (#26529)
Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Shylock's album starts with a stunningly beautiful tune that will blow your mind! This song has some of the most sophistacted and psychedelic lines that I have heard! In addition, I'd like to say that this tune is just so unique that I cannot compare it any other band! However, the other songs in this album aren't so good like the first song, but they aren't crappy, actually, I find those songs very listenable. In a nutshell, I certainly recommend that you get this cd, play it on your stereo and rock on! Dan
Report this review (#26530)
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Shylock was French prog jazzrock band compared sometimes with King Crimson, Camel etc... In my oppinion nothing very special or personal here but... the highlight is without doubt of course the title track Ile De Fiévre, monumental and energetically played composition. The rest are not bad to listen but only pale shadows of the beginner of the record.
Report this review (#60372)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
1 stars Given my distaste for the histrionics of many French symphonic progressive vocalists, one might expect that an instrumental album from that country might have a better chance to score with me. To boot, Shylock does not go for overly flamboyant instrumentation or dramatics in the arrangements. The flipside to the coin is that I am not a big fan of instrumental prog either. Cutting my teeth on mid 1970s FM rock radio, music without vocals was largely left to the jazz or classical kingdoms, unless you were doing something quite exceptional like Mike Oldfield or Rick Wakeman. To this day, I consider wholly instrumental prog, as a rule, to be the product of laziness, in composition, arrangement, band recruitment, vocal talent, and concept. It's an excuse to eschew the whole premise of a song, and therefore the whole rock idiom by and large. Of course there are exceptions, but Shylock is in no way one of them. I cannot grasp anything in here - it's just shapeless symphonic music, perhaps improvised but it matters not, because synergy does not seem to be a strong suit for Shylock, to add to their many shortcomings. Sure I hear some Frippisms but so what? King Crimson knew how to please die-hards and wannabes alike, at least some of the time. A miserly album that isn't worth a pound of anything.
Report this review (#156478)
Posted Monday, December 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars If Italian progressive rock had slumped by the end of the 1970s, the French were definitely doing their part at the tail end of the decade. Shylock were similair to Italian bands in that they only left behind two albums worth of material, but they definitely did their part in saying a lot with a little.

This all-instrumental album is most likely classified as symphonic, as it carries many of the dark overtones of compatriots Arachnoid and Pulsar, but Shylock also feature a strong fusion angle, especially through the guitar.

In addition to the sharp guitar attack, another "fusiony" edge comes through in the jagged rhythms, which points in small part to Zappa early 70s work and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Another comparison would be Italy's Arti e Mestieri, although not nearly as melodic in their songwriting. The track "Himogene" also reminds me of the funkier, looser side of Goblin. The keyboards have the dark, brooding quality which fans of French prog would consider a staple. They have a rich, analog depth that sets a great stage for the rest of the band.

Report this review (#246545)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is SHYLOCK's second and final album. For me this is a definite upgrade over the debut, and they've added a bass player making them a four piece band. This is one of those albums that excites me just thinking about it. The drum work is incredible and the guitar is often Fripp-like and always impressive. I also like the synth and mellotron work. This is a classic.

"Ile De Fievre" is the longest track at 13 minutes and a song that many claim to be one of the best tracks ever recorded. It's that good. Light synths to open before it kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes with guitar and drums. Incredible sound ! This is contrasted for a while with the organ section that follows until 3 minutes in when the tempo picks up and drums and synths lead. It then settles with relaxed guitar after 7 minutes then kicks back in before 8 minutes with mellotron and guitar. Nice bass and drumming here too. Mini-Moog before 11 minutes as bass joins in.

"Le Sang Des Capucines" opens with sounds coming and going. No real melody until the guitar offers that around a minute in. It kicks in before 2 1/2 minutes. Love the drumming as it builds. "Choral" is a short mellotron dominated track. "Himogene" opens with a really good bass / drum display. It eventually turns funky with guitar. Great sound. "Lierre D'aujourd'hui" is dark and haunting with some incredible drumming. "Laocksetal" settles a minute in. Check out the drums and especially the guitar that follows. It kicks in after 3 1/2 minutes. Nice. Bass a minute later. It settles again this time with percussion after 6 1/2 minutes. Mellotron rolls in. Synths come in and they get noisy late. Piano, bass and drums stand out early on "Le Dernier". Guitar joins in. It settles 3 minutes in then starts to build. It settles again after 6 1/2 minutes in then builds again. Great sound.

I highly recommend this classic from France. A solid 4 stars.

Report this review (#259275)
Posted Monday, January 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As with their first album, I like it and also as with the first album, I don't exactly know what I like about it. Maybe that's this ubiquitous feeling that surrounds Anekdoten, King Crimson and others. You know that it's something special, yet it's undefinable (like this Monolith in 2001 Space Odyssey), like somehow beyond this dimension (or you can say divine, if you believe). And as you can guess, I don't agree with Ken Levine's opinion, because not only this is one of these groups where it works (Ile de fievre starting in classical mood, then turning into symphonic solo and then both. Yes, in some way of understanding, everything here is solo, as this is one of these "more" prog bands, leaving conventional structures and patterns behind completely, in the end of the song, we can hear somewhat a climax, that results in general into fine, epic track). It is by a long way good album and shouldn't be missed, if you want to enjoy good, instrumental symphonic Prog).

4(-), little bit worse than its predecessor

Report this review (#267556)
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars SHYLOCK "Ile of Fèvre" is a singular disk, because it mixes the progressive symphonic with a great jazz-rock dose and some quite experimental passages. Also presents several influences of bands with musical concepts many antagonistic styles, among the ones which King Crinsom (that is represented in the guitar passages and some very characteristic rhythms) Gentle Giant (for certain passages where there is a great prominence for the percussion, the case of the track 4 "Himogene") the already mentioned Jazz Rock in the vein of Return to Forever, as in the track 6 "Laocksetal", Symphonic Prog of Emerson Lake & Palmer as in the track 1 "Ile de fièvre." Due to this there is no monotony and in certain moments it doesn't seem to be the same band in all of the strips. è without trace of doubt a disk that deserve figurest in any collection of Progressive Rock! My rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#287346)
Posted Saturday, June 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second album by Shylock brings a bit more mature record but without major changes in the sound and with equal appetite to experiment. You must get this album for the sake of the first track which is a gorgeous 13-minute piece and the best work created by Shylock. So many ideas, motives, artistic quality packed, there aren't more than 30 seconds with one static motive. That is the cornerstone of the record and will let you out of breath for a couple of minutes after the finish. The keyboardist and drummer are the main entertainers here seconded by a tasty King Crimson-like guitar player. Keyboards are not the most original one but very well absorbed from King Crimson, Pulsar (mellotron) and Genesis (synths, piano). The chords are sometimes very solemn - they represent this masterpiece very well. The drummer holds very well on his own - I can't compare his manners to any other band, he is quite distinctive.

The rest of the tracks is more experimental, less fluid and arguably of a lesser quality. "Le sang des capucines" reminds of the 1973 King Crimson - the guitar is fantastic and raw. It sounds like a power trio (no keyboards). The keyboard player compensates with lush and symphonic "Choral". "Himogène" is a grooving jazz-rock number, well played but a mediocre composition. "Laocksetal" is a dynamic workout for all players, pretty dark and experimental with melody. Percussions and mellotron are as close as it get to King Crimson. The long composition is fine but stretches for a bit too long. I actually prefer the more accessible melancholic "Le dernier" with melodic guitar and electric piano although the sound quality is as if coming from a demo session. My preference may be based on the fact that similar to the first track, we can hear echoes of Genesis (75-77).

Well, the first track is a 5-star quality and the other ones alternate between 3 to 4 stars so I give it 4 stars in the end. Shylock is a unique spot among my CDs as no other band sounds this way.

Report this review (#2447857)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars I always regretted that Shylock preferred, in their second effort, to name the pieces rather than number them. I loved this stripping shrouded in mystery which contributed to the strangeness of their music. That said, "Île de Fièvre" is my favorite track from the band. It is a frenzied composition of incredible richness. The tempo changes are frequent, the intricacies complex and very successful. With its final repetitive sequence embellished with percussions and sound effects, "Locksetal" offers us a return to the style of the first album (a nod to King Crimson's Devil's Triangle). "Choral" is a little mellotron interlude taken from an initial material that we will never know. The rest of the tracks seem to come straight from King Crimson's "Starles & Bible Black" album! They were recorded in the same state of mind, in jam session and present experimental music tinged with jazz-rock. The reissue of Muséa (1996) includes a bonus-track: the last piece composed by the group and recorded in 1979. The music is more accessible but the sound of mediocre quality. That year, after demanding more commercial music, featuring shorter and sung titles, CBS broke the contract with the band. Indeed, if André and Serge thought that Shylock should move towards a lighter and more accessible music mixing funk and jazz-rock, Frédéric and Didier wanted as for them, to remain in a progressive and authentic lineage. Note, a reformation in 2012 (after 33 years of silence) for a concert tour and the recording of a best of in 2014.

"Île de Fièvre" is a great addition to any progressive rock collection.

Report this review (#2476684)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Like many a band that came too late to the prog party to find any financial incentives to stick around beyond an album or two, the French SHYLOCK was like hundreds of similarly minded bands who were inspired by the explosive progressive rock scene of the early 1970s only to find that by the time they joined the club the doors were closing. SHYLOCK emerged from the Nice area of France and on its debut which came out in 1977 conjured up a unique mix of classically infused symphonic prog with the darker and more dissonant guitar antics of Robert Fripp in King Crimson. The album may not have lit the world on fire but provided a fascination with those in the underground and the album would eventually provide the primary influence for bands like Anglagard and similarly minded band in the 90s revival of prog.

SHYLOCK followed up its debut the following year in 1978. ÎLE DE FIÈVRE or "Fever Island" sounded like a totally different band in many ways. On "Gialorgues" the darkened hypnotic grooves in the context of symphonic prog were fortified with avant-prog experimentalism but for this sophomore offering, SHYLOCK traded in the Rock In Opposition sensibilities for jazz-fusion. The trio of André Fisichella (drums, percussion), Frédéric l'Épée (guitars, bass) and Didier Lustig (keyboards) had expanded to include a fourth member, bassist Serge Summa and unlike the debut album which featured two lengthy tracks and a shorter intermission sandwiched in between, ÎLE DE FIÈVRE featured six shorter tracks that eschewed the ethereal trippiness of the debut and instead engaged in technical guitar and bass led jazz-fusion attacks. Two track still raced past the 10-minute mark.

In all honesty SHYLOCK was a band of serious substance that had the chops to tackle various styles of technically demanding music and had they hit the scene about seven years earlier very well could be one of the bigwigs of early prog given the talent and ingenuity of the compositions that are displayed on the band's sole two album run. This album still finds plenty of Crimsonian inspiration strewn throughout its run however the fast tempos of the symphonic prog demeanor have been completely fortified with a style of feisty fast tempo jazz-fusion in the vein of Mahavishnu Orchestra or bands that feature John Abercrombie as guitarist. The jazz aspects are by far the most dominant sounds heard on ÎLE DE FIÈVRE and although this may have proven to be too much of a musical departure that sealed the fate for SHYLOCK during its run, from a modern point of view this album is equally as enthralling as the debut even if not as experimental in nature.

What makes SHYLOCK stand out amongst the crowded golden years of 1970s prog is that not only were these musicians technically adept but they had the songwriting prowess to connect on a deeper emotional level which is the winning combo effect reserved for only the big boys of the early prog scene. For the most part ÎLE DE FIÈVRE sticks to the same formula, that being guitar and bass led jazz-fusion but the keyboards have not been tamped down at all. They just adapt to the new stylistic approach and offer the proper contrapuntal moments of contrast. The ostinato bass grooves from the debut are retained which provides the only commonality between the two albums. This one like the debut is 100% instrumental and although complaints of bad production have been made, personally i find the music too compelling to care. The sound is not that bad!

The stand out of the album meaning the track that is most easily distinguishable from the rest is the short "Choral" which features a synthesized choral affect along with beautiful harmonic vocals. The remainder of the album takes a journey through the vast world of guitar and bass jazz-fusion reminding me a bit of the more energetic bands of the 1970s Quebec scene. On a personal level i much prefer the dark and experimental approach presented on the debut album "Gialorgues" but as a jazz-fusion freak i cannot deny how beautifully constructed this sophomore release is! New releases feature the bonus track "Le Dernier" which fits in perfectly with the band's overall thematic approach. Another excellent album from SHYLOCK. It's really too bad this band didn't make it for more than five years when they disbanded in 1979. Frédéric L'Épée would continue with band like Yang and Philharmonie.

Report this review (#2756972)
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2022 | Review Permalink

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