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5 stars HALLOWEEN is a French band that has existed since the beginning of the eighties. We're not talking about the German Heavy Metal band with the similar name, HELLOWEEN, No! this is something completely different. HALLOWEEN has previously released three studio albums and one live album, and "Le Festin" (the feast) is their fourth studio album. The first thing you'll notice is the artful, creative and original CD-packaging. After a short listening you'll hear that the music is as artful, creative and original as the CD-booklet with its many small paintings. HALLOWEEN's music is dark and complex, and it can be described as a mixture of JEAN PASCAL BOFFO, KANSAS, UK and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, although they doesn't sound like any of these bands. They do however remind a lot of many of the bands on the Cuneiform label. It's a very exciting music and the musicians are highly technical. The violin player Jean-Philippe Brun has a very important role and his violin playing is magnificent, and the singer Géraldine Le Cocq has a very beautiful voice that suits the music perfectly. I know there are some people that don't like vocals that aren't in English, but I have always thought that the bands should sing in their own native language. The CD-booklet does however contain English translations of the lyrics. HALLOWEEEN is one of the most interesting bands I've heard from France recently, and "Le Festin" is one of the most interesting albums this year. If you're into truly genuine progressive rock you should definitely get hold of a copy of this album, immediately. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#3342)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars Here is the final effort from the captivating French progrock band Halloween, this is a genuine progrock adventure!

1. L'Autre (6:37) : This first song contains female vocals in a mellow climate featuring tender violin and jazzy keyboards. Halfway the music delivers many shifting moods with sumptuous keyboard outbursts along fine guitar and powerful violin play.

2. Le Retour Du Bouffon (6:26) : A gloomy atmosphere with intense emotional vocals, obviously inspired by Christian Decamps. Again many changing climate with moving violinplay and great interplay by the guitar and violin. It sounds complex but very compelling.

3. Neurotic (4:54) : This one has a mellow atmosphere featuring piano, female vocals and soft violin, simply wonderful.

4. Shéhérazade (10:23) : No surprise that this piece contains an Arabic/Morish climate! The music sounds fiery with many breaks and great play on guitar and violin, very exciting.

5. Coma (5:06) : Here a slow rhythm and a King Crimson-like atmosphere with fiery and propulsive violin and guitar.

6. Araignée (5:25) : This song delivers soft piano and female vocals, halfway a jazzy acoustic guitar solo.

7. Le Festin (7:55) : The titletrack is a complex and a bit nerveracking piece with strong echoes from King Crimson featuring biting Fripperian guitar and vareid work on the violin.

8. Carnage (6:55): Another complex composition featuring a flashy, jazzy-like synthesizer solo, a fiery electric guitar solo and exciting play on keyboards and violin.


Report this review (#44031)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, I'm listening to it while I writte. Being a Halloween semi fan from their "Part one" album, I'm always amazed about their capability to improve the quality of their compositions. Obscure and almost Flawless, I did fall sleep in the middle of it, being this not a critic, but a comment regarding the rythm of the album, wich turns to mellow and then to fiercy without warnings of anykind. Perhaps the best choice of this album is to leave most vocals to their female singer, whos voice adds a soft contrast to the intrincated and dark music. Track 2 features the male vocalist, and is a bit anoying. An original quality prevents this to become another regressive attempt, perhaps because of a good composer that uses lements of Jazz and Contemporary music along with Rock influences, taken mostly from Goth scene, but not the average ones. Feels more like inspired by those things, but processed by someone that owns a voice (as shown on their previous releases). Execution is impecable, composition is strong and focused, surprising sometimes, a bit expected some other times; as a personal coment, perhaps too long, and with a "cover" of... themselves (Track 2 can be heard on "Part One"), those being the flaws that can be left for further discussion. What you won't like is how the overall rythm or soundscape (?) turns into a very steady pulse from track 3 to nearly the end. A bit predictible, but worthy.
Report this review (#84722)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This French band has already released three albums and they produced very weird music. Very dark, intriguing and scary. Almost each of them could have been a soundtrack for some sort of horror movie, really.

This one is no exception. As soon as the opening number starts, you are brought into an extremely gloomy atmosphere. Vocals also add to the feeling. This time, it is an almost childish female timber which conveys the scary side. The use of violin is extensive on this album and if one would believe that it could bring some sort of joyful feeling: just forget it. It only adds to the flavour.

This album is a long descent into darkness. Lyrics are terribly bizarre as well (most of them are sung in French). One of weirdest of all is certainly Le Retour Du Bouffon. Very much Ange oriented in terms of vocals and theme (it plunges us into the medieval world). It is actually a re-work of Jester's Dance which was available on their debut album, but with other lyrics.

Some English lyrics for Neurotic, but no change of direction here. The frightening doesn't stop (but will it ever do so with Halloween). Even if there was a seven years period of hiatus between this album and their previous one; their ideas and style haven't changed.

The oppressive atmosphere is going on with the Middle-Eastern Sheherazade. I guess that with such a title, it is all too normal. Don't expect a sweet cover from the great Renaissance song. You won't get the same treat here. Only the title and the quality of the songs have something to share. Needless to say that Coma is of same calibre. Again, the Crimson atmosphere is highly felt.

Actually, I wouldn't recommend to listen to the four albums from this band on a row. You could be so terrorized than you wouldn't want to be never left alone.

Le Festin is also quite Ange oriented in terms of lyrics. A description of a medieval feast. The music is typically Crimsonian: complex and tortured. Especially the beautiful and chaotic guitar. Explosive! It is my favourite song from this album. Bon appétit, mes amis! This is how the song closes.

The closing number Carnage (which means slaughter, what a programme!) is almost a normal song! It features Banks oriented synths and a jazzy mood.

In all, this is a good album from skilled musicians. Géraldine Le Coq has a very special voice as well and she perfectly fits into the spectre. The minus point would be that the listener could be tired with so much gloom. But I have had the same feeling with their two prior releases. The complexity of this album could have placed it perfectly in the eclectic genre.

Three stars.

Report this review (#189338)
Posted Saturday, November 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars In my opinion this is HALLOWEEN's best album and one i'd certainly recommend to anyone wanting to check out their sound. The Gnosis site also rates this one the highest of their four studio albums. It's interesting that every issue that I had with the previous album "Merlin" has been addressed here.The Classical flavour is all but gone, this is a much more powerful album and the female singer takes an even greater role over the male vocalist.This was a pleasure.

"L'autre" is fairly relaxed wih female vocals, drums, violin and more. Synths come in in place of the violin. It kicks in suddenly before 3 1/2 minutes. Nice.This instrumental section is incredible. It settles back late with reserved female vocals to end it. "Le Retour Du Bouffon" builds as male spoken words join in. It starts to pick up after 2 minutes with vocals and violin as that powerful sound continues. It settles right down before 4 minutes with a beat then it builds again. A nice heavy sound is the result 5 minutes in.

"Neurotic" opens with piano as reserved female vocals (English) come in.Violin then drums follow as it gets fuller. It settles back.This is dark with vocals. Piano only before 4 1/2 minutes then spoken words and violin join in to end it. "Sheherazade" begins with a beat and intricate guitar. Some atmosphere joins in until that's all we hear. Vocals and percussion then lead before it turns heavier. Spoken words and an urgent mood before it kicks back in before 7 minutes.The violin rips it up after 8 minutes followed by a calm. It picks back up late. "Come" has these almost spoken male and female vocals followed by violin. It gets heavier and the violin starts to light it up.

"Araignee" opens with laid back keys and bass as relaxed female vocals join in. "Le Festin" has this intense atmosphere with powerful spoken male vocals. Female vocals take over then it picks up before 2 1/2 minutes. A little dissonance before 4 minutes then it kicks in heavily with guitar and drums.This is amazing ! It becomes mellow before 7 minutes with vocals. "Carnage" is probably my least favourite although I really like that intro with drums. It picks up after a minute with spoken male vocals. It changes before 3 minutes and eventually synths and drums dominate. Guitar 5 minutes in and the violin.

A very solid album and worthy of that 4 star rating.

Report this review (#457015)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2011 | Review Permalink

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