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Hecenia - La Couleur Du Feu CD (album) cover



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4 stars Classical instrumental symphonic rock. Far from the theatrical ANGE or MONA LISA style, or from the melancholic PULSAR tunes, HECENIA is in the French vein of the elegance and beautiful melodies as, i.e., WURTEMBERG.

There aren't guitars (the arp gives a delicated flavour, instead) and the music is driven by the modern keyboards sounds, enjoyable 100%. All tracks are very fine, but both longer ("Dialogue H2O" and "Les Jardins", this one a 24 minutes suite) are standing out. A brilliant album.

Report this review (#3475)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
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.
Report this review (#97869)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

At the darkest age for prog (the late 80's), came one French group that pulled a symphonic album (Légendes) that sounded completely caught in a weird time warp. Their second (and last) La Couleur Du Feu (The colour of fire) came out some 5 years later and symphonic prog was on the upswing, due to the Swedish trilogy AglaDotenBerk and other parts of the world picking up on the ashes that had been cooling away for well over a decade. Built upon the previous French group's ashes Elohim (even if the Trutet brothers would leave between the two albums), Hecenia represent a bit the phoenix rising from the ashes of the fire whose colours might just be the subject here. All of the tracks come with a subtitle, but there does not seem to be a concept behind this fully instrumental symphonic prog that borrows heavily in the classical music with some new age moments, such as La Roue Du Temps.

The first part of the album (that we could almost name side 1) is made of fairly short tracks (three of them around the 2-min limit) surrounding two longer ones. None of those short tracks are of much interest (often sounding like new age interludes) and even the 7-mins Empreinte D' Uranus (your anus's footprint ;-) is rather tame and aimless, while Dialogue H2O (also plagued with the era's keyboards sounds) is rather unappealing until Delphine's Harp comes in the track. But the harp's appearance actually takes away any kind of rock influences until the "church organ" comes back, bringing along the bass and drums. While the second part of the track is better, unfortunately I fail to really catch on.

The second part of the album is the 24-minJardin Ethernels (Ethernal Gardens) and unfortunately does not bring much more than the previous tracks had. Actually I sense that there is a strong pretension that sorts of reduces the enormous amount of labour of love invested in such a project to a bit of futile and pompous new age mental masturbation, without ever reaching the orgasm. Between Rondo Veniziano, Rieu and Vollenweider.

A valiant try, close but no cigar, this is the type of second-rate album that does not really bring much to the prog realm: ultra-symphonic new-agey prog that actually gives dredit to prog detractors, feeding their arguments. Not as bad as I make it out to be, but pointless and filled with irritating early-90's twists that makes it sound so dated (drums sound not excepted either). Unless you really have time and money for this, better stay away. I can only picture those that discovered this album upon the time of release liking this album, most of the other progheads probably having thousands of better albums before finally scraping such bottom of the barrel.

Report this review (#119676)
Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars HECENIA area band out of France who released 2 studio albums including the debut in 1989 which I was playing a lot recently and was really disappointed with it mainly because of the drum machine. Well here's the second record from 1994 and we're down to a trio here of bass, drums and keyboards. There is some guest harp too. So a real drummer? Apparently although I swear that long 24 minute closer has a drum machine on it throughout. Keyboards rule the day and night here with piano, organ and synth sounds, often two of those together. I have to admit this was a tough listen each time I put it on. That closer especially would try most people's patience I swear. The three short tracks are all solo performances by the keyboardist. A low 3 stars, I mean really low.
Report this review (#2489241)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2020 | Review Permalink

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