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5 stars This album is often given the Zeuhl label, which I believe may be an exaggeration - yes, of course, they were influenced by Magma; and that unmistakable Zeuhl bass sound is very much present, but Archaia seems to be equally influenced by other French bands of the 70s such as Flamen Dialis and Fille Que Mousse. Often sounding like a hybrid of the coolest 70s styles - electronic avant-garde, Krautrock, Zeuhl and the real deal prog, this album, which is extremley rare; is a guaranteed killer. Those with a penchant for French music of the 70s or any of the genres mentioned above will dig this album. The bass is the foundation for all else - ghostly voices, screaming voices, authoritive voices, manipulated voices and electronic mayhem collide on its rolling waves. Guitars soar,bellow, fracture into fragments - peircing shrills stabbing into the heart of the wicked walls of instrumentation. Often, one is lulled in to the falsest sense of security but then, of course, a stabbing synth will riddle all who stand before with its shards of electronic noise, then ghostly voices, once again, will appear. It took me a bit to get into this album (the mark of true class?), once I did, however, it totally charmed me with its otherworldness. That is not to say this album is difficult avant- garde, far from it - just complex (the Zeuhl influence once more?). If its possible - go get this album, it does not dissapoint!
Report this review (#30706)
Posted Sunday, April 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
4 stars After Magma I was ready to leave the Zeuhl genre for dead. Soon after my displeasure with that genre, I gave RIO a second chance and liked it. So I decided to give Zeuhl a second chance as well. I had already tried magma and absolutly could not stand them, they were needlessly complex. Sometimes less is more and Archaia proves this point to a T. Yes they are complex but in a way that won't scare off the average listener or without being prententious like similar artists. These guys remind me of Lard Free with the heavy bass and experimental nature. They are fun and orginal, give them a shot!
Report this review (#52278)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Archaia is a band that is really difficult to be put under one genre. Their only album (self- titled) released in 1977 is a mixture of abstract soundscapes from psychedelic rock, effects, strange keys and vocals that remind you of kraut rock, heavy bass lines that remind you of zeuhl, odd sounds and melodies fro avant-garde bands... It's something really unique really. Don't be confused by the categorization, they're not really like Magma (even though there is an obvious connection).

All songs have this haunting feeling. Dark melodies, strange vocals, distorted "screaming" guitar are what give you this feeling. On the original LP there are no drums. Songs 9, 10 and 11 are extra tracks in the last two of which drums are used. All the other songs are filled with all kind of percussion and that's something that makes the album really interesting. The impression I get from this is a band that is trying things, experimenting really without having a particular idea where they're heading. As a result I can't give it more than 3 stars.

If you find this cd (which I doubt) and you are attracted by the idea having a very rare cd buy it. Buying it only for the music seems a bit strange to me (since it costs more than $300). Anyway, it is a good effort and really interesting to see a mixture of so many different genres.

Report this review (#95312)
Posted Saturday, October 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The sound of a black mass you'd wish you were at, or glad you weren't. It depends. I would probably have chickened out and ran all the way home to mommy...crying.

Archaïa sounds somewhat ancient and timeless simultanously. Just like the name suggests, but it also feels new, fresh and unlike anything else. Even now, thirty years after its original release. One track is called Le Grand Secret, and that's exactly what this distubing but hauntingly beautiful mastepiece of dark, chthonic zeuhl is to me.

Its like you're suddenly part of a secret, complex ritual you don't understand. (We have all stumpled into that a couple of times, right?) My insignificant intellect translates the advanced sound of Archaiä and creates images of some kind of occult dyonisian bacchanal. Meaning an orgy with lamb and virgin sacrifices and gallons of blood, dangerous drugs all over the place, red wine in grailshaped glasses, add a black goat standing on two feet, hairy people in long capes and of course, lots of nudity. Basically that scene in Eyes Wide Shot, only dirtier and outdoors.

At the time of its release it only sold a couple of hundred copies, and Pierrick Lebras, probably dissillusioned sold the tapes for a follow up album at a flea market!(?). The world is unfair and stupid , but that's not excactly news. 1977, the rise of punk, and fall of prog, but only for those of you fixated on the sympho-megalomaniacs of the UK scene. In France and Belgium they were just getting started.

Thank the good (or evil) people at Soleil Zeuhl for re-releasing this. If I'll ever spend 500 bucks on one LP, it will be this one. Hail Satan!

Report this review (#101439)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A relaxed lysergic stream meandering through an ancietn rockface, Archaia belong to that magical category of bands that having released only one full length to limited acclaim before disbanding, became known and renowned thanks to the advent of the internet. This release doesn't share an awful lot in common with traditional Zeuhl, whilst the bass is the strongest link and some of the melodic themes are recognisable this is without a doubt a psychedelic release. This psychedelic component is very strong yet isn't easily definable as it is largely the sum of it's parts. The production definitely plays a large role though, it is reasonably lo-fi in that there isn't a lot of low end and there is a lot of fuzzed out guitar and in general it is very distant and sparse sounding - delicate would perhaps be an appropriate term (the percussion only approach turns out to be genius in this regard). There is also a palpable malaise which permeates the music, this turned out to be a stoner classic because it's a record that actually relates to the feeling of being stoned unlike any record I've encountered.

I strongly recommend this album, it is one of those weird unique little albums that fills a place in your musical life that nothing else really does, a tranquil other-worldly piece of music.

Report this review (#210486)
Posted Sunday, April 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Archaia may have been Magma fans, but they certainly weren't Magma clones. At last we have a Zeuhl album without the bombast, where a drumless Magma meets a stringless Universe Zero. All drums have been sacked in favour of an altogether more creepy Zeuhl sound. Sinister, with elements that conjure up visions of Aleister Crowley or a black mass. Archaia have similarities to Heldon and Lard Free. This album is more laid back than those bands though.

There's quite a lot of droning mediaeval chants which makes it sound like it should have been used in that scene from 'Rosemary's Baby' where the baddies are lurking around that big black pram! The guitars are drenched in fuzz, the bass is claustrophobic and throbbing and the vocals are somewhat similar in style to Magma's Klaus Blasquiz. Unfortunately some of the early keyboards are a wee bit on the cheesy side though.

An album to be listened to with the lights off for the full effect. Get it in time for Halloween!

Report this review (#304313)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The other reviews of this album suggested a scary experience. Hence, I rigged myself up behind the sofa and with my old teddybear as a spiritual cling on during this supposed spine chilling scary black mass.

Well, I should not had bothered. Their music is nowhere near Shub Niggurath's debut album in the scary stake.

Archaia does Magma inspired zeuhl without drums. Bass, guitars and vocals sets the rhythms. Those instruments plus tangents also stakes out the melodies. The music is hypnotic as in hippie mass where hippies dance around a campfire when chanting peace and legalize soft drugs messages. Black mass ? Fetch me a mug of black coffee !!!!

This album contains some very original music. Original as in kraut, space rock and jazz. Add Magma and subtract all traces of drums. Then you get the music on this album. It is a special album and it is a very good album. It does not really contains some killer music though and that is a problem. Hence my three stars. But this album is such an interesting album that I may upgrade the score next year or in the coming decades. This is an album zeuhl fans should check out.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#498075)
Posted Saturday, August 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Archaia play a style of Zeuhl which combines chunky bass lines from Michel Munier (whose skills are on a par with Jannick Top's) with Heldon-influenced synthesiser interventions from Pierrick Lebras and Philippe Bersan. (Pierrick also plays a decent guitar.) Tending slightly towards the creepier, scarier end of Zeuhl, the album shows an impressive mastery of the form which isn't quite on a level where I'd recommend it to people new to the genre - it's not as good as Magma, and since it isn't very accessible I'd recommend listeners become conversant with other Zeuhl groups before trying it - but it's worth a listen for any fan of the form.
Report this review (#555060)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars ARCHAIA was one of those bands that emerged from the lysergic ethers of the tripped out mid-70s, released one album and then returned to the other dimension from whence they came. The band was from Paris, France and the members were self-proclaimed fans of Magma and wanted to create a totally new style of zeuhl and on their one and only eponymous release, they managed to do just that. This is one of those very, very, very weird albums that is so tripped out that it even appears on the Nurse With Would list. Weird it is and that's why i love it soooooo much!

While categorized officially as zeuhl, this is no Magma clone in any way. This is a bizarre hybrid of psychedelic symphonic rock, progressive electronic and of course the Kobaian rhythmic charm that allows it to be catalogued in the zeuhl family. One of the strangest aspects of ARCHAIA is that there are no traditional rock drums involved at all however there is percussion in the form of chimes, bells, other metal things and tribal sounding drums used sparingly throughout the 38:44 long freakfest.

What we get here is Michel Munier's convincing Jannick Top inspired bass line that gives the album a rhythmic zeuhl skeletal form and sprinkled around these beefy rhythms are Heldon inspired spastic keyboard runs and electronic freak outs of Philippe Bersan who also delivers some seriously haunted vocals. Even though the lyrics are in French this actually sounds way more alien than Magma's fictitious language. While the symphonic keyboards, zeuhl bass and electronic trippiness are the major players in this wild world we are also treated to occasional psychedelic guitar runs that would feel right at home on any Steve Hillage recording only in addition to the echoey notes reverberating into multi-dimensional forms, there are healthy doses of bizarre glissando guitar slides as well as stringed freak outs as well.

While the rhythms march on, guitars and keyboards creep in and out of the picture and slowly build up higher intensity while strange angelic Tarzan type calls bellow from the brume of the misty mound of sonic pile ups. This is really an odyssey through odd world. As the album progresses from beginning to end we are treated to fluttering electronica, Arachnoid inspired spookiness, hypnotic musical motifs and off-kilter zeuhl rhythms that pulsate like squids in the turbulent seas while bursts of vocalizations surround the wake and guitar riffs zigzag about.

I would classify this much more as psychedelic space rock or more appropriately space zeuhl that takes the listener on a wild crazy ride through a private musical universe that remains a mere blip in the musical world of 1977. While the album has has the feel of a religious cult's prayer service complete with a chanted type of vocal style, fuzzed out freakiness, dark and chilling atmospheres and a feel of a bizarre world where even the Residents would feel at home, ARCHAIA managed to boil down a lot of ingredients into a cauldron of creative amalgamation which successfully creates the freakiest fusionfest i've ever heard. This is indeed the promised soundtrack for lysergic ghosts haunting alien soundscapes. One of my favorite albums actually. Recommended. 4.5 rounded UP!

Report this review (#1544904)
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2016 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars ARCHAIA were a three piece band out of France who were influenced by MAGMA yet sound nothing like them. Yes there is a resemblance with the vocals(at times) but these guys put a unique spin on Zeuhl if that's what you want to call this. Two of the guys play synths which is what makes this different. We get spacey synths, almost theremin-like synths but also growly ones too. The guitar is often distorted or high pitched but again different and there are no drums but there is percussion. The bass is excellent too by the way. The music is dark and adventerous, it's what I would call innovative.

"Soleil Noir" opens with the sound of children along with strange sounds that slowly pulse and hover before this train-like rhythm arrives replacing both. Spacey synths join in and then vocals that remind me of AQUASERGE. Some raw guitar replaces the vocals but the vocals are back as they trade off. It ends like they began. "L'arche Des Mutations" reminds me of HARMONIA with those higher pitched sounds as the bass pulses. Vocal melodies before 1 1/2 minutes then these high pitched crazy synths take over along with lower ones that hum. The vocal melodies are back then spoken words before it kicks into gear with distorted guitar, vocals and synths. A calm then the guitar lights it up after 3 1/2 minutes as the bass pulses. Vocals are back as themes are repeated. It's really spacey before 5 minutes with synths then whispered words around 6 1/2 minutes. I like the guitar 8 minutes in as it starts to build, vocal melodies too. Spoken words turn to yelling. Intense.

"Sur Les Trances Du Vieux Roy" has these synths that hum as vocal melodies join in along with sounds that pulse and echo. Percussion joins in. It settles back. This is so cool. "La Roue" has deep bass sounds, percussion and growly synths. Laughter comes and goes in this very unique sounding piece. "Le Festin Du Lion Vert" is an uptempo track with both vocal melodies and vocals as sounds beat and pulse. A calm before 2 minutes with vocal melodies reminding me of MAGMA. There's a Navajo vibe that comes in as we get chanting and percussion to the end.

"Massa Confusa" has a haunting intro with intricate sounds and water splashing. Some spoken words here as well before we hear a scream 2 minutes in as the soundscape turns eerie. The water sounds are back. "Le Grand Secret" has spacey synths, bass, percussion, vocal sounds and guitar expressions. The spoken vocals before 1 1/2 minutes are brief as vocal melodies take over with bass, synths and percussion. Some brief spoken words are back at 2 1/2 minutes then the vocal melodies are back late. "Vol Du Phenix" features percussion, bass and high pitched guitar to start. This is almost catchy. It changes before 2 minutes as spacey synths and picked guitar take over. It sounds like cars driving by to end it.

I don't usually comment on bonus tracks but these three are from 1978 and were recorded live in Paris and they are fantastic. We do get actual drums on the final two tracks plus keys too. "Armaggedon" is very zeuhlish with the chanting and bass as it builds. It changes big time before 2 1/2 minutes with these haunting voices overwelming the previous soundscape until all you hear is the voices. So cool. "Robots Dans Le Formol" has a killer rhythm to it with vocal expressions and spoken words. It's intense a minute in with those powerful synths replacing the vocals. Keys join the rhythm 1 1/2 minutes in. The synths stop as the vocals return. Themes are repeated. "Chthonos" has a catchy beat of drums and bass with guitar expressions and synths.

This was an absolute pleasure and without question one of my favourites from 1977.

Report this review (#1550543)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2016 | Review Permalink
2 stars Clearly influenced by Magma but also different to anything Zeuhl-themed that came before, owing to a lack of both drums and strings. An eerie psychedelic sound is generated with bass driving the rhythm, heavy use of synths and Zeuhl style vocals. Its both hypnotic and creepy in equal measure.

For me though, that lack of top class drumming from the class of Vander, Truong etc., means there's something missing. It doesn't really hold my attention beyond the opening track for a good half an hour, but then I did enjoy the closer, Vol Du Phénix, with minimal spacey guitars and cymbals.

Definitely worth a listen for fans of anything remotely influenced by Zeuhl, but didn't quite do it for me.

Report this review (#2574972)
Posted Monday, June 28, 2021 | Review Permalink

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