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PROPHET IN A STATISTICAL WORLD

Saens

Neo-Prog


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gilles-vyolai
5 stars Ho wow, second album of SAENS. Come back with nice concept album in the same way of frist album ORIGINALITY. With a best quality of song.A new drummer and more varity of beat.The guy a have work hard to make nice guitar arangement and many backing vocal.The result is perfect. No word for this.Listen SAENS-Prophet in a statistical world,more that one time because is have very strange song not accecible for all. The best prog vocals i have listen. I recommed a bonus CD (limited edition) with 3 song. On this CD we have 'Game of patience' the best song oF SAENS for me. SAENS-best band for many year a go for sure.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#30767)
Posted Friday, August 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Edited 09/27/05!

I just can repeat my fellow reviewer,WOW,what a great album.And it's true it takes a few spins (I needed two) to fully appreciate this piece of art since it might sound a bit strange for the first listen. But this album has such intricate and complex music and it's very diversative.Great vocal and choral parts,superb keyboard and organ parts and as well excellent guitar playing, everything a proghead's heart is desiring. Actually I never heard of this band before since recently and as well I don't know their debut album. This excellent group should be much more known. For sure this is one of the top albums of this year and worth 4 1/2 stars! Highly recommended!!!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#30768)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
michel.jobe@t
3 stars After hearing their previous opus, I was expecting a lot from this album. While "Prophets..." definitely improves on "Escaping..." on composition unity (they now know where they want their songs to go to...), the instrumentation is definitely less symphonic and more neo, sometimes even bordering on the heavy side. It's then a matter of taste. Personally, I prefered "Escaping from the hands of god".

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#30769)
Posted Saturday, December 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Prophet in a Statistical World is the third, and possibly final, album from this French prog group. This album is a sort of semi-concept album that is broken into two parts. Part one, Dystopian Dream, is four songs inspired by book's (you can probably guess most of the inspiring books) and a short interlude (Suite No 2). Part two covers the final seven tracks and is the concept "Prophet in a Statistical World", I'm sure the title will give you a clue as to what the concepts about.

There are two major differences between Prophet in a Statistical World and the preceding album, Escaping From the Hands of God. The first is that the compositions have become a lot tighter this time around, mainly due to the greater emphasis on the amazing technical ability of the musicians here, and as a result this album has a much harder edge to its atmosphere than the previous album had. The second thing is that the band has moved away from being a Neo group into a full blown Symphonic band on this album.

The worst thing about this album is definitely the vocals. Pascal Bouquillard's singing is probably worse on this album than on the previous, though sometimes his voice does work particularly well with the lyrics in the songs, but at times, like the end of Time Machine, his vocals are really not that nice to me. Though for the most part his vocals are passable, they will never find too much favour with me. Fortunately Pascals bass playing is among some of the best I have ever heard. His ability to effortlessly move between the slap and picking techniques is astounding, its just so smooth and yet helps add an extra dimension to the music. This is one of those albums where the bass line is the driving force behind the songs, leading them to their conclusion expertly.

Keyboards are generally considered a large part of prog but on this album they are only used sparingly by Vynce Leff but they do help to emphasize the atmosphere at any given point of the album. Vynce Leff, though, is the main creative force behind Saens, having written all the tracks and given the music the direction. His guitar lines interact beautifully with those of Benoit Campedel (who also does some additional keyboard work) and plays in some stunning solos that don't overshadow the melody and rhythm of the others. The drum lines of Stephane Geille (who coincidently played Piano on the instrumental Ayanda on Escaping From the Hands of God) are not spectacular but they do what is needed and their is the occasional line of real genius, definitely a strong rhythm player.

However, this album isn't perfect. The main problems being that the lyrics can get a bit cheesy at times and parts of the Prophet in a Statistical World suite don't work as well as they could have, which is a real shame. I'll give this album 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4, as its very good but not quite a masterpiece.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#79742)
Posted Monday, May 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After reading a few glowing reviews here (and being myself a neo prog fan), I decided to tackle this one. My, was I disappointed...

Honestly, I don´t know why this band is labeled as Neo Prog. This french outfit has such a complex, intricated, almost chaotic sound that does not reminds of any of the so called prime neo prog bands, like Marillion or Arena. Their music should be called eclectic prog or, maybe, symphonic prog, for they are both, really. Not that I like it much, even if their most obvious influence is King Crimson (a band I love). Don´t get me wrong: the overall sound is good, the musicians are skilled and the production is great. The problem is that they seem to complicate matters just for the sake of it. Excellent ideas are sometimes spoiled by the overcomplex structures, the unecessary shifting rhythms and overkill arragements.

Also there are the vocals: Pascal Bouquillard is a good singer, but his sometimes overdramatic deliverings are irritating far too often. It is a pity, because they´re really terrific players. but their music is not exactly what I call pleasant to the ears. It seems Saens wanted to sound original, whatever it takes

If you like complex music (even at the expense of harmony and melodies), you should try this one. But if you´re looking for neo prog music (meaning bands like Marillion, Arena, Pendragon, IQ, Jadis, etc) forget it. There is NOTHING neo prog here as far as I´m concernedr. Be warned.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#173008)
Posted Wednesday, June 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars While recording the official album, the band was willing to include one of their previous project they had been worked on for quite some time. It was called ''Dodecamania''. But when they compared it with the other songs, the band didn't feel it belonged to the new project.

One of the executives of the Cyclops label, suggested to include some work from their debut album to allow the addition of a bonus disc to ''Prophet In A Statistical World''. They re-worked the two long songs available, adding new English lyrics. This bonus disc is very much welcome for those of us who can't get hold of their first album under the name of ''Sens'' which was later on changed into ''Saens'' for copyright reasons (amongst others).

The result is excellent (but I can't compare with the original). I preferred to comment more extensively this bonus CD since my fellow colleagues already described the official album with skills.

The central piece is the long (over twenty-three minutes): ''The Gevaudan Beast''. Gévaudan is a region in the South of France in which many people were killed (over a hundred) by an animal during the years between 1764 and 1767. The animal was called ''The Beast Of The Gévaudan''. Many, many people tried to trap the beast, but most of the attempts failed. It is only in 1767, after that a big wolf was killed that the attacks ceased.

This is of course an excellent storyboard for an epic prog song, don't you believe? And the music is accordingly fine. Of course, there are some passages which are borrowed to ''Supper's Ready'' (but not too much). It is a fine combination of pastoral moment, powerful guitar breaks and even some opera- oriented vocals (towards the end).

At no moment did I feel any weak passages, nor dullness while listening to this very good symphonic neo prog epic. A definite highlight of this double CD set and a wonderful discovery for the fans. I have read the French lyrics of the original version (it is available on their official web-site) and I can tell you that the play between the Beast (the preparation of the ''meal, the preparation of the act), the feeling of the victim and the kill of the Beast is quite an ode!

The ''Dodecamania'' project appears here under the title ''Souffrances De Pierre'' (almost sixteen minutes). It is sung in French and can be considered as a middle line between ''Ange'' and Crimson. A weird and oppressive atmosphere. We are from the neo-prog here, as far as I'm concerned. A mix of symphonic (or classic as I prefer to name it) and eclectic prog. To be discovered by all means.

The lightest of the three bonus track is ''Games Of Patience'' (over twelve minutes). Again some sweet ''Genesis'' mood, gentle instrumental break. It is probably the most neo oriented song, with guitar breaks fully in line with Barrett (''Pendragon'') or even John Mitchell (''Arena''). Which simply means that there are passionate and great. I quite like the closing section with fine vocals (although some reviewers have criticized this aspect of their work).

About the official CD, it is clearly separated in two parts. Part A is deeply influenced by several sci-fi authors: Orwell (''XX84''). Is this a coincidence that at times, it sounds as a Bowie track? I guess not (remember ''1984''). Aldous Huxley inspired ''Lenina''. It holds several neo-prog feel (mainly Banks oriented synths). H.G. Wells is present with ''Time Machine'' of course. It is a darker and heavier song. Synthesizers are very much used but are combined with fine guitar parts.

The track I prefer on this first part, is ''Forbidden Dreams''. The guitar work is just wonderful and the Floydian atmosphere felt during the intro is a wonderful musical moment. Vynce Leff is really gorgeous on this track.

As a contrast, the band created their own ''Statistical World'' during the second part of the album. I have to say that it is less efficient. Some fine Eastern influences are combined to some very nice fluting during the title track. Probably the most sophisticated one from this section. Not brilliant but varied and complex.

My fave from this spart is the long ''The Prophet''. This one has a definite neo feel to be honest (but I have always tried to be so). Very emotional guitar and quite a pleasant melody during the vocal parts but not only. The concept of the ''Statistical World'' is almost permanently present in this part of the album. Here as well.

I like this band. I feel that their type of music is very close to the classic prog I have been fed with but it is true to say that some tints of neo are spread in their work as well. I would say that the bonus CD raises the level of this recording (seven out of ten). Upgraded to four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#195021)
Posted Thursday, December 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars SAENS are a French band who've created a concept album of sorts here based on four books including "1984" , "Brave New World" , "This Perfect Day" and "Time Machine". I have to admit i'm not a fan of the vocals here or the male and female choirs that help out. And clocking in at 73 1/2 minutes it makes for a long listen.

"XX84" opens with some atmosphere as synths hover in the background. Vocals arrive around a minute then it picks up. A calm returns before 4 1/2 minutes then it rebuilds with some good guitar. "Suite No.2 (Prelude)" is a short piece with classical-like guitar throughout. "Lenina" features vocals and a fairly powerful sound.The tempo does change quite often on this one. Some vocal arrangements after 3 minutes I don't like. Choirs before 8 minutes then we get a mellow final minute. "Time Machine" opens with the synths rolling in followed by guitar then a beat. Vocals join in too. A calm 6 minutes in. Powerful organ before 7 1/2 minutes then it kicks in.Vocals are back at 9 minutes. A calm before 11 1/2 minutes with reserved vocals. "Forbidden Dreams" starts with atmosphere as the guitar rises up out of it before a minute.The tempo picks up before 3 minutes.The guitar reminds me of Oldfield here. Vocals before 5 minutes. "Welcome" is a short piece with vocal arrangements that do little for me.

"Statistical World" is better instrumentally but I still find the vocals poor. "I Wanna Be Free" features some passionate vocals. "Libera Me" is mostly choirs. "The Prophet" is fairly laid back with vocals. A calm before 3 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in before 5 minutes with guitar. A guitar solo 8 minutes in as well. "Revolution" kicks in before a minute. A nice heavy sound here but the vocals aren't that great. "Freedom" features choirs but also bass,drums and guitar.

Barely 3 stars really. A disappointment but i'm sure the Prog fan will find lots to like.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#391309)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permalink

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