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Ache - Pictures From Cyclus 7 CD (album) cover

PICTURES FROM CYCLUS 7

Ache

Symphonic Prog


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Progbear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A collaboration with poet Bo Lillesöe, Ache's third album PICTURES FROM CYCLUS 7 is a concept album which seems to attempt to recap current history with hypothetical future events. Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON is a fairly obvious influence.

The revamped Ache is now fronted by two lead vocalists: Stig Kreutzfeldt and Johnnie Gellett. Both have understated, low-key singing voices. At times, this works against them, as on the overture-like introduction, where their chirpy, sing-songy voices seem rather at-odds with the dark subject matter. Conversely, some of the melodrama present in the material (e.g.: the faintly ludicrous "Still hungry (Vampyre song)") pushes this into Spinal Tap mode at times.

Don't expect great complexity and you won't be disappointed. Andante 4/4 rhythms make up the vast bulk of the material. Keysman Peter Mellin does a fine job on organ and piano mostly, but adding some subtle synthesizer touches here and there too. Finn Olafsson's guitarwork is not-Gilmour-unlike. More about moods than blaring displays of musicianship, some of the tunes establish moods brilliantly. "Roses (Registering)" and "Our Lives" are high points.

Report this review (#43763)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Released in 1976 5 years after their second album Green Man and with a completely revised line up, Pictures From Cyclus 7 was not only Ache's best album, but the best Danish prog album period. I have heard quite a few bands from Denmark, Norway, et all and been hugely let down trying to find something along this album's lines of melodic disciplined progressive pop/rock with no self indulgence whatsoever. Ache had made two high quality if inconsistent psychedelic/progressive records in the form of De Homine Urbano and Green Man, but this line up of 6 musicians + lyricist Bo Lillesoe made what is the unbeatable album from the Nordic Realm. The music is best described as "cosmic" progressive pop/rock- a cross hybrid of late 60s pop influences (the vocals), dark psychedelia (the guitars, lyrics, some vocals, some keyboards), and symphonic prog (Procol Harum/Genesis influence- particularly Procol H.) The lyrics are really sinister while the music is fairly subdued, extremely melodic, and one could even say lushly symphonic with liberal use of synthesizer, organ, and mellotron. The group were not aiming for an "Anglo" sound, but instead for something uniquelly dark and as freezing as a Danish winter, with some UK influences much in the background. Sung entirely in English, the two vocalists have extremely appealing voices and the dreamy melodic vocals could lead to comparisons with England's Deep Feeling (why don't you guys put this album up here- it's THE BEST!!!) and Kayak, while the heavily phased and distorted guitar takes on psychedelic overtones which makes this symphonic/psychedelic hybrid a unique record. So what makes this album so good you might ask? There is a lot of heart and a lot of warmth in this music, it is as uplifting as it is ominous, and the careful attention paid to songs instead of solos is very refreshing. Things are at their murkiest on "(Still Hungry) Vampire Song" which is pretty harrowing, creepy, and really, really abrasive lyrically and the exact opposite musically. The chorus is pure Salty Dog/Shine On Brightly period Procol Harum while the vocals sound seriously drugged in a natural rather than chemical induced way- although it may have been both. There is no track I wouldn't say is an absolute killer on this album, and the diversity helps a great deal. Here you have uptempo melodic pop laced rock in the Introduction, complex prog in "Roses," and a marriage of pop, prog, and heavy psychedelia in the closing track. Everything any MUSIC fan could want is here- flawless musicianship, great vocals, a fab production, and most importantly great songs. The music is not aimless like on some of Ache's earlier works which are still good, and also there is no "experimental" or "free jazz" yammering like so much of these overrated Danish bands (Burnin Red Ivanhoe etc). If you are looking for the best Danish record for progressive rock this is the album to do it, and it blows hyper expensive doggerell like Old Man And The Sea out of the water! I would even go so far as to say that at this point in time Ache were a world class band who could stand up to anybody from anywhere. Unfortunately, the line up that recorded this album fell apart, leaving behind but one masterpiece much coveted by me and I hope a few others.
Report this review (#99375)
Posted Friday, November 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Progbear nails it with "don't expect great complexity and you won't be disapointed." I'm going 3 stars but this could easily be 4 if you don't need great complexity in your prog sandwich.

This is a marvelously accessible record, so much so I'd say it would be a great pick to play for someone who's not sure if they like prog, to break them in. If Dennis Deyoung sang vocals on this you could mistake it for a lost late 70s Styx album. There is a fair amount of cheese factor to parts of it but this is forgivable because there is just enough payoff to make this an interesting release. Bouncy and melodic in spots with a nice mix of textures and pretty good sound on the CD. Nice acoustic interludes pop up here and there. The vocals are very good and the band is able enough, though I was found myself wishing they would tear into a little more aggressive guitar work than they do. I guess that's why I can't go to 4 stars personally, while I like the record, it just seems stuck in mid gear a bit too much.

The photo on the back cover is almost worth the price of admission alone, reminding me of what fun was being had in the late 70s euro-prog scene. Let's just say there may well have been a great party the night that photo was taken! If you want a pleasant and solid album you can sing along to, go for it. Just don't expect anything too serious.

Report this review (#116230)
Posted Friday, March 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I waited a long time to get this CD (the first one was a mistake and had inside the Pictures... cover Ache´s next release in fact). After all this expectation I can´t really say I was thrilled when I finally heard it. According to one reviewer this album is inlfuenced by Pink Floyd´s Dark Side Of The Moon, but - with all due respect - I can´t hear ANY musical connection with that record (the lyrics, maybe?). To me the music here is a mix of melodic rock and progressive music not very far away from bands like early ELO or Styx. The only obvious influence at this point is latter day Beatles.

Not that the music inside is not good. I found it to be quite pleasing in many parts and it is obvious that those musicians are skillful (the piano and guitar parts are the highlights). Besides, you don´t hear too many bands coming from Denmark at that time, do we? So I guess it is a kind of first in a time most rock bands were either from US or the UK (Holland and Italy aside, prog wise of course). However, this concept album is quite short (39 minutes) and it fails to generate much excitement. It sounds like they could have be a little more bolder and innovative, but they were holding back somehow. That´s the feeling I got. Several tracks seem to go near that prog direction you expect something symphonic or extraordinaire, but rarely it comes near to that. A pity. Production is quite good for the time.

The band would however do a beter job on their next Bla Som Altid.

Rating: 2,5 stars, really, but I will give it an extra half one for the concept and the good musicanship of all involved. 3 stars in total. Good, ok, but maybe essential only for the Danish prog scene sttory.

Report this review (#291245)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars If there is melodic rock,how about melodic prog?

If you look past the first track, which sounds like a bad attempt on a Beatles sounding single,there is indeed some very catchy music to be had here. The harmony vocals are strong,with a very crisp guitar and some great keyboards plus the a great rhythm section.Yes the music and singing/lyrics do become a wee bit twee on occasion,but the greater parts far outweigh the twee. As mentioned Styx could be a reference if you like their Equinox and Crystal Ball albums,which I happen to do.

The song 'Roses' which you can hear here on Progarchives is very good example of this album in general.It moves gently around between different moods.Nice

I can't really add more that has not already been mentioned except that I might be a touch generous,so between 3 and 4 *'s.

Report this review (#455928)
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2011 | Review Permalink

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