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THE TREE

Nessie

Symphonic Prog


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Nessie The Tree album cover
2.77 | 22 ratings | 5 reviews | 9% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gold digger ghost
2. Tree
3. Love dreamer
4. The weapon
5. Vivid memories
6. The world of the tree
7. Rumble of drums

Total time: 29:08

Line-up / Musicians

- JM James Blanche / drums, vocals
- Bill Pons / bass, vocals
- Meme LeRuth / piano, mellotron, keyboards, vocals
- Daniel Sarlet / synthesizers, guitars, vocals

Releases information

LP Debut release

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to marty mcfly for the last updates
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NESSIE The Tree ratings distribution


2.77
(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
9%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
27%
Good, but non-essential (36%)
36%
Collectors/fans only (23%)
23%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

NESSIE The Tree reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Belgium has a tradition of bringing some highly talented groups always meddling with RIO, Avant-prog, experimental Canterbury and the general scene is responsible for Chamber prog! But there was also another tradition, this one about more symphonic groups such as Machiavel, Isopoda, Dragon, Flyte, Phylter, Banzaï and later on Now. One of those bands is Nessie (from the Liège region) thar released two albums in the late 70's. To say the least most of these groups in the second category never achieved much success bith artistically and commercially (Machiavel being the notable exception that confirms the rule). Lack of financial means was a major success for sure, but clearly most of those groups while developping a pleasant symphonic rock clearly based on Genesis and other masters, they were all a bit amateurish and a bit too naïve.

The Tree is Nessie's first album and IMHO, their slightly better album. Their sound is based on Genesis, BJH and to a lesser extent Yes, but contrary to other Belgian groups of the times, they also have a slight Gentle Giant twist appearing here and there, which sets them apart from more "conventional" bands like Isopoda and Dragon. Lyrics are sung in English and are apt enough not to shock anyone and there is a lovely flute here and there. The artwork sleeve is a beautyful but naïve Tree scene, but overall the album is very short: one side not even clocking in at 15 minutes and on the other side a track is anounced both on the label and on the sleeve but conspicuously absent on the vinyl. I personally like better Nessie even though they were amateurs - both their albums were private releases - than their more professional countrymen of that era.

If you enjoy the Belgian bands mentionned previously, no doubt Nessie will please you , but their album are quite scarce andto my knowledge they have never been released on Cd. This could easily make a 2 album on 1 Cd deal. Any takers???????

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Nice but not the best Belgian symph!

Some minutes ago i reviewed a portuguese album and i said that my knowledge about that country's music was very limited, this time is the same, right now i could not name more than 4 bands from Belgium i know, being the main one Univers Zero, but well this time i found an album of this 70s band called Nessie which does not have anything to do with chamber music or RIO, it is (was) a symphonic prog band.

And to be honest to you, i actually dont know more about Nessie, so i will only review the album without giving you a background of the band, as i use to do in the most of my reviews. This second album called The Tree was released in 1977 and is a very short one with 29 minutes of music, there are some half an hour awesome albums like Profondo Rosso by Goblin, so the duration is not always the most important thing, this album ends so fast that you may not notice it.

It has 7 songs, the first 2 are the long ones and the rest are basically a 3-minute song.

Gold Digger Ghost opens the album and let us know that they had an influence from bands like Barclay James Harvest or Pavlov's Dog, actually this very first song reminds me a lot to Pavlov's Dog, not for the vocals but because of the music, and despite being a Belgian band they decided to sing in English, maybe in order to have more recognition in the world musical scene. This song is good, nice music with mellotron and a great drumming. The Tree is the next one and opens very soft with a delicate flute sound, then vocals enter and actually there are some harmony vocals, the song is very soft and catchy, the drums and flute make the base and as background we will listen to the keyboards, nice song but not the best, actually i think the best was the previous one, this song finishes with some kind of vocal harmonic chants. Love Dreamer start is almost the same as the final part of the previous song, and after some 40 seconds it changes to a faster time and tempo song, a bit rockier and very reminiscent to BJH in some moments, the final part is more interesting, with a nice bass base and the keys solo. The Weapon Begins with some screams reminding me to some 60s American rock or blues bands, then it turns instrumental with some good bass lines and drums, then the vocals returns and in moments i find them to be a bit annoying, in this song for instance i would have prefered a completely instrumental one. Vivid Memories as the other songs have some vocal harmonies, and a delicate symphonic sound without being the most complex thing, it doesn't sound bad at all, sometimes the music sounds very classic or even cautios as if they were afraid of create something better and more original. The World of the Tree opens with a beautiful flute and synth sound and then it turns to what basically the album is, easy symphonic prog, soft and calm music synth as background, not the best vocal performance and some backing vocals, the part where the flute enters actually gives something different to the music, if the flute doesn't sound, the music may become boring and monotonous. Rumble of Drums is the last song of this short album and actually is the shortes song with only 2 minutes, it opens with some spoken word like orders of the sargeant and then a march drumming, the song sounds like a goodbye.

The album is not that bad, but is repetitive and monotonous sometimes, i may give 3 stars to it but i am not that enthusiastic with it, i think there are hundreds of better albums than this one, 2.5 may be the best, but this time i won't feel satisfied if i don't qualify it with 2 stars. Not bad and non-essential.

Anyway, enjoy it!

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Even quite blamed by people there, I like this short, little (very short, just 29 minutes) album that still has a lot to offer. Symphonic tradition of Belgium is indeed long and don't take me bad guys, I understand with the facts you are providing.

Prog development in different countries is different too, this is why I don't care much that it's 1977. The only "cheesy" song here and I mean really intentionally cheesy would be Vivid Memories, this melody is like Swiss (or Belgium) chocolate. White type.

So because I have no problem with sweetness (I don't mind it), then this album shines in what it provides, quite synthesized Symphonic Prog. The World of the Tree has nice flute moments, while Rumble of Drums is nice outro funny song.

Most of songs are having its share of multi-choral vocals, which is another thing I can appreciate. It may sound too pop at first look/hearing, but there are Prog twists here and there.

4(-) is my rating for such albums.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars No question, Belgium was among the countries that produced some groups towards the end of the 70's, which tried to keep the struggling Classic Prog movement alive like Flyte, Isopoda or Phylter.One of these cases was Nessie, a late-70's act from Verviers (near the German borders) with J.M. James Blanche on drums, Joseph Pons on bass, Henri Leruth on keys and Daniel Sarlet on synths and guitars.Their debut ''The tree'' was recorded at Michel Dickensheld Studio in Ougree in May 1978 and was released the same year as a private press.

Their style was a mix of melodic CAMEL passages, GENESIS' poppy symponicism around the period, PAVLOV'S DOG nervous lyrical moments and MACHIAVEL'S diversity, all of them blended nicely but with a less artistic nature than all of their aforementioned influences.For the most part of the album guitars remain silent, so the album is very much driven by the double synth attacks of Leruth and Sarlet with only a few organ and mellotron waves throughout.While the musicianship is good at moments, it is often interrupted by amateur multi-vocal lines.The sound of the synthesizers is too sterile and the mix is pretty bad, not helping Nessie's ideas, as some of them are decent to say the least, offering a few good symphonic-inclined moments.Additionally two or three tracks are too commercial and rather far from memorable.On the other hand a pair of compositions contain excellent CAMEL-esque flute work and impressive, grandiose synths to eventually deliver trully Classic Prog beauty.

Not among the good bands of the 70's, not even among the few ones,which dared to play progressive music in prog's farewell years.The lack of trully interesting material, the very short length of the album (29 minutes) and the presence of numerous amateur parts, both musically and in the vocal parts, make this one even questionable for a CD reissue...2.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

2 stars An overdose of sweeties from Belgium. The flutes rings out and the music is sweet. The vocalist is very sweet. The keyboards is sweet too. ............please pass me the salt, please. The soundscape here is full of nice sounds from keyboards, flutes and the piano. The songs..... I am sure ... (read more)

Report this review (#248258) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, November 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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