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A TASTE OF BELGIUM

Various Artists (Label Samplers)

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Various Artists (Label Samplers) A Taste Of Belgium album cover
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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Panopticum - "Say No More" (6:02) from the album "Reflection" (2004)
2. Madelgaire - "Regrets" (9:19) from their future album (2007)
3. Quantum Fantay - "NiekShlut" (7:36) from their future 2nd album "Ugisiunsi" ( 2006)
4. Beyond The Labyrinth - "Icons" (6:54) Remix from the album "Signs" (2005)
5. Ghiribizzi - "Don't Fear The Unknown" (7:04) album "Pan'ta Rhei" (2005)
6. AmAndA - "Demain" (6:36) from their album "Qui est Amanda ?" (2002)
7. KarmaDepth - "Second Chance" (10:52)
8. Globalys - "Eagle, Eggs & Bacon" (10:47) Premix 2006 from their future album (2007)

Total Time: 65:26

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

see the groups' respective web sites

Releases information

Compilation edited from two Belgian prog associations:
- the French-speaking Prog-résiste
- the Dutch-speaking Prog-Nose

The compilation is an overview of newer Belgian progressive groups with or without albums.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) A Taste Of Belgium reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars A Taste Of Belgium

Belgium has always been a surreal country and this compilation is yet another proof of it. If the country is about to implode both politically, socially and economically due to the two major communities' differences, on the artistic level, even when subsidized by the different cultures, the artistes often collaborate with each other and the organizers try to do the same, knowing that their small country could not do without the other "side" and if you read my article on the Belgian Chamber Prog scene, you will see that Flemish and Wallons often collaborate together and produced many stunning oeuvres.

This compilation is focussing on a side of the prog scene I was not encompassing in my essay: the modern symphonic prog groups that are abounding in Belgium. Right of the bat, I will tell you that Ken's Novel and Sioban are not represented because of their recording deal with Musea and Labrad'or records. Neither is Foggy Stuff, the latest kid on the block. Funnily enough when seeing the accompanying promotional flyer coming with this sampler, all groups featured here are coming from either Brussels or further west in Belgium, but the main prog prayer temple is in the extreme east of the country in Verviers, the infamous Spirit Of 66 with a good old grumbly Francis Géron (who also promotes the Cd) having hosted some incredible acts (not just prog) for such a small venue. Only the non-featured Ken's Novel (and arguably the most successful) is counter-balancing the scale. Culturally speaking including the two major absents (both Wallon) the 50-50 is respected, even if this is rather recent. Again similarly the two major associations promoting Belgian prog are equally settled. The French-speaking Prog-resiste (a bunch of buddies of mine) have just celebrated their tenth year of operation and have their own festival, while the Dutch-speaking Prog-nose is probably in its fourth year and was strongly encouraged by their counterparts. So much for the presentations, on with the muze!!!!

Panopticum is a resolutely modern band which meanders between Dream Theatre, Riverside , Wolfmother. To say that these guys are made from entirely metal would be exaggerating, as they have strong symphonic influences also. The track is from their first album Reflection that was released in 04 and a second album is on the way for next year.

My buddies Madelgaire are an altogether different matter, almost emerging from the old gallic tradition and their 9-min+ Regrets seems to be coming from the forests of Anglagard's debut album with a slightly more modern sound. Is that a real Mellotron, Bertrand? And Rocteur's drumming is the motor of the group. Cannot wait for your debut album early next year guys!!!

Quantum Fantay is a rather different animal altogether, definitely less earthy and certainly more aerial. No wonder they are definitely more psych and spacey than most of their countrymen. Gong, Hillage and Hawkwind are their major influence with a resolutely modern-sounding crunching guitar leading the way to ecstasy. They were last year's surprise with their first album and this track comes from their second album out late this year. Superb flute interlude Charles.

Beyond The Labyrinth was Prog-nose's first baby (if I may speak as such) with Geert Fieeuw being one of the major federator of this project. With their second album due next, year, BTL is one of the neo-prog sounding bands of the lot, but they sound more like the actual neo rather than the 80's neo. Strongly symphonic with a tad of metallic guitars, Valinor's Tree and Riverside come to mind, most notably.

I must say that Ghibilirizzi was an unknown to me as I was not aware of their first album as early as 01. The track they chose for this sampler is coming from their second album and is has a definite resolute flavour of Marillion and the more traditional neo-prog of the lost decade. However, these guys are doing anything but looking backwards and Dario's guitars are fighting gloriously against a double KB attack.

AmAndA is they only group not singing in English and understandably so, since their music is strongly axed towards the symphonic theatrical rock (they have a really impressive stage show) that ange had pioneered. But AmAndA is so much more than Ange, they have a resolutely modern sound with some rather puzzling twists including some binary beats at times. This track comes from their first album (from 02 already), but having seen them recently, their new album (foreseen next year as well) will be a scorcher.

Karma depth was also a discovery for me. I had heard of their album's release last year, but never had a chance to lay an ear on it before. And I will not again this time, since the track they chose is previously un-released and will maybe appear on their next album. From this track, it could just be that according to their name, the group is the more reflective of the lot. With a definitely neo-prog flavour, and a resolutely modern sound, their heavy symphonic neo-prog is full of luscious ambiances and constant twists. Some of you might have seen them open up for Pain Of Salvation.

Last but not least, come my friends of Globalys who had recorded a sublime demo five years ago, but die to personal and collective setbacks and line-up changes, their first real album is about to see the light of day early next year. The jazzier-influenced (but still strongly symphonic), more complex and maybe the more original of the lot, it was always quite uneasy to describe their sound accurately as simply stating groups will simply not do. Often described as slightly Canterbury-sounding, this is only one of the facet of a group which has many. On this sampler is a pre-mix of a rework of their most played track from the demo renamed Eagle, Eggs & Bacon. While we were hungry for new material, Globalys is holding the suspense for their album by not unveiling what (I know) are stupendous new tracks. For now, this re-work is quite interesting as the infinite details they are known for have been re-arranged. Still my favourite band (and not because they are my friends), their sound is so eclectic embracing dissonance as well as delightful melodies, in a a few words: Globalys is a listener's group. CriCri, Phil, Dom, Laurent and Olivier, I think it is time for our dose of new marvels and wonder.

Overall we can easily see that the new symphonic generation of group is ready to take over from the old symphonic guard and hopefully with more international success than Machiavel, Isopoda, Esperanto, Nessie or later on Now. Yes the future does look bright and the country would do well to take example on this bunch of artistes.

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Posted Friday, September 01, 2006

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