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Flamen Dialis

Progressive Electronic

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Flamen Dialis Symptome - Dei album cover
3.29 | 32 ratings | 7 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Deniere Croisade (6:06)
2. La Sanctuaire D'argile (4:19)
3. Dedale Vert Du Retour (3:41)
4. Illusion (5:16)
5. Meandrea Envoutes (2:07)
6. Eclosion (5:52)
7. Labyrinth Pourpre De La Connaisance (2:11)
8. Arc En Lumiere (2:19)
9. Renaissance (2:56)
10. La Village Du Diamanche Matin (1:32)
11. Eclats (2:37)

12. Decouverte (Bonus: A Side, Single 1978) (4:41)
13. Autre Chose (Bonus: B Side, Single 1978) (3:40)

Total time 47:17

Line-up / Musicians

Y.H. Le Gallic Claviers, Chant
B.B. L'Helgouch /voice
J.J. Chenn /voice
D. Le Gallic Chants / keyboards, drums
M. Le Saout Chant / guitars
A. Ernouf / Voice, flute, "bombard"

Releases information

LP F.L.V.M. FLVM 3006 (1979, France)

CD MIO Records MIO-014 (2004, Israel, with 2 bonus tracks)

Thanks to Black Velvet for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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FLAMEN DIALIS Symptome - Dei ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FLAMEN DIALIS Symptome - Dei reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really !!!

Attention, Mellotron a gogo and chef d'oeuvre.

Most progheads make a sort of fixation on THE definitive prog instrument (outside the flute that is) and even if some of us won't admit it, we all drool and melt at the sound of it, a bit like Quasimodo did for Esmeralda, the Big Bertha did for ten Big Macs or Sylvester did for Tweety. And generally most progheads to cherish the lone albums of Spring and Morte Macabre. But I got for you another baby that puts to shame the one I just mentioned and it is more prog than those two combined (yessir!!! ;- puts them to shame in the mellotronic dept. And not only is this album rather unique and awesome, obviously the guys from Landberk and Anekdoten (this is what Morte Macabre was really) obviously heard this album and inspired themselves rather heavily on it.

Flamen Dialis: a Breton prog group that started as the trio Yecta Plus Band in 71, but acquired a more standard line-up with the arrival Didier Le Gallic in 76 and released a single in 78 (as a quartet), and finally their album in 79as a septet but two members concentrating on whatever few vocals. But by this time, this kind of album might seem a bit anachronistic since most of music had shifted to digital synth, so basing an album on the original analog synth was sort of a rear-guard combat. This might explain why FD's sole album is barely known and went almost unnoticed.

Musically this record is a strange mix of Zeit-era Tangerine Dream (but not quite as spooky) with a weirdish Magma influence (mostly in the vocals, but the booming bass when present, also) and sometimes-free improvs (never made difficult because of the Tron layers), and as you probably known the Swedish MM's Symphonic Holocaust. Limiting FD to the mellotrons would be misleading as there is plenty of musical interplay between Didier Le Galic (drums and keyboards) and his compatriots, as his brother Yves is the other keyboard man. After a superb start (Dernière Croisade), the album goes wild with a bizarre Sanctuaire D'Argile with haunting Kobaian-like chants, soon over taken by an intrusive and implacable Mellotron, but the chants come back and lead to a superb acoustic guitar with Arabian influences. WOW!!! Dedale Vert is definitely more Tangerine Dream, and less impressive and oppressive. But soon Illusion bring back the gloom with doomy wind instruments that could easily find place in Shub-Niggurath or Univers Zero.

After a windy intro (Méandres), the Mellotron comes back in Eclosion , menacing, haunting, loomy , doomy and sombre, but Le Gallic's superb vibes are the centre of your attention here. The track ends with a rather minimalist repeating note pattern, which slowly segues into spoken words (we are now in Labyrinth) and yells out. Spooky? A bit, I must say. But just as the album gets lugubrious come some fascinating vibes Arc En Lumière as an interlude. Renaissance is an aptly-titled track which discusses the bass and the two Mellotrons (this is grandiose) and segues into a fast duo (remember the Mellotron is a slow instrument due to its mechanism) that seems unreal (Village) and the album closing in a complete chaos with Eclats, delving into improvisation.

As for the bonus tracks, they consist of the afore-mentioned single tracks, which are sensibly similar (especially Découverte and its enthusiastic TD-Clearlight realm), even if less complex and slightly more mainstream (the second in the JM Jarre vein). But they do not hinder or harm the progress of the album.

Truly one of those lost French gems that came a bit too late to get a better notice the first time around. Hopefully, Zaharia's label MIO will make the second time around. BTW, if anybody knows the whereabouts of Didier Le Gallic, there is a boss label waitng to pay him his dies, so please warn him. A real must.

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Impressive and original release from this 70's French band. The project seems to incorporate and infiltrate some ancient mythologies and turn it into music for a really passionate, "cosmic" enigmatic "trip". The Mellotron contributes to make this album a highway to a spacey, adventurous journey throw the antique past and the astral nebulous. It sounds a bit like early Tangerine Dream at their most experimental moments (essentially in the visceral , naturalistic "atem"), delivering immersive electronic incantations and abstract visceral atmospheres. "Deadle vers du retour" starts with a brilliant, monotnous melody including electronic keys sounding like a flute, almost pastoral epic acoustic guitars. "Meandres envoutés" is a moody, rather dark, electronic invention, conjugating different synth voices, really weird but always fascinating and introspective. "Arc en lumire" is a marvellous synthesised orchestration for dreamy soundscapes. That is obviously music for the brain and a higher state of consciousness without being mainstream, always bringing to the fore an intelligent sense of harmony. Timeless!
Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars Not being a big fan of Progressive Electronic music I was drawn to this album because of the advertised use of mellotron. Lots of mellotron ! This was the only record that this band from France released, although on my cd there are two bonus tracks which were actually the "A" and "B" sides of a single that was released the year before the album was.

In the liner notes is an introduction that starts off with these words "Think early Franco Battiato, think a chanted cult prayer using mellotrons and oscilators.Think psyche, avant-garde, amateur, proffessional, underground, otherworldly, and you will get FLAMEN DIALIS". I will say that this is a difficult listen that didn't get better even after many painful listens. I found it interesting that the word amateur was used in the introduction, because the electronic keys really sound like they are being played by someone who is just learning to play. I'm sure though that this was on purpose to attain the desired affect. It's really annoying though ! Of course the mellotron is the highlight of this album and it's on all but three of the original album's tracks.

"Derniere Croisade" starts off really good with mellotron, keys and guitar creating a fine melody.The song goes down hill from there. The second song "Le Sanctuaire D'Argile" has chanting on it for the first two minutes."De'dale Vert Du Retour" has pastoral soundscapes as the acoustic guitar is strummed 2 minutes in. The sound builds after 3 minutes. "Meandrea Envoutes" and "Eclosion" blend into each other. The first song mentioned is haunting with keys and wind, while the second song has mellotron and synths as well as some flute and bass later as the song changes. "La Connaissance" has a jazzy intro before we get to drums, keys, flute, mellotron and samples. "Le Village Du Diamanche Matin" has a more uptempo melody with mellotron. "Eclats" is chaotic with various sounds. The first bonus track is catchy as you might imagine a single would be, while the second song is mellotron drenched.

I can't even say this is a good release, rather it's for collectors and fans of Electronic music and mellotron only.

Review by Warthur
3 stars A heavily electronic-based album with strong space rock influence, the sole release by one- album wonders Flamen Dialis reminds me, at its best points, of the best works by the likes of Popol Vuh, or Saucerful of Secrets-era Pink Floyd. However, some of its experiments are repetitive, or irritating, or just outstay their welcome, so it's not a perfect example of the form and there are many better examples of this sort of album. Worth getting if the idea of a mellotron-heavy psych-space freakout album gets you hot under the collar, though even then I suspect this won't get heavy rotation from many listeners.
Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars This one album by French group Flamen Dialis is a crossover between progressive electronic and symphonic prog with almost an ancient Egyptian twist. The symphonic prog element is mainly because of the prominent use of mellotron throughout the album but there is also 12- string guitar, flute, and bass.

Symptome-Dei is a very dark and dirty sounding album, never reaching into the slightest bit of happiness. The music here sounds entirely like a soundtrack for the festival of a Pharaoh because of the Egyptian sounding melodies.

Unfortunately, Symptome-Dei never really gets very interesting because the first three tracks pretty much show everything that this group is capable of, and tracks like "Labyrinth Pourpre De La Connai" simply sound goofy and clownish rather than experimental or entertaining. The synths used on this album sound extremely dated, which is most apparent on "La Village Du Diamanche Matin" which is basically a very silly sounding synth solo that sounds like an attempt at an imperial theme played on a cheap children's Casio keyboard. "Eclats" is a bass-led track that uses random avant string and piano playing that really leads to nowhere and serves no purpose except to add length to the album.

It's sad that Flamen Dialis only recorded this one album, because even though this Symptome-Dei is somewhat disappointing, they show great potential and interesting ideas that could be fleshed out more appropriately on subsequent albums if given the chance. But, as it stands, this album would most likely appeal to fans of Bobby BeauSoleil's Lucifer Rising soundtrack for the similar symphonic prog-meets-prog electronic instrumentation. I've never been a huge fan of mellotron, but I'm sure fans of the instrument will be satisfied with this album as long as they don't mind what is possibly the most dated synth sound recorded.

Review by Guldbamsen
3 stars Toys R' Us vs. Soundtrack of the Pharaoh

Unlike the 4 previous reviews I've done, this one is about a true original - it may even be the very definition of unique. Many say that Flamen Dialis' cult classic Symptome-Dei sounds like an electronic take on Magma, and while I partly agree with such a statement, it is only up to a certain point. Yes, you get a similar form of Teutonic music, a sonic experience bordering on devilish symphonic theatrics, but to me there is a far greater emphasis on old school psychedelics and avant garde touches. A meeting that takes place in ancient Egypt colouring everything in a mythical convoluted haze. I get images of pyramids, labyrinths, sandstorms, camels, flaming hieroglyphs, mummies, flying carpets and desert vipers flickering their tongues in a raspy entrancing manner - keeping the beat strangely cacophonous and wild.

If anything, this should be the wet dream of every mellotron fetishist out there. Symptome-Dei is a regular smorgasbord of wafting breezy emanations. They float around where ever you point your ears at, and stay with you throughout your mystical Egyptian journey. In many ways that mellotron is the main instigator here -it lays down a secure enveloping feel, giving off an almost embryonic touch to the music. Together with the tribal drumming that sounds like a true jungle tom feast - we are never far away from a certain Floydian vibe anno Saucerful of Secrets. Psychedelic, larval, hazy with the poise and grace of an inebriated Neanderthal. Yet here the parallels stop abruptly. Because circumventing everything to do with that ever so floating and soothing expression, is the torrential downpour of bizarre instrumentations. I am struggling here to find the right words for this amalgamation of insanity. Allright, maybe I'll just describe the first track that very aptly conveys the true feel of this album:

First of all you get those beautiful hovering sweeps of mellotron - they walk hand in hand with the tumultuous Nick Mason drums rightly pointing a finger towards Saucerful of Secrets. Right, no big surprise there. Then like a toddler in a suit - or a jolly trombone player at a funeral, - the plastic Toys R' Us synthesiser commences its deranged onslaught. DUIIIIDOOOO DIIIUUUUOOOHHH DIIIHHHH!!! First time I heard this, I broke down in a fit of uncontrollable laughter. It is that overwhelming and inappropriate. Continuing to frolic cacophonous all over the track - it changes pitch, weep and jerk like some mad mental patient who wants back Barbara Cartland's moustache. Then when you've finally come to terms with this strange concoction, a man that seems to have run the marathon prior to this short stint of his - goes berserk on a mouth harmonica in a Bob Dylan kind of way - completely out of breath and out of tune - adding just that ending cataclysmic stubborn clumsiness to a piece that already sports the elegance of an overweight gorilla trying out for Swan Lake...

Symptome-Dei is literally like that in every aspect. On one side you have the overly breezy nature of the mellotrons gently caressing you with sounds of floating feathers and lambskin rubdowns, and then on the other hand that pseudo avant toddler vibe throwing a fit every now and again.

'The fits' are handled by the aforementioned mouth harmonica, Toys R' Us synthesisers and an uncompromisingly childlike and abrasive sheep-heard flute that goes bananas from time to time. I guess this album probably wants to be taken seriously, but most of the time I feel rendered to a mad bizarro world that more than anything makes me chuckle my ass off. Take the wonderful track Eclosion for instance. Starting out with some of the most seductive and vibrant mellotron sways this album has to offer - conveying the same sort of simplicity and beauty you get from Genesis' Watcher of the Skies, - it then transforms completely with the arrival of an insane flute with nervous tendencies. It jumps, circles around in strange unforeseeable patterns that has nothing to do with its surroundings. Final result is that Eclosion ends up in a confused state of mind having thrown everything resembling form and melody straight out the window.

Hard to judge this one, but there are times when I really dig it - times I really get it and feel transported back to ancient Egypt and the Pharaohs, and then there are occasions where I just get annoyed by all the inappropriate commotion........ Approach with caution, even if you only read 'Saucerful of Secrets' and 'mellotron'.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Under the name of Yecta Plus Band begun the journey of multi-instrumentalist Didier Le Gallic in 1971 in England, releasing a single with no success.Returning to France he formed Flamen Dialis in 1976 with L. Le Clech and B.B. L'Helgouach on vocals and T. Tanguy on piano.This quartet released the single ''Decouverte'' in 1978, recorded at Iris Studios, followed by the full-length album ''Symptome Dei'' in 1979.This time the line-up was expanded, featuring also Y.H. Le Gallic on keyboards/vocals, A. Ernouf on flutes/vocals, M. Le Saout on guitar and J.J. Crenn on vocals.Both releases were private pressings on the band's F.L.V.M. label.

The music of Flamen Dialis was a trippy and cosmic Experimental/Prog Rock, based on the principles of Electronic Music but having also strong Folk references.The most notable aspect of their music was the dominant use of Mellotron next to the analog synthesizers, producing acid soundscapes with somewhat abstract patterns and repetitive textures, which seem to aim on creating haunting and deeply experimental images.Moreover their music were highly strengthened by the presence of acoustic guitars and traditional flutes, blending the spacey movements of the synths with the nostalgic sound of the archaic wind sections.Despite most of the members are credited also as singers, the only vocals appearing on this album are some sporadic narrations and a pair of dark choir parts, somewhat close to Gregorian chants.Thus the listening experience is more based on atmosphere and the music overall is quite loose with a free feeling and little structure.Towards the closing tracks ''Symptome dei'' becomes more ethereal with stronger Mellotron washes and dreamier use of synthesizers.

The MIO Records CD reissue features also the two tracks of Flamen Dialis' sole single.''Decouvert'' has a strong ENNIO MORRICONE vibe mixed with TANGERINE DREAM waves through the use of electric guitars, Mellotron and synths, while ''Autre Chose'' is closer to MIKE OLDFIELD with a light symphonic nature surrounding the sharp analog synths and the powerful Mellotron themes.

''Symptome Dei'' is not every music fan's dream, moreover it isn't an every hour listening.Mostly experimental Electronic Prog with a tendency towards abstract, haunting soundscapes, it will propably please only the fans of the style.The MIO Records reissue is recommended, as both the bonus tracks sound stronger than any piece of the normal LP issue...2.5 stars.

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