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Dionysos Le Grand Jeu album cover
3.20 | 25 ratings | 3 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Narcotique (12:16)
2. Suzie (6:20)
3. La colère (5:10)
4. L'âge du chlore (8:39)
5. L'âge d'or (6:27)
6. Agneau de Dieu (6:29)

Total Time 45:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul André Thibert / vocals, hamornica and flute
- Robert Lepage / percussion & drums
- Éric Clément / guitar
- Jean-Pierre Legault / bass
- André Mathieu / organ

Thanks to Ricochet for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DIONYSOS Le Grand Jeu ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

DIONYSOS Le Grand Jeu reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

One of Quebec's earliest and most historically important albums is Dionysos' debut called Le Grand Jeu (referring to life's big play/game), along with Frank Dervieux's Dimension M, because of its use of the Quebec-French singing and even if the prog contents are relatively low, this is definitely a proggish blues-rock album.

Dionysos is a quintet (the usual prog quartet plus leader Thibert on vocals and wind instruments) that develops a relatively conventional hard blues-rock with the usual prog traits (all tracks between 5 and 12 minutes) of the early 70's. Organ-driven, filled with searing and soaring guitar leads, the odd flute and the then-surprising Joual vocals (the local French dialect was not really fully accepted in 1970 in arts) and an intriguing gatefold artwork the inside being fairly naïve/childish though.

With the opening12-min+ Narcotique is a typical Dionysos blues-based track, but comes with plenty of drama, interplay, interludes and changes of tempo, but it will not raise the hair from your arms. Suzie is a good standard 12-bar Blues with no surprise and therefore a bit boring. La Colère is a fuzz guitar piece that tries to emulate anger, but I must say that it is not entirely convincing either. Thibert's voice is a fairly typical one for Quebec's Joual singing (somewhere between Charlebois, Octobre's Flynn and Offenbach's lead singer.

Much more interesting is the 8-min+ L'Age Du Chlore, an up-tempo affair evenly shared between organ and guitar reminiscent of Purple in their proggier moments and even The Nice, due to Mathieu's presence. But the better has yet to come with the mid- tempo instrumental L'Age D'Or where the flute fights the guitar for supremacy early on, with the organ lurking just under, underlined by the efficient drumming until the flute seems to win and the track strangely fading out, to come back more energetic with a vengeful guitar. The album closes on the Agneau De Dieu (god's lamb), another hard driving organ-dominated rocker where Clement's riffy guitar is the main feature, especially in its middle section, where he hints at some Frippian tricks.

While this review was made from a loaned (thanks JM ;-) Spanish bootleg CD, I can't remember if the original vinyl presented the same sonic flaws (sounds like it was done from a so-so vinyl) as the pirate, but beware of this issue should you want to investigate the band. While hardly essential to most progheads, this early Quebec prog album is nevertheless an important step in La Belle Province's rise to greatness.

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ah, the 70s ... the grand Epannouissement of the Francophone culture in Quebec. No longer limited or interested in french covers of English pop hits, many of the province's musicians are turning to more musically challenging styles.

Dionysos are among those. For those who also have heard of the first Offenbach albums, this one will likely appeal to you.

For those who don't know much about the then Quebec scene, the point of reference would be a more organ based harder version of the MKI Deep Purple and early Uriah Heep. Even Atomic Rooster can be used as a comparison.

As Sean has mentioned, the music here has firm roots in the blues & rock. But there is that extra something that takes it beyond your basic 12 bar boogie compositions.

For Quebec, Dionysos and other such groups were part of their own wave of progressive bands that were taking over the scene. For those outside the province, this album also stands in good stead with much of the heavy prog of the time.

Conclusion - Worth it for lovers of Heavy B3, especially if you come across a good deal. Not necessary, but good to have when you consider that they don't really make this kind of music any more. If you know what I mean ...

Review by FragileKings
3 stars The Rock Progressif Quebecois movement hit its zenith around 1976/77 with a lot of bands releasing some of their best work or their only albums during these two years. However, the Quebec prog scene goes back to the late sixties when, as with other places in the world, the psychedelic period was giving birth to a new breed of music that would grow out of the nebulous haze of fuzz-toned guitars, swirling organs, and synchopated jazz-influenced drumming. Dionysos are said to be one of the first bands to begin singing solely in French and their 1971 debut sees them planted firmly in the heavy psychedelic scene.

To sum up the music on this album is pretty simple: imagine 1967/68 heavy rocking Vanilla Fudge along with other contemporary bands who relied on lots of organ and guitar distortion. There's a strong blues element that rears its head frequently enough but also, very interestingly, a noticeable proto-metal element as well. The actual prog-as-we-know-it style from England that would pervade the music scene in Quebec in a few years time is not to be found here. Instead, you can expect typical lengthy organ and guitar solos, most blatant in "L'age du chlore" with a long organ solo but also apparent in "Agneau de dieu" and "Narcotique". The songs are not without some advanced take on song structure but still a barely recognizable ancestor to the likes of bands that would germinate in Quebec soil over the forthcoming years.

As such, there are things to like about this album and other things that are not so impressive. "Narcotique" at over 12 minutes would seem to be the big prog production number here but it swims around in an ocean of heavy psych so that even the prog sensibilites that show through in their nascent stages are still cloaked in some rather standard psychedelic adventurism. "Suzie" is a song that I read somewhere got the band some recognition but it strikes me as being one of those generic Led Zeppelin-ish heavy blues songs that doesn't come across very well on a studio album, though compliments should be paid to Paul Andre Thibert for his very sincere post-Woodstock blues vocal work.

For my personal preferences, "L'age d'or" gets some points for being a two-part instrumental featuring both a quieter and somewhat reminiscently renaissance half and more rocking and grooving half, and "La colere" is worthy of mention for its crunchy fuzz tone guitar and groovy organ.

The star of the show in my books, however, is the proto-doom metal album closer "Agneau de dieu". Again a song in two parts, the first part is heavy enough with some notable Iommi-isms in the guitar soloing. But wait until you get to second half of this song when it becomes so flipping heavy and chock full of distortion that you'll do well to watch slow-motion footage of Mt. Saint Helens exploding while listening to this. If you have a fetish for early very heavy music like I do, this part will probably leave you flat out on the floor with your chest heaving. The killer move is when Thibalt shouts out, "Et je mourir!" as the music comes crashing down like real heavy metal thunder. An awesome proto-metal track!

Though Dionysos's albums are pretty rare, the debut is easily available on CD. The one real complaint might be the sound quality of this CD as it seems the master was a reasonably good piece of vinyl and nothing better. So there are lots of pops and scratches and the usual hiss that comes when a CD is produced from a vinyl master. I find though that it is not so bothersome as it rather suits the music, especially the copious fuzz tone used on the guitar in certain tracks.

I can't say I highly recommend it as a prog album, but as proto-prog and proto-metal, and as a heavy psych album, it's quite good and should appeal to fans of this type of music.

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