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Skeem Skeem album cover
3.79 | 71 ratings | 11 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Good To One Another (6:05)
2. The Last Word (9:08)
3. Trustworthy Man (7:18)
4. Chrysalides (9:29)
5. Eye Of The World (8:59)
6. Statues (7:19)
7. What A Night (7:13)
8. Live Fast (8:54)

Total Time: 64:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Serge Barbaro / lead vocals, keyboards, guitars
- Berny Barbaro / keyboards
- Fabrice Rives / keyboards
- Bertrand Hulin-Bertaud / bass
- Emma M / drums
- Cathy Lully Croux / backing vocals
- Sabrina Bendjema / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Mark Eaton

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4420.AR (2001, France)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SKEEM Skeem ratings distribution

(71 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

SKEEM Skeem reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progrules
5 stars I got to know Skeem thanks to progarchives by listening to the "stream-song" The last word. I was enthousiastic immidiately mainly because of the great guitar solo. Skeem is not really the best known band in the Netherlands but I had to buy it. Fortunately I found it in some store and found out the rest was just about of the same quality. The one song that stands out from the rest to me is "Chrysalides" which is one of the best songs I know.

The other songs are hardly any less and so this is almost a perfect album to me. Great melodies and superb instrumental performances and that combined with my great love for the neo progressive genre forces me to give this the full 5 stars.

Unfortunately I don't know too much about Skeem such as: why has this band only made one album ? We want more !!!!!!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What a delightful little surprise (though I purchased this in large part due to the PA stream of "The Last Word" which left me "word"less), a shimmering set of attractive prog pieces (set in the "neo" camp), led by the Barbaro brothers Serge and Benny, aided and abetted by the Priam rhythm section (fellow French band known for a more heavy prog-fusion style). The vocals are absolutely first rate, in fact some of the best ever recorded from France, Serge owning a strong and vivid set of pipes that resonate a sense of purpose and passion. All the remaining tracks are first rate, with exceptional playing: densely fluid keyboards, expressive lead guitar leads and supremely tight bass and drums. The cover art is sublime, the production remarkable and the 8 tracks are never below 6 minutes or over 10, so it's an evenly paced package that is hard to slam or dislike. Seemingly all of my fellow PA reviewers agree: this is a fine, fine example of Neoprog done right. Looking forward to another future release. 5 planetes
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I was slow to warm up to this one, but have finally come to at least appreciate their talent. Strong vocals with dual keyboards are the focus here.The band are from France, the vocals are in English. I wish the guitar was more prominant, because the highlights for me all pretty much involve the guitar work. I must say the sound is perfect, in fact crystal clear on this album.

"Give To One Another" is my favourite track on the album. It's a mid paced, laid back tune with atmospheric keys and some nice guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. "The Last Word" contrasts heavier sections with background synths to the brighter passages with soaring vocals. The guitar solo 5 1/2 minutes in is good, the one 2 minutes later is better. Overall i'm not sold on this one, but I am on that final guitar solo. Haha. "Trustworthy Man" is uptempo with vocals a minute in. This one reminds me of the eighties (I was there). Again the best parts involve the guitar at 3 1/2 and 5 minutes in. Not a fan of this one. "Chrysalides" opens with some good atmosphere. It reminds me of "Seasons End" actually. Then unfortunately it changes before 2 minutes as it kicks into a higher gear. Some soaring guitar 4 1/2 minutes in. Vocals are the focus on this one. More great guitar before 7 1/2 minutes.

"Eye Of The World" is spacey to start with as marching style drums come in. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. Guitar 7 minutes in is a treat. "Statues" is an uptempo, eighties sounding song. It's fun though. Some good bass before 4 1/2 minutes. The guitar is prominant before 6 minutes and then back to the pop. "What A Night" is ballad-like to open. It picks up a notch 1 1/2 minutes in. This contrast continues. One of the better songs. "Live Fast" has this good heavy sound. The tempo picks up on the chorus. Lots of synths on this one.

The album cover is interesting with the picture of this young lady with sunglasses on. If you look into her sunglasses you can see she's looking at a big explosion. Unfortunately the music isn't quite that exciting or moving in my opinion. Although they do have a pleasant sound with good vocals.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Delightful neo prog combo from France! I want to send my regards to Progrules who recommended me this band. I was quite surprised by their sound, very tasteful and melodic, really captivating. It took me a while to really get into this one, but when it did, I was hooked and I've heard this CD many times after. Some tracks seems to lean toward a more AOR oriented path, but that's deceptive, for the record is definitly progressive.

Skeem is mainly a project of Serge Barbaro, who plays all guitars and is a fine singer and songwriter. I loved his soaring guitar lines. The dual keyabords are a nice touch and the rhythm sectiom is precise. Some tracks are obviously better than the others, but there are no fillers here. My favorite is 9 minute prog trip Chrysalides, with its hauting keyboards lines and great guitar solos. I also should pint out the progressive ballad What a Night. Production is very good. and teh Cd is very well balanced

If you're into neo prog this is a must have. I'd love to hear more from this band. I hope Barbaro is using all this time since their debut's release to write new stuff from this little known, but very good group. Four solid stars. Excellent addition to my collection!

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Skeem is a neo prog band from France relaseing so far a single album in 2001 at Musea records selftitled. This album took me by surprise, because I dind't expect to be so good. Neo prog is style of Jadis, Iq but concentrated more on vocal department but also the keyboards have an important role here. The voice is very ok in english sung, it doesn't sounds with that typical french accent, Serge Barbaro manage to come with a strong album, he is the main song writting and the chief of the band. So the music is very strong, not boring at all, very much alive with balls, up tempo with less slower moments, some fantastic keyboards arrangements make from this album a total winner and among the best neo prog album available from early '00. The music is similar with for ex Clepsydra, Jadis or to some dutch bands from same genre like Ywis or US, but Skeem done it better then any Jadis album, to tell the truth and in one album only. Pieces are long, enough to show that each musician knows the instrument pretty well, the great ex of super neo prog are :Statues, Eye Of The World and Chrysalides. A very good album from neo prog with a lot to offer, maybe little unknow, it doesn't seems to be in top this band with their album, but worth be investigated fr sure. 4 stars easy, recommended , you will have a pleasent surprise.
Review by Gerinski
3 stars A real pitty, this could have been a 4.5 star Neo album and it fails for just one reason.

This short-lived french band plays a top-level archetypal Neo-Prog, very similar to Jadis to the point that I am tempted to say that it's a Jadis clone, not the least because Serge Barbaro guitar sounds nearly identical to Gary Chandler's and his voice is also similar, but there are also hints of IQ, Saga and other typical Neo sounds. In any case this album is in most respects every bit as good as any by the big names in the british or american Neo scene. The band sounds tight, the playing is competent, the production is very good and the composition is for the most part excellent. For the most part.

The album starts very well with "Good To One Another" which sounds very much like Jadis with a bit of Saga and "The Last Word" which has a riff more similar to the old Arena.

So far so good, but as from the third track things start to shift. "Trustworthy Man" starts again very well with a great powerful instrumental introduction, the vocal verse section is also good, but then the chorus section is pure mainstream AOR, dangerously close to something which could have been done by the Scorpions. My god what are they doing? This is too bad because then we have an excellent long instrumental middle section, but unfortunately we get again the awful chorus for ending.

As from here this becomes a recurring pattern in nearly every other song: great introduction, poppy but reasonably good verse section but then the chorus is too mainstream. We get some very good instrumental middle section and return to the verse and mainstream chorus. Only "Chysalides" escapes a bit from this description, a mid-tempo song which remains Jadis-like all the way.

So there you have it, it's only those excessively mainstream chorus sections which put me off about this album. A real shame because we have also really great sections, such as the long instrumental interplay at the end of "Live Fast". All the instrumental parts are great in fact. Sure, Jadis themselves and other Neo bands make also very melodic music and get sometimes close to mainstream, but Skeem go just that bit too far, even if only in the chorus phrases.

As I said before, the voice of Serge Barbaro is similar to Gary Chandler but better, more powerful and with more tonal range. His english pronunciation is also more than good enough. It's a very good lead voice, but it's not prog-sounding, this guy could have perfectly sung in bands like Spandau Ballet or stuff like that. Which of course makes these mainstream chorusses sound even more mainstream. Same with the double female backing vocals, they are a double-edged sword: they can give the music a nice depth, but in the mainstream sections they just make them sound even more mainstream.

There's a lot of good stuff in here and it's definitely worth the buy, it's just a pitty that for such little margin it fails to be the great album it could have been.

4 stars for Neo fans, 3 stars within Prog as a whole.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Skeem deliver what is on the whole a fun, diverting, but not particularly memorable neo-prog album in a fairly typical vein - a Marillion-imitating style which reminds me in parts of Clepsydra. The performances are reasonable and the compositions are alright, but there isn't quite enough bite to it to really engage me, and nor do the band manage to create a work which is really emotionally compelling. The album doesn't seem to have been made with any particular statement or aesthetic in mind beyond "let's prove to the world we can play a bit like Marillion". Sure, they can, but rote imitation isn't a skill to be proud of.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This French project was an idea of guitarist/keyboardist/singer Serge Barbaro, who had composed some good amount of music by late-90's and eventually he found Mark Eaton, who's lyrics dressed Barbaro's compositions.The execution of these pieces would become true a few years later, when Barbaro formed Skeem with keyboardists Berny Barbaro and Fabrice Rives and bringing over the solid rhythm section of Priam, drummer Emma M. and bassist Bertrand Hulin-Bertaud.The album was recorded in Serge Barbaro's hometown, Toulouse, and it was picked up for release and distribution by Musea Records.

Skeem played a rich, melodic and often bombastic Neo Prog akin to CLEPSYDRA, IQ and JADIS, where emotions meet grandieur, music that passes through angular keyboard acrobatics to laid-back atmospheres and from expressive singing to powerful grooves.Most of the tracks feature accesible structures, big symphonic keyboards and a style drawing inspirations from the 80's British Prog movement.The marching bass lines is very close to IQ's Tim Esau, but the music is certainly less keyboard-driven despite the presence of three keyboard players.As Serge Barbaro was primarly a guitar player and all compositions are credited to him, the album appears to be nicely balanced between his interesting guitar work (sharp lead parts, strong soloing and heavier riffs) and the sometimes pompous keyboard themes, including monster solo fanfares and even huge, orchestral washes.However the result is very unoriginal and at moments pretentious with Barbaro's accented vocals being of an acquired taste.All tracks are long, easy-flowing and well-structured, despite the minimal doses of strong risks, with some very good melodies and waves of positive energy.A couple of more sensitive and relaxed pieces are thrown in for good measure, featuring more emotional vocal performances and some quite dreamy CLEPSYDRA-like keyboard lines.

This is very good Neo Prog, following the lines of the pioneer British acts of the style.Passionate singing, semi-symphonic keyboards and varied guitar work.Although struggling to come up with a sound of its own, ''Skeem'' is still an album which will be loved by fans of the genre.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Original band from France lead by Serge Barbaro. Their style remember some hard rock band of the '80 based on synth like Europe of "Final Countdown" but progressive oriented and with a touch of fusion for the work of keyboards. In this album i don't see any Marillion and Jadis influence like someone ... (read more)

Report this review (#293112) | Posted by Aragon | Monday, August 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very strange record, but obviously excellent. Strange from one very important reason, first a fall it doesn't sounds like progressive music. Skeem reminds me glam-metal from late 80's , voice like Robin McAuley's or Joey Tempest's, all the tracks are quite long, 6+ minutes. One think which gettin ... (read more)

Report this review (#165463) | Posted by Bkrzyz | Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very impressed - excellent stuff. Again I got this based on the reviews on this site, and was not disappointed. A very tight unit ably supported with good vocals, remeniscent of Bernie Shaw when he graced Grand Prix in 1980, in fact the song style is also quite similar. the album reminds me vagu ... (read more)

Report this review (#150159) | Posted by huge | Sunday, November 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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