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Aching Beauty

Progressive Metal

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Aching Beauty L' Ultima Ora album cover
3.66 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Peter Pan Syndrome (1:56)
2. Steps (2:38)
3. Endlessly (2:38)
4. Pairsonality (8:16)
5. Glittering Images (8:55)
6. The Hundredth Name (5:22)
7. Soul's Wrinkles (5:58)
8. Shatter the Shell (6:31)
9. Lost (2:36)
10. Aching Awakening (2:36)
11. Masked Life (4:50)

Total Time 52:16

Line-up / Musicians

- Antoine de Mieulle / drums
- Julien Guillemet / vocals
- Aldric de Montfort / guitars
- Vincent Rémon / bass
- Vincent Paget / keyboards, saxophone

Releases information

CD Brennus (2004)

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ACHING BEAUTY L' Ultima Ora ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(75%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ACHING BEAUTY L' Ultima Ora reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
4 stars Aching Beauty are a very interesting blend of harmonious symphonic prog with a heavy edge to the sound using distorted guitar riffs and heavy bass. The 'L' Ultima Ora' album features some of the best prog metal I have heard in a long time, in a similar style to Dream Theater.

'Peter Pan Syndrome' features a beautiful introduction; an acoustic guitar masterfully executed.

'Steps' rips into a great guitar riff and then settles into beautiful harmonies and strings utilising keyboards. Opeth meets Dream Theater style.

'Endlessly' is a slow melancholy vocal from Guillemet that prepares us for the onslaught of:

'Pairsonality' - this 8 minute mini epic blazes away with jagged metal riffing and then some beautiful piano motifs slice up the wall of sound. A definite highlight featuring a myriad of time signature changes and some very intricate complex metrical patterns.

'Glittering Images' is a long softer acoustic based song, well sung and featuring a heavier chorus with distorted guitars that lingers in the memory. I love the harmonies on this track and the overlayed background vocals. The Chorus is worth quoting here with some interesting lyrics:

I prayed darkness not to come, 'til she reads the scroll and reaches her crown, She prayed the moon not to fall, 'til she finds the one that would wait her for, She prayed the sword not to fall, 'til she gives her son the glitter of the sun, They prayed her son not to fall, 'til he finds the force and reaches for his throne, For his throne,

The track culminates in a blistering keyboard and guitar solo with breakneck speed percussion. Then it settles into the main melody again. The lyrics are powerful:

They thought they could for their own good But no one knew then how it would all end

One thing of note is that the vocals are difficult to understand as they have that French accent and it is obvious that the band struggle with the English interpretation but kudos to them for making this a mainstream release that would appeal to a wider market.

'The Hundredth Name' thunders in with an infectious guitar hook and the ever present keyboard pads soaring in the background. There is the use of chimes in this track too giving it an ethereal quality. The lyrics are deep and powerful:

Rising prophecies, assuring, frightening, comforting, A truth seems to rise from inevitable signs, Or do we see signs where we want to see them? This was written: Those who have intelligence numerate the number, Cause this is a number of man O The Great and The Judge, The Vengeful, The Omniscient, The last of His Names shall prevent us, God's aegis against God's wrath

It is all based on Revelation from the Bible of course - the good old metal theme of Armageddon rises its ugly head again. But Aching Beauty do it with such finesse and beauty one should not mind the heavy handed treatment of the themes.

'Soul's Wrinkles' is another track that segues into the 6 and a half minute 'Shatter the Shell'. I love the riffs in this track but it does not last long before we move back to the tranquil acoustic treatment again. But it comes in intervals, interchanging throughout. So we have some metal and we have some symphonic style metal. This is certainly a highlight of the album. The lyrics are as enigmatic as ever:

Always seek what you are lacking, As a ruthless natural law, Filling the void of your knowledge, Is still not enough, Craving for relief, better crushed than torn apart, Leave a life of regrets

At the end of the track some woman raves on about the treatment of women by men with the scathing comment: 'If men ONLY Knew?'

'Lost' is a short, sweet, soft 2 and a half minute track. The guitar picking style is similar to the beginning of tracks such as Metallica's 'Fight Fire with Fire'. The vocals cry out in agony:

And I try to find my way, wanderer feeling alone And I try to get away, this time I think I'm lost There is a nice wah wah style lead solo that is executed masterfully. 'Aching Awakening' is a segue into 'Masked Life' and it concludes the album on a positive note.

In conclusion, Antoine de Mieulle, Julien, Aldric de Montfort, Vincent Rémon, and Vincent Paget have produced one of the surprise releases of 2004. They were hidden from sight I think in the prog metal world and only have one other 2003 live album to their name and a 2001 EP. I hope they are not finished because this is a knockout debut studio album and well worthy of a listen.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'L'Ultima Ora' - Aching Beauty (8/10)

Hailing from France a few years back, progressive metal act Aching Beauty disappeared almost as soon as they entered the stage. The brevity of their careers robbing them of any real recognition, their short span did leave the world with a great album. 'L'Ultima Ora' delivers a good hour of classic-style progressive metal with beautiful melodic touches all around.

Aching Beauty will be sure to appeal to those that appreciate the technical complexity and instrumental sound of Dream Theater, particularly their first two releases. The vocals however, are much different, and while DT comparisons could be made to this band all day long, the vocal work on 'L'Ultima Ora' gives the music a very classical, European sound to it. Think along the lines of Il Divo or something pop-classical, and transpose the style of the voice onto a progressive metal backdrop.

The melodic sensibility here is of particular note. Crafted here are hooks and memorable, emotive lines of beauty amidst the metal. On that note, Aching Beauty are careful not to overdo things; things never get too heavy, or too one-tracked. There's plenty of variety here.

The album opens with a beautiful acoustic passage before erupting into the first rocker 'Steps.' The first three tracks (while not even being ten minutes altogether) form the first song suite of the album. The band doesn't go anywhere near acheiving their potential in any manner with the next two songs (the third track; 'Endlessly' sounds like a syrupy Josh Groban ballad) but by the time the funky opening bass line of 'Pairsonality' rolls around, its clear that the album is finally getting really, really good. 'Pairsonality' was the first track in the album that really stood out to me, and while its not the total highlight of the album, it would have worked very well as a 'single,' had the band ever gotten so far.

After two good, but ultimately forgettable tracks, 'L'Ultima Ora' finally shines its brightest with the title suite. Composed of the final four tracks, it opens up with a powerful, moving riff of counterpointing keyboards and gutiars before going into the rest of 'Shatter The Shelter,' the darkest, heaviest offering the album has. The middle two parts ('Lost' and 'Aching Awakening') in the suite give the listener an absolutely gorgeous, sometimes heavy instrumental section with a perfect, beautiful guitar solo.

If I could ever ask for a perfectly epic end to an album, the last fleeting moments of 'Masked Life' would be it. The vocals shine here louder then ever, synths are blasting, and many choral counterpoints make for a spectacular end to a great album. As the last triumphant chords erupt, a soft piano outro reprises the finale... Beautiful.

Aching Beauty proves with one album they are talented and creative musicians, although the sound is far too much akin to Dream Theater to really call it 'essential.' However, if only the song 'Aching Awakening' had been applied to their careers, perhaps France would have produced the next great band in prog metal. We'll never know!

Review by b_olariu
3 stars 3.5 really

Aching Beauty is an obscure prog metal band from France with only one album released in 2004 named L'ultima ora, they disbanded in 2007. Well, this is pretty good prog metal with lots of great instrumental passages, for sure the forte of the album, because the vocal parts are only ok, I mean Julien Guillemet has an ok voice but far from what the rest of the members offer. A real plus for the keyboardist, some very catchy and intrsting chops over here. Similar with DT around Falling into infinity era, but is not a bad thing, Aching Beauty really knew to make a pleasent album all the way. Pairsonality or Glittering Images are the best from here, with great hooks, nice breaks and all is neede to be good prog metal pieces. All in all, decent towards great in places, nice cover art. As I said they disbanded in 2007, but their web page is still active, there fans can change few words with the members and aswell the band decided to give their album for free as leagal download. Anyone can grab this little prog metal album from the band web page in digital format , if not then is available on Musea records. 3.5 stars as a whole.

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