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XII Alfonso

Symphonic Prog

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XII Alfonso Under album cover
2.40 | 21 ratings | 3 reviews | 14% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Underlifetime (5:16)
2. Underevolution (3:11)
3. Underknowledge (2:51)
4. Underprogress (6:28)
5. Undermemories (3:06)
6. Underknowledge (4:06)
7. Underbark (2:43)
8. Underatom (7:18)
9. Undersky (5:28)
10. Underbark (3:33)
11. Underlifetime (4:18)
12. Understones (4:50)
13. Underdream Part 1 (5:10)
14. Underdream Part 2 (4:25)

Total Time 62:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Philippe Claerhout / guitars, bass
- Francois Claerhout / programming, percussions, keyboards
- Michael Geyre / piano, keyboards
- Thierry Moreno / drums, percussions

Releases information

CD Musea Records FGBG 4814 (2009)

Thanks to steff for the addition
and to proglucky for the last updates
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XII ALFONSO Under ratings distribution

(21 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

XII ALFONSO Under reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Epignosis
1 stars Not really a symphonic rock album in any respect, XII Alfonso's sixth studio album is a generic blend of electronic, jazz, and ambient music, with a few solos of various instruments here and there, and burdened with sound effects. Largely placid with precious few variations in each piece, this album mainly functions as substandard background music.

"Under Lifetime" The album begins with what sounds like an old television program beginning. What follows is soft instrumentation, almost fluid in execution. Ultimately, it is very similar to Sim City 4 music- making it the best track on the album.

"Under Evolution" Gentle acoustic guitar and whimsically breathy synthesizer make up this pleasant, if unexciting piece. The vocal cries are outlandish and almost ruin the delicate flow.

"Under Knowledge" Lingering percussion introduces slow electric piano runs. This terse piece fuses electronic music with tantalizing classical guitar.

"Under Progress" Thick aquatic noises plop over airy synthesizer. Electronic drums and classical guitar soon join in. After a cartoon-like interlude, the music resumes, but never really progresses.

"Under Memories" Over atmospheric synthesizer, there is a strange, vintage-sounding conversation between a young boy and a man.

"Under Knowledge (Reprise)" Twice as long as the first part, this begins with what sounds like an old television news broadcast, complete with a "signing-on" brass piece and white noise. The music proper features jazzy electric piano and guitar.

"Under Bark" This piece melds several exotic influences, most notably traditional Chinese and Celtic music- an interesting unification in theory, but ends up being rather nebulous background music.

"Under Atom" Sinister tones envelop a musical box plinking out "Silent Night," followed by another news broadcast describing the A-bomb's devastation of Hiroshima. The organ solo that follows may very well be one highlight of the album. The move from the first half to the second half lacks a proper transition- things basically cease and then pick up again. The second half does boast a warm build with gritty electric guitars juxtaposed with classical guitar, smooth bass, and lonesome synthesizer.

"Under Sky" Featuring both electric and acoustic guitar soloing, this piece fuses some exotic elements with rock sensibilities. There are clear, well-managed motifs here, which buoy the track and keep it from sinking into boredom.

"Under Bark (Reprise)" One of the better tracks, this has thick percussion and bright electric guitar. It also features an Oriental vibe, and maintains light synthetic instrumentation throughout.

"Under Lifetime" Heavy electric guitar and organ make up the backing of this more upbeat piece. It suddenly slows down, making for more atmospheric listening in keeping with the mood of the rest of the album.

"Under Stones" More docile music, mostly from soothing percussion, electric guitar, and synthesizer, create this unremarkable piece. Inexplicably, the most famous excerpt of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most famous speech ends the track.

"Under Dream Part 1" Slightly thicker, this track has more shimmering electric guitar and synthesizers, but sadly introduces nothing new. The "I Have a Dream" speech returns over minimal music.

"Under Dream Part 2" Acoustic and electric guitar joins more subdued synthetic tones and Martin Luther King, Jr. While far superior musically to the first part, I still find it wanting on several levels. Fortunately, the dual electric guitar work keeps the piece fresh, but then another seemingly random "broadcast," this time something to do with dentistry, concludes the album.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars Even not going to give exaggerated rating myself, I have to disagree with you Robert. It is by no means great Prog album, because it simply fails to possess its advantages (that are more heart ' n ' feeling matter than anything proof ' n ' factual like), but it also isn't complete disaster. And again yes, it's far worse than their previous releases. And (I feel like in a row of "yes man" admits) yes, there is a lot of ambient stuff, some sampled material (voices like from TV series, or something like that). You also have to feel familiar with dreamy atmospheres to enjoy this more. But still, it fits me enough (or more like not bad enough to give less) to

3(-), because that's fair for me when I do it this way. There are glimpses of "better worlds", not full-time windows to them. Yep, I feel this Sim City vibe too.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars The last album from this French band to date, shares as little properties with the symphonic genre than all its predecessors.

You can name it jazzy, ambient or whatever you like; but not symphonic prog. I have not been a passionate fan of their albums: from their debut ("The Lost Frontier") to the "Monet" saga; I have rated their albums with two stars. And this one falls in the same category.

Some synthetic electro beats during "Progress" aren't any of my liking to be honest and I was not really expecting this sort of music under the symph prog umbrella. But "XII Alfonso" is hard to categorize (eclectic maybe). This album is "under" expectations (although they were not high as far as I was concerned).

Repetitive and without passion: that's what we get here ("Knowledge I & II", "Memories" etc.). To name them all would be like naming each track of this work. IMHHO, very few fans form the symphonic genre could be coping with the music offered on this "Under" album.

Nothing worth more than two stars. As each of their previous albums actually.

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