Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ange Caricatures album cover
3.79 | 161 ratings | 17 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy ANGE Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Biafra 80 (Intro) (3:50)
2. Tels Quels (6:55)
3. Dignité (9:35)
4. Le Soir Du Diable (4:32)
5. Caricatures (12:46)
6. Biafra 80 (Final) (2:22)

Total Time: 40:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Christian Décamps / lead vocals, Hammond, piano
- Jean-Michel Brézovar / electric & acoustic guitars, flute, vocals
- Francis Décamps / organ special effects
- Daniel Haas / bass guitar
- Gérard Jelsch / drums, percussion

Releases information

LP Philips ‎- 6332 066 (1972, France)

CD Disques Marianne ‎- 81703-2 (1989, France)
CD Musea ‎- FGBG 2112 (2009, France)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy ANGE Caricatures Music

ANGE Caricatures ratings distribution

(161 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ANGE Caricatures reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars This is the first album by the legendary and pivotal French progrock band Ange. It has a typical Seventies sound, very dated but also unique and captivating.

1. Biafra 80 (Intro) (3:50) : This first song is instrumental, it contains a slow rhtyhm and a bit ominous atmosphere featuring delicate organ and Mellotron waves and some fiery electric guitar, very compelling prog!

2. Tels Quels (6:55) : In this track we can enjoy the typical Ange sound: theatrical and expressive French, very distinctive vocals from Christian Decamps and frequently changing climates, from dreamy or catchy to fiery or bombastic with often a psychedelic undertone and some biting wah-wah drenched guitar soli.

3. Dignité (9:35) : This composition alternates between a slow rhythm with mellow organ waves and story telling-like vocals and a cheerful climate with propulsive drums and catchy organ runs (like on "Act one" from BEGGAR'S OPERA), halfway interrupted by an interlude with classical piano and flute.

4. Le soir du Diable (4:32) : This is a beautiful blend of twanging acoustic guitar, warm vocals, soft drum beats and slow organ waves, what an original prog!

5. Caricatures (12:46) : The epic titletrack starts with a theatrical spoken intro, then lots of shifting moods featuring a lush keyboard sound (lots of organ and some Mellotron and piano), fiery electric guitar and expressive French vocals. This compelling and alternating prog inspired so many French progrock bands!

6. Biafra 80 (Final) (2:22) : The final track features lots of strange sounds and experimental music on percussion, flute, organ and guitar, a bit weird way so say goodbey....


Review by ZowieZiggy
5 stars The first time I listened to this album it was at my cousin's place on a remote day (I think it was in April, 1974). I was completely blown out with the incredible music I discovered. The comparison with Genesis was obvious of course, but not only.

The tortured mood, at times grotesque, of their lead vocalist Chistian Décamps is another of their constancy. Their lyrics are very complex, rude, sexually oriented and extremely vulgar, hence funny. They will even dare to publish them. To mark their distances with this aspect of the band, the record company will mention of the back of the sleeve (I translate) : "Only the authors of these words are responsible for their lyrics".

Ange is enormous in ... France (and well-known in Belgium, maybe in French Canda or Switzerland but I do not know about the later ones). If they didn't do an international career as they would have deserved, it is definitely because they voluntarily have chosen French for their lyrics. And not those ones you can easily understand. No, very complex ones.

The opener "Biafra 80 Introduction" is a pure Krimson song. Dark, heavy but melodious at the same time. This short intro sets the pace for a great prog rock album. It goes on the same mood with "Tels Quels". Almost jazzy for most of the time, KC is again not far away. Very complex structure with rather bizarre lyrics.

The next number, filled me with a bit of anger when I first listened to it that very ancient day. I said : "Damned, they copied "The Battle Of Epping Forest" ! Then my cousin showed me the sleeve. This song had been written way before "Epping"... So, it was a bit of reverse engeneering ...

The lyrics of this song are very rude. This will be another trademark of Ange. Very funny text, but totally irrespectuous. In this case they discuss about chastety, homosexuals, virgins. There will be an incredebly nice flute and piano passage : we are brought instantly in the "Trespass" mood without doubt. But what a nice moment. It turns into a great guitar break for the finale. You know like in "Firth" more than a year later... The best track of this very good album.

"Le Soir Du Diable" opens on a gentle acoustic guitar piece like in "Horizons" for instance. Good percussion work from Gérald Jelsch. It is not the best number of the album, but it is a nice transition number. Other bands also produced some shorter and transitional numbers on their albums, right ? The lyrics are absolutely insane. I wonder who's the craziest lyricist : Gabriel or Décamps ?

Some attempt to translation (difficult excercise, I can tell you even if my mother tongue is French) : "And I'm sucking my blood, Believing I'm sucking time, I'm like a vulture stuffing with his entrails". But all of their lyrics are like that. Absolutely disjointed.

"Caricatures" has a medieval architecture. But this is also an integrant part of the world of Ange. After a short recitation, this long number is almost all-instrumental. Tranquil at times, during some moments it will get as weird as Crimson (or Yes maybe) could be. Superb contrast. The same text will be sung at the end of the track, on a very subtle keys background. Another highlight.

We"ll go back to the start of the album with the short closing number "Biafra 80 Finale". Again this is totally Crimson inspired.

This first album of Ange is IMO a great symphonic moment. Should it be in English I am sure lots of people would praise this work as much as I do. If you are fan of the early Genesis (and there are a few of those ones on this site I guess) and the early Crimson sound (might also be some around the corner), this album is a must listen, really.

I will be generous with this release and add a little star to the four ones it surely deserves, just to do justice to Ange. To have produced such a brilliant album in 1972 is extraordinary.

Five stars. Bravo.

Review by laplace
3 stars A rather exuberant and silly album, "Caricatures" offers a glimpse of symphonic rock that's still tuned-in to fuzzy, unpolished psychedelia and bursts with personality. Some of the songs may surprise - often because of the inventiveness of the songs considering the album's early release year, and at others because of the sheer audacity of the lyrics. We're bookcased by murky, dark introductions, but the album is ultimately great fun!

"Tels Quels" is a jumpy, repetitious little number, full of uncosy timing and impatient singing - such a remarkable slice of musical and lyrical nonsense and greatly enjoyable. From that point onwards, the album gets much more lush and deep, treating us to songs with warm organ and acoustic guitar backbones. "Dignite" is a lengthy, melodic piece, sustained by positivity and is sung anthemically, reminding this reviewer of symphonic italian bands such as Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, although the song itself could be twinned with many by Genesis. "Le Soir du Diable" is all bardic twanging and the rumple of acoustic toms - perhaps overlong but with a sumptuous atmosphere.

As for the title track, well... it's pure theatre, opening with an impassioned monologue, smoothly introducing symphonic instrumentation which shortly combine to become an urgent force, uncannily as if recorded by evil, parallel-universe Yes. Once the pace settles, we're "treated" to rock'n'roll chords over which a rather silly and predictable organ solo surfs, but don't be disheartened - it appears to be part of the plan! Next comes a medieval military theme with pounding percussion, ushered on by the occasional electric motif, before a chaotic segment that hops between filmic urgency and swinging jazz-blues lead breaks... oh dear, I knew this would be impossible to describe. It's safe to say that this unique piece is telling a story by describing the backdrops in music; interpretation of the specifics still seems to be left up to the listener.

This is not an earth-shattering desert island disc by any means, and it sounds relatively dated now - but it's full of surprises and it's a great introduction to the world of Ange.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ange was a nice surprise for me, as I hadn´t expected too much, knowing that this was a french band. I got over my own prejudises though and bought the album. I never imagined that I would like anything by a band singing in french, but I was wrong.

The music on this debut album from Ange is very inspired by Genesis circa Nyrsery cryme. The sound quality is just as bad as that one unfortunately. It doesn´t ruin the music though, as this is great prog rock, that even though it is inspired very much by Genesis doesn´t steal from them.

Singer Christian Decamps has a lot of different approaches to singing and it keeps the music interesting throughout. What I like the most though are the keyboards and the piano, what sweet melodies they create. The rythm section is very tight and produces some exciting rythms.

The reason for only giving this one 3 stars, when I am this happy about album, is that I don´t understand a word they sing, and I don´t find french to be a very nice language to sing in. So I guess my prejudises weren´t exactly wrong. But try this out yourself, it might not bother you as much as it bothers me. It is a very good prog rock album though, and I would recommend this to every prog head ( especially Genesis fans).

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ange's first two albums don't come with the highest recommendations from Ange fans but I've always had a soft spot for them. No, not a soft spot, absolute adoration! More so then for their later works, which are more polished, more professional probably, but lack the harsh and slightly darker sound that prevails here. Yes, if you want, call me a fan of the dark and the dramatic.

Ange is often compared to Genesis but when I hear the first bars of Biafra, I would go a bit further back in time to Van Der Graaf's atmospheres of their sophomore effort: dark, brooding and theatrical. The tempo steps up a notch when the guitars kick in. Powerful instrumental.

If there's one complaint about this album it would be the production. Like all tracks, also Tel Quels suffers from the muddy mix. It's an excellent song but its start-stop structure just screams for a more dynamic sound. They make it up by giving their ultimate best though.

As you've guessed from the titles, Ange sings in French, which may take you some effort if you're not used to it and which will make you miss out on the lyrics if that is an important element for you. But they do it so beautifully and expressively (and in the most beautiful language of the world :) that it is an asset and certainly not a weakness.

Not only their lyrics are French, also their musical roots are. You will surely hear echoes of King Crimson and Genesis in this music because those are the influences you're likely to know well. But at the heart they sing French chanson, be it extended to proggy lengths. La Dignité is an excellent example of that, with a Christian Dechamps that sounds very confident on the vocals and proves he's a worthy French incarnation of the Hammill / Gabriel type of theatrical vocals.

Le Soir du Diable is a wonderful little dreamy-dark ballad which sure must have inspired the Swedish prog scene of the 90-ties. Caricatures is the next extended piece here, over the top theatrical, disjointed and slightly directionless but oh my do I love this one. Very big early VDGG feel again with those heavy organs and mellotrons.

It's sure indebted to Genesis and King Crimson but it is not just blind adoration. I have always found this band to sound very original and entirely at ease with themselves. Often overlooked, this debut is my preferred Ange album and one of my favourites of the symphonic prog sub-genre.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars actually...

Maybe the strongest name of French progressive rock,ANGE were found in late 1969 by brothers Christian (vocals,keys) and Francis Decamps (keys) in Belfrot,exactly at a time, when progressive rock was at its dawn in France, with bands like ''Dynastie Crisis'',''Ame Son'' or ''Alice'' releasing their first Proto-Prog albums.However, ANGE wanted to give much of a theatrical and satirical content in their music, obviously influenced by the emerging GENESIS sound.Original line-up included also Daniel Haas on,bass,Gerald Jelsch on drums and Jean- Michel Brezovar on guitars.First album comes out in 1972 with the title ''Caricatures'',having two puppets and the band members between them on the front cover.

The album should have been be really a shock for French listeners: a dramatic,theatrical and dark-sounding rock form filled with haunting keyboards and intense vocals.Decamps not only sings in a dramatic,theatrical way,but he also speaks,laughs,cries out and generally behaves more than an actor than a rock frontman,something trully original for a French rock band.The music is supported by a muddy production,which followed ANGE throughout their career as a characteristic of their sound.In ''Caricatures'' symphonic arrangements meet with Classical keyboards,obscure singing and special effects to create a unique atmosphere.The organ solos and passages,often with Baroque influences,are all over the place,sometimes recalling GENESIS,at moments their sound is close to E.L.P. or TRIUMVIRAT.Pianos aren't used often,but when they enter,the album obtains a delicate romantic flavor.Brezovar's both electric and acoustic guitars accompany Decamps' keyboards all the way,having a definite dated,almost psychedelic sound,which surprisingly works excellent with the whole concept.

France's answer to GENESIS were ANGE,and ANGE were here to stay!''Caricatures'' is an album which balances dangerously between drama and romance,tragedy and comedy,the good and the bad...For that reason you should give this band a chance,already from their early years...Very good Symphonic Prog indeed!

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Just line Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes, Ange was one of those French groups where the labels disclaimed reasonability for the things said in the lyrics. Although Ange was formed two years before the release of their debut album, they were the result of melting Les Anges and Evolution into a special concert-spectacle in front of 1000 people for La Fantastique Epopée Du Général Machin ? knowing the Descamps bros, De Gaulle was probably aimed at ? but I have no idea if this was ever committed to tapes and released. If Jelsch and Brézovar were part of that adventure, as were the two Descamps brothers, the group changed bassist and Daniel Haas came in before the debut. When Caricatures did come out, the band had gained much confidence and was playing some bizarre French-sung symphonic prog with major dramatics and a certain medieval slant.

After the bizarre Crimsonian Biafra 80 (Biafra was the first televised/broadcasted African famine), the album plunges in deep with the schizophrenic Tels Quels, a repetititve slow-fast track that plays on words, but also overstays its welcome. The almost 10-mins Dignité is a very much symphonic with the two brothers on organs/piano and Brezo on flute and Brezo's guitar all working together on a medieval tone.

Opening the flipside opens with the superb le Soir Du Diable, where Jelsch's unrelenting drumming, is underlining a guitar melody and a superb organ answers the different verses. It is followed by the album's cornerstone, the almost 14 mins title track, starting on an a capella recitation of four very weird verses, before the music starts super-slow, building up gradually sometimes sounding like Yes or Genesis or even ELP in its huge central instrumental part before returning to the opening monologue but sung this time. The closing Biafra section (thus book-ending the album) is filled with electronic effects, courtesy of Francis and this has an almost Krautrock feel. Wild ending for an excellent debut album.

Certainly one of Ange's best album, Caricatures sounded fresh and groundbreaking, and I darte say that it is more enjoyable thann some of the group'slater classics, which might be a little too wordy. Recommended.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I have to thank Bonnek for insisting that I check this album out. He knows my taste in music too well. This debut album from ANGE is darker than the ones that follow and less polished, both positives for me. And overall the vocals don't take the spotlight like on later releases. I love this album from start to finish, in fact the only part I don't like is the brief theatrical spoken word section to start one of the songs which is no big deal.

"Biafra 80" is fairly dark with synths.This sounds very cool. It then brightens as these contrasts continue.The guitar sounds great before 2 minutes, organ follows. The tempo keeps switching from slow to fast early on on the next track "Tels Quels".Vocals are passionate here. It kicks in before 2 minutes with some nice guitar. Back to the earlier contrasts as themes are repeated. Great tune. "Dignite" is led by drums and organ early on. It settles with vocals after 2 minutes. A calm with flute after 5 1/2 minutes then it picks back up 8 minutes in with some excellent guitar. Organ follows.

"Le Soir Du Diable" features beautiful acoustic guitar as bass, drums and reserved vocals join in. Keyboards too. Just a gorgeous track. "Caricatures" opens with spoken words only then the music comes in after 2 minutes.This is fairly laid back. It picks up 4 1/2 minutes in then settles a minute later to a solemn mood. It kicks back in before 7 1/2 minutes then settles with keys before 9 minutes. Vocals a minute later. "Biafra 80" ends the album with an experimental and inventive instrumental.

I didn't expect going in to this one that it would end up being my favourite ANGE album.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Responding to first review's (Eric N.) last words - if you don't have a problem with French theatrical vocals ... This may be source of a lot of troubles. I'm not so sure what this term actually means (I googled unsuccessfully), but if it's what vocal department shows in Tels Quels, then it's not my cup of tea, not my usual comfort zone. But Prog is (also) about breaking boundaries and going out for a walk (through jungle for instance), so even I don't like it (maybe I'll like it in future), I respect it that it's original approach to accompany Prog with this kind of theatre. As Bonnek already said in his review, it's in French, which can be advantage for some, but disadvantage for many (including me) - some of these songs simply doesn't fit me here (when talking about lyrics - I realized that I'm able to know just one foreign language - the one I'm using and thinking in right now, so no hope for me to learn French - which in turn will prevent me from understanding what they're singing about, which is supposed to be big part of why this is good music - as shown in Dignité). It's beautiful Symphonic Prog, one of the best things when talking about music only (shining example is , but vocals can be tough for some. I'm trying to cope with it as well as I can though. But the most beautiful language in the world for me is English.

4(+), but despite this minor nuisance (as I said, some won't even notice), it's still great.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars 3.5 stars, really. Well, Ange is one of those bands you hear a lot about but actually not that many people do know their works. Not as much as other 70´s bands like King Crimson, PFM or even Eloy. However, when you got an album by a french band that you like (Mona Lisa) and hear they major influence seems to be Ange, then you have to watch for those guys, like any curious progheadlike me does. So I decided to start by their first album and follow them chronologically, if I can. Fortunatly Caricatures was not that hard to find.

From what I heard this a very good CD. It dated quite a bit, since it has many traits of the bands at the time, including a rather poor production. It is also has some of the early 70´s approach philosophy of ´anything goes´ (but - thank god - not too much). It has a strong influence of King Crimson and Genesis, but the vocal department is utterly french: not only Christian Decamps sings the album entirely in his native language and style, but also adds lots of theatrics and spoken sections. this might be a problem for some, since a lot of the meanings are lost for the ones who does not understand french (alas, like me). However, the music is strong enough to hold the listener´s atention most of the time.

Some tracks like the opener and the closer are a tad too experimental and abstract for my taste, but in general songs like Dignité and Le Soir Du Diable show they are also very talented and capable of writing some memorable tunes as well. A bit like KC, they knew how to balance the avant guard with beautiful melodies. The musician´s perfomances are excellent, marred only by the aforementioned weak recordings. Still this is a very strong record, and I can imagine the impact it had at the french (and international) music scene at the time.

I´m looking forward to hear Caricaturés follow ups and watch how this group developed with time and experience. For this was a very good starter. Recommended to all symphonic prog fans, specially the ones intersted in those important releases in the beginning of the 70´s.

Review by Warthur
3 stars The first Ange album is a great showcase for the interesting Hammond organ sound achieved by the Decamps brothers, with Christian playing the actual instrument and Francis adding effects. The consequence of this is that the band is able to match the Mellotron and synthesiser-drenched sound of major progressive rock bands of the time using their cheaper (and more reliable in concert) piano and organ - yes, amazingly the Mellotron sound on this album is in fact a modified Hammond organ. As a proof of concept, it's interesting enough, though as far as Genesis-influenced theatrical prog goes there are better Ange albums than this - worth listening to if you are a major fan of the band, but otherwise I'd go for one of their more developed albums.

Latest members reviews

3 stars 1. Biafra 80 (Intro) recognizable among all, for the synth layers, the rumble of drums, for this bass drone which takes you on a journey through a space that was still desert at the time; yes we have to put it into context, yes Jean-Michel's guitar solo is already having an effect, and this church o ... (read more)

Report this review (#2310710) | Posted by alainPP | Thursday, January 30, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars While not a large fan of Ange, I find their music style and execution unique and the band deserves a firm place in the progressive rock map of continental Europe. The first album came out relatively late for progrock pioneers - in 1972 but quite ahead of most of progressive rock debut albums ... (read more)

Report this review (#2241663) | Posted by sgtpepper | Friday, August 2, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An excellent debut album by the french symphonic group Ange. I am surprised and amazed of this record. Debut albums don't use to be so great. So after I have heard this I claim Ange started on their top. I am glad people who have Spotify now can enjoy this dramatic music."Caricatures" was rele ... (read more)

Report this review (#963079) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The debut album from Ange sets the standard for the emerging French symph prog scene. Although very influenced by Genesis and King Crimson, Ange mixes in the Paris cafe and theatre culture singers like Jacques Brel into the mix too. But it is no doubts Ange is a French band and their music is ... (read more)

Report this review (#518080) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, September 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The meager beginnings of a brilliant band. Ange's songcraft hadn't fuller developed on this debut... the ensemble playing is a bit weak at times as well. All the ingredients that made this band great are present, they just didn't come into their own until the second album. The instrument ... (read more)

Report this review (#206380) | Posted by AdamHearst | Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Caricatures is the first LP recorded by Ange in 1972 and it's certainly one of their strongest effort. As noticed by many reviewers the theatrical singing by Christian Décamps is very distinctive (with lyrics in french of course) and made this band unique. But his bandmates have also developp ... (read more)

Report this review (#144875) | Posted by H.NOT | Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ANGE "Caricatures"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.