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Saens Escaping from the Hands of God album cover
3.68 | 55 ratings | 15 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Babel Lights (16:34)
2. Ayanda (inst.) (11:51)
3. The Crawler (13:49)
4. Alone (16:23)
5. Requiem (11:25)
6. Epilogue (inst.) (3:35)

Total Time: 73:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Vince Leff / keyboards, electric & acoustic guitars, vocals
- Pascal Bouquillard / vocals, bass guitar
- Damien Gadenne / drums & percussion
- Benoit Campedel / electric guitar, MIDI-winds

- Marine Campedel / cello, vocalizes
Guest musicians:
- Stephane Geille / piano (on 2)
- Oliver Charmeux / flute (on 6)

Releases information

Cd. Cyclops CYCL 110

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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SAENS Escaping from the Hands of God ratings distribution

(55 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SAENS Escaping from the Hands of God reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prognut
4 stars Without a doubt one of the best releases for 2002!!! A fresh new French Band, strongly influenced by Genesis and symphonic side of YES.... Lyrics are in English and French; they are very good!!

Multiple interplay and addictive guitar sound! This is an amazing crafted album, not the typical Neo-Progressive Album or Band.

I will even feel to create a new term, for this music....Neo-Symphonic!! A fantastic discovery and a truly Gem of Progressive music. Do not expect the Marillion Neo, is less accessible, and will need several listen to grow in you...but, once that happen you are for a big surprise.... I am very anxious to hear their second album, which I expect anytime now...Highest recommendation!!!!

Review by sleeper
5 stars Escapeing From The Hands Of God is the second album from the French prog group Saens, though its the first under this name (they were previously known as Sens). I have seen the term Neo-Symphonic used to describe this band before and I think it perfectly describes the music being played here. You get the sound scapes that are a trademark of Neo but also the complex compositions that is expected from Symphonic music.

Its safe to say that on this album there is nothing that will blow you away upon first listen. In fact some of it may come across just a little pedestrian to some. But the more you listen to it the more you apreciate the beautiful melodies moveing through the instrumental passages. This is definitly a grower, although it started off in very high regard for me anyway.

The big thing you notice on this album is that the level of musicianship is increadably high, far more than you normally expect from a Neo band. These guys dont show of with lightning fast solos but everyone works together extremely well, of course they do pull out the highly impressive solos as well.

The only real problem I have with this is that Pascal Bouqillard, though a fantastic Bass player, leaves a little to be desired in the vocal department as a lead singer. His voice just sounds a little strained at times, though his best performance is on the song Requiem, were he sings in his native French rather than English like the other songs. Whilst on the subject of vocals, the harmonies that make a reguler apearance in this album are beautiful and work well with the music in the songs at those points. Lyrics are a strong point as they avoid the usual Neo cheeseness that is annoyingly comman in some bands, although I wouldnt have minded a translation of Requiem in the liner-notes, but thats just nit-picking.

This album can quickly change from an almost ambient, smooth sound to more fast paced rocker driven by a powerfull rythem section and I just love it. In short this is a masterpiece, the only problem I have with this is Bouquillard's less than steller voice, but its not terrible and doesnt put me off, nor should it put anyone else off. A truly unique band that I highly recommend. 5 stars.

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars 4.5 stars actually ;)

Excellent Neo Prog/New Symphonic Prog album, which has everything one needs - concept story, great musicianship, memorable and even catchy melodies, good vocals in IQ's vein and influences from such artists as IQ, COLLAGE, GENESIS, PINK FLOYD, SPOCK'S BEARD etc. A Must for every Neo/New Symphonic fan, SAENS can possibly please both Symphonic Prog/Art Rock fans. With epics like "Babel Lights" and "Alone" (both clocking at 16 and a half minutes!) it can't go any better! Another honorable mention get closing (folky and gloomy) instrumental "Epilogue", 11-minutes long "Ayanda" (instrumental me another Neo band with 11-min.long instrumentals!!!) and awesome "Requiem" (in French) with that sinister atmosphere (requiem indeed). Highly recommended - you won't regret!!!

Review by laplace
3 stars Skeptical as I was when I saw the recent release year, this album is quite the piece of legitimate symphonic prog. Saens tie together key art references such as IQ, Phil-era Genesis and Rush (as well as the occasional melody that harks back to early JMJ!) penned into rotating epics that are variously radio-friendly, forbidding and incredibly indulgent. "Escaping from the Hands of God" is uneven because all of the songs bristle with ideas, sometimes arranged in sequences that can fade from interest and occasionally slip into a sort of symphonic fusion - and has a lot of trouble climbing back out - but no matter where you dip into this CD, you'll find genuine modern progressive rock with a minimum of unseemly nu-metal or AOR influences - refreshing in and of itself.

The opener "Babel Lights" seems to be the most memorable because it utilises mood so well - in fact, the first time I listened to the CD I remarked that this might be akin to Anglagard or Deluge Grander because the atmosphere was so carefully gothic. Instead it spans out into a neo-style power piece complete with heroic guitar lines that reminds me so much of IQ (and in the bigger picture, the album I would soonest compare "Escaping the Hands of God" to is IQ's "Dark Matter") but with the addition of a choir and recorded with as much echoing as your speakers can support. The singer's voice is a little elastic, sometimes reminding me of his counterpart from Moongarden (a similar band in many ways, now that I stop to think about it...) , while occasionally being more similar to Garm (of Ulver infamy) and at other times still, incomparably carrying more surprising bite than you'd expect from this usually over-gentle genre.

In truth, the instrumental that follows this rather special opener usually diminishes my attention and I have trouble regarding the remaining work - and just generally, this ambitious CD is way overlong for my tastes, but this is a failing of mine and not of the band. In any event, the three other epics are just as worthy of a modern symph-head's attention - "Alone" in particular does well to recapture the excitement of the album's early movements. Even if Saens' sound isn't particularly new or even all that different, the songwriting is strong, so by hearing this album your enthusiasm for the genre might well be rekindled.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Ok, I tried again. I had bought this album quite some time ago, along with Prophet In A Statiscal World, because of the high rating reviews, and thinking they might be a good neo prog band. Needless to say, Saens is anything but. I`m still wondering what´s the kind of criteria to label a musical group as neo prog. To me, and to everybody else I know, neo prog means sounding like early Marillion, IQ, Pendragon, Twelfth Night, Jadis, etc. with beautiful melodies strongly influenced by Camel, Genesis, Pink Floyd and, to a lesser extend, Yes and ELP. Well, this is NOT what you´ll find here. Saens does a kind of complicated sound that has some nice melodies here and there, but most of the time it gives you the impression of a band who decided to call themselves ´artists´. That meaning they should sound like no one else, even if this means sacrifying coherence, harmony or even flow. The sudden time changs and shifting moods, so dearly to most progheads (including me), seems to be forced, out of place and without any needing, most of the time spoiling the beautiful melody line that had just started.

And again the vocals are another problem: they´re so overdramatic they ruined any chance to enjoy the tune´s singing parts. Again it seems the case when the guy is simply trying too hard to sound original and unique. It comes across as simply boring in the end. And boring is what I call this CD. Saens just can´t resist to destroy any chance to write a good tune and stay with it, letting the music do the talk. The natural sequence is all changed because they seem to want to do something different for the sake of it, not bothering to see if it fits the picture. Again, this is a pity, because you can hear they are obviously skilled musicians, the production is superb and the cover art is great. Just in the songwriting and arrangement departments those guys can´t (or don´t want to) cut it.

Conclusion: if you like complicated music without much harmony then Saens is probably for you. But if you´re looking for good neo prog music in the vein of the aforemetioned great ones of the 80´s or even the fine new outfits like the excellent Flamborough Head, Clepsydra, La Tulipe Noire, etc. forget it. Don´t spend your hard earned money like I did on this dud. Looking for neo prog music? go somewhere else! 1,5 star.

Review by progrules
4 stars One of the guidelines of progarchives is that you should write your own review without referring to someone else's. I understand why that is and I agree. I usually don't inform myself with other reviews about an album before I do mine, but in this case ...

I was at least curious what others had to say about it because we are talking about a very interesting album here. The only thing I knew about it before I bought it was a track on a Cyclops sampler and I can't say I was too impressed by that but when I saw the average rating I got intrigued because it was really high. When I read the reviews it was supposed to be a not really straightforward album (to say the least) but it had to be something special.

And that's what it turned out to be now that I gave it several spins myself. As one can see in my list I'm a true fan of the neo progressive style although I don't like everything there is to get of this category. And this album is not quite neo you might say. It's indeed somewhere between neo and symphonic but you could even call it eclectic at certain moments. This album leaves you puzzled about the final judgement because the moments of sheer beauty like on Babel lights and Alone for instance are being alternated with moments of aversion. For instead of keeping things beautiful and melodic all the time Saens makes a habit of surprising the listener with these changes. And you wonder: why ...? This is one way to approach it all but another version is that Saens plays symphonic-like neo and tries to be original in the way they do it. I gave it several intense listens by now and while listening to Ayanda I suddenly reached some sort of click with what I was hearing.

And then I return to my opening lines referring to other reviews about this album and I think I have to agree most with prognut and then especially with his last few sentences. I fully agree that this is an album that requires a lot of spins before you can really judge it. And with me it's also the case that it grows on me more and more. But I have to say I can also relate to the opinion that the whole thing could have been a very melodic masterpiece (in the vein of Clepsydra for example) if that would have been the choice of the band. But they decided differently, so it's take it or leave it. If you like the challenge it appears to be, it's very recommended. If you like pure neoprog, leave it.

To me it's all things considered a clear case of 4 stars. Maybe objectively it's a masterpiece but I will also have to include my personal taste for the judgement and then it will have to be 4.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars When I discovered this work some years ago (in 2004 or so), I was quite impressed by this French band. Of course, I have a tendency to like these bands and appreciate their efforts since:

- they are so close to my culture (which is the same actually),

- they don't have the same exposure than English bands, - it is much more difficult to ''make it'' in France for a rock band (whatever the genre).

The quality of the musicians, the wonderful interplays, the complex song writing are a permanent experiment during this very good album. Of neo-prog, there is no question here. Don't get me wrong: I have listened to an awful lot of these albums (and not only the ones I have reviewed on this site), but such a song as ''Babel Lights'' is definitely heading the symph genre much more than anything else.

It is one of the epics from this offering which should please any prog lover. The great guitar work is just magnificent. I would have expected more lyrics probably (why not in French?). Some grandiose and fabulous text like some other great French prog bands have created? But these won't be available. I guess that it can only affect French speaking persons (to whom I belong FYI). Still, this opener is sumptuous and a highlight already.

It is true to say that this album is a lengthy one (over seventy minutes), but when one holds so many great tracks, there is no harm. Long compositions, diverse music using a lot of influences like the Oriental ''Ayanda'' can only be of high interest to any proghead.

There are little relation with any other bands here, and that's a positive assessment IMO. The music is original, pleasant, melodic and tasty. Some jazz feel during ''Ayanda'' which is not my fave of the whole (but you might know my difficult relation with this musical style).

There is no need here to have a vocalist who sounds as Peter Gabriel, no synthesizer solo to emulate Tony Banks, no guitar breaks a la Steve Howe, no bombastic keys like Wakeman or Emerson. No, what you'll get is brilliant and GENUINE music. Creative, crafted, impressive. At times heavy or intriguing (''The Crawler'', without its carpet).

Some songs might have been shorter, that's right. If you would exclude the short ''Epilogue'', each track clocks at over eleven minutes! I have always been a fan of long tracks (and I am almost fifty by now) but at times, it is not always necessary to extend your ideas too much. To be in accordance with this concept, I'll try to be short in this review by now!

These guys are bloody skilled and write very good prog music as far as I'm concerned. As many French bands, they are totally undervalued and should definitely deserve a lot more attention from the PA community. ''The Crawler'' is another great track with some passionate vocals and wonderful guitar play. It is another highlight.

I believe that it also necessary to mention that the lead vocalist does a very good job: there aren't so many French bands out there who decided to sing in English with such a maestria. Chapeau!

I am only concerned when I see only ten commented reviews for such a good work (but I have made this comment often already). Do have an ear to this fine work, you won't regret it. While more non- prog bands are featured on PA, it is an obligation IMHHO to promote the ones who faithfully represent the music we love so much.

The beauty developed during ''Alone'' is just magnificent. Again, vocals are super and keys are not behind. This band plays fantastic music. To show their roots, the metaphysical ''Requiem'' is sung in French. It is a very much lyrical track (in the genuine sense of the word), heavily religious-oriented with lots of choir parts (which I am not so found of to be honest), but the second half of this song is another great moment of ''Escaping from the Hands of God''. Even the tranquility and the softness of the ''Epilogue'' is moving. A nice and simplke way to close this very special album.

I wouldn't rate this album with the masterpiece status because of ''Ayanda'', but it is a solid and highly interesting album. Four stars. No question about that.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars To avoid any confusions, Sens changed their name soon after the release of ''Les regrets d'Isidore D.'' to Saens.The band was reached by the Cyclops label in order to sign a contract and so it happened.Another ambitious work by the French progsters was unleashed in 2001, entitled ''Escaping From the hands of god''.

Along with the name change there is also a switch from French to English lyrics on this album so the group could be tasted by a wider audience.Over 70 minutes long, the new Saens album contains six compositions, five of which are over 11 minutes long.About the content of the material the music is fairly complicated, contemporary Neo/Symphonic Prog, built around haunting atmospheres, expressive vocals and complex songwriting, lacking some of the good melodies of the debut, which are sacrified in the name of an intricate, multi-parted style full of adventurous orchestrations, theatrical lyricism and grandiose performances.The tracks are pretty tight, stylistically somewhere between MARILLION, YES, MINIMUM VITAL, KING CRIMSON and TWIN AGE, with numerous changing climates and shifting tempos, pronounced by emphatic keyboard parts and sharp electric guitars as well as some fair doses of acoustic interludes.Surprisingly for such kind of a release, there are even some dissonant passages in here with a weird, almost Avant-Garde atmosphere, definitely an original addition by the group.The atmosphere is pretty dark with injections of dreamy, more ethereal movements, where eventually some melodious textures appear, but overall the listening contains different influences and well-hidden ideas, revealed with its spin of the album.The two longest pieces, ''Babel lights'' and ''Alone'', are possibly the best ones, impressive, blasting Progressive Rock with nice lyrical moves and tight musicianship, featuring both melancholic and more upbeat tunes.

Among the very complex works of the genre.Interesting album, which could have been even better if a little care was shown in the more melodic parts.Strongly recommended to all fans of captivating Progressive Rock, who can't get enough of long and irritating compositions...3.5 stars.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having been tempted by some positive promotion from their record company Cyclops (well it would be wouldn't it) I bought Escaping The Hands Of God upon its release in 2002. I must admit it was an album of initial disappointment and hasn't received too many plays over the years. However it's an album that due to reasons I'll go into in a minute requires a lot of perseverance to fully discover.

Firstly at 74 minutes there's a lot of music to wade through with six compositions, all except one over 10 minutes and most considerably more. Saens have produced a complex and to a large extent, dark sounding album. There's a lot going on here and most of the melodies require a bit of digging to discover. Vocalist Pascal Bouquillard doesn't have the most endearing voice, a bit whinny at times and isn't the most melodic of singers. Incidentally although Saens are a French band unlike fellow countrymen Nemo, Bouquillard chooses to sing in English for the most part and will likely be an acquired taste for most people.

Another problem is that although the music holds together pretty well over all, it's often a case of finding one of the more interesting sections and before you know it its gone and we're into something else. Bits come and go but are not easily remembered later. The music moves through a number of styles; we get symphonic sections, jazz influenced moments, latin (briefly), and even choral chanting giving an eclectic sound constantly shifting through complex themes. Saens are good players with some pleasing searing and fluent lead guitar work. The keyboards too hit the mark with an excellent occasional church organ sound alongside the more expected synths, piano etc.

Overall then despite the fact that Saens have produced a good album with some strong moments, it's a record that tries to be a bit too clever for its own good at times and although it has grown on me somewhat over the years it's still one to be admired more than loved.

Review by Warthur
3 stars At first, Saens' Escaping From the Hands of God seems like a fairly typical Genesis-influenced neo-prog album - perhaps reminiscent of Arena from somewhere between Songs From the Lion's Cage and The Visitor. However, repeated and careful listens reveal hidden depths in the music, such as jazzy keyboard playing which at points becomes reminiscent of Canterbury classics of the past, along with a theatrical vocal style that puts me in mind of the work of Ange. Far from your typical Genesis/Marillion-influenced neo-prog, Escaping From the Hands of God presents a distinctly Gallic take on the subgenre which sinks or swims based on how much patience you have for the particular vocal style used.
Review by kev rowland
3 stars This is the follow-up to 1999's 'Les Regrets d'Isidore D' that was released on Mellow records when the band were called Sens. I haven't heard that album, but if it is of the same quality as this one then I do need to search it out. This is a combination of instrumentals and songs, with five of them at over eleven minutes in length. It is a truly progressive album, one that those who feel that the neo-prog movement is too constrained will fall in love with immediately. I can see why label boss Malcolm Parker is hailing this as the album of the year, and while I will not go that far (we long ago agreed that our personal tastes differ) I will say that it is an album that does need to be heard by progheads. It did take a few listens to get into, as is sometimes the case with prog, but that isn't altogether a bad thing. The band are French and they have little in common with much of the UK or American prog bands, although it could be argued that they have taken some influences from the Canterbury scene. Their influences for the most part are much more in line with classical music and jazz, while bringing it altogether in a style that often takes a while to make sense of. The first time I heard the album I wasn't convinced at all, as it was going straight over me with just the few neo-prog passages actually connecting, but the more I played it the more I could understand what was going on. It is not prog that is immediate but those who persevere with this will be rewarded with one of the more truly progressive albums around.

Originally appeared in Feedback #69, Aug 02

Latest members reviews

5 stars Escaping from the Hands of God is absolutely essential to any fan of Neo-Prog. Furthermore, a fan of Symphonic Prog or Prog-Metal would do well to scout out a copy. It's very appealing, and versatile. I find it a bit hard to sum up Escaping from the Hands of God because most of the tracks are ... (read more)

Report this review (#65775) | Posted by stonebeard | Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Even though SAENS is listed as a neo progressive group, this album is certainly not your standard neo progressive album. Multiple ambiances brought about by multiple instrument types makes for varied music which often changes directions. And this is strangely enough also the drawback of this a ... (read more)

Report this review (#25154) | Posted by | Thursday, November 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm not sure where I first heard of this cd from, but I am glad I have it. Saens are a French band formerly named Sens. The current cd, Escaping From The Hands Of God has just about everything on it. Great guitar work and keyboards, church organs, choirs and even gregorian chants in places. The son ... (read more)

Report this review (#25151) | Posted by StarshipTrooper | Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This band knows how to make beautiful prog./Symphonic music. Everytime i hear it (and its often!)i detect new nuances...layeres if you will. Plenty of keys an´guitars here....go on treat yourself...GET IT !! ... (read more)

Report this review (#25148) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Saturday, November 15, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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