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Hamadryad Conservation of Mass album cover
3.83 | 93 ratings | 14 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Eternal Loop (0:49)
2. Amora Demonis (6:58)
3. Carved in Rust (0:23)
4. Still They Laugh (2:22)
5. The Second Round (4:31)
6. Still They Laugh Pt. 2 (2:25)
7. Shades of Blue (5:26)
8. Action! (9:39)
9. Nameless (10:24)
10. The Second Coming (4:23)
11. Watercourse Hymn (10:10)

Total Time 57:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Jocelyn Beaulieu / lead & backing vocals, electric & classical guitars
- Denis Jalbert / electric & acoustic 6- & 12-string guitars, backing vocals
- Francis Doucet / Hammond, Mellotron, Minimoog, Roland synth
- Jean-François Désilets / bass, Taurus & MIDI bass pedals, lead & backing vocals, production
- Yves Jalbert / drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Andy Cherna / co-arranger, production & mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Denis and Yves Jalbert

CD Unicorn Records - UNCR 5002 (Canada, 2001)
CD MALS - MALS 062 (Russia, 2001)

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HAMADRYAD Conservation of Mass ratings distribution

(93 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

HAMADRYAD Conservation of Mass reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
5 stars Out of Canada comes a new magnificent band named HAMADRYAD with their debut album "Conservation Of Mass". According to the press kit "In classical mythology, the HAMADRYAD was a wood nymph fabled to live and die with the trees to which she was attached. Her mission was to be the link between the mortal and immortal entities." HAMADRYAD is blending Hard Rock with Jazz, Pop and 70's Progressive and Symphonic Rock. They are quite original, but here and there you can hear traces of possible influences. They have vocal harmonies that remind of GENTLE GIANT and SPOCK'S BEARD, and musical arrangements that makes you think of DREAM THEATER, GENESIS, KANSAS, KING CRIMSON, RUSH and UK, but most of all YES. The vocalist Jocelyn Beaulieu reminds of Jon ANDERSON of YES. There are lots of vintage synthesizers such as Hammond B3 and C3, Mellotron and Mini-Moog. The musicians are exceptionally professional and they're performing the intricate compositions with astoundingly perfectionism. But although their technical skills and the lengthy instrumental passages the melodies seems to be the most important thing, because they are really good, almost catchy. This is a very interesting and diverse album with many directions musically. It will keep on spinning in my CD-player for years to come. Perhaps some may find it too challenging, but that's what Progressive Rock is all about. "Conservation Of Mass" is a highly recommended masterpiece that probably will end up as one of the best albums this year!
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars As my youth in Canada forces me to take notice from everything coming out of that country, I had high hopes after reading great reviews but got soon disappointed as this is certainly good music done by talented musicians but I fail to see a clear statement - as I do also with N. Mahl , Daghmar, and the latest Visible Wind. Maybe the critics in the specialized press are a better public than I am , but this is over-rated and I do get annoyed by vocals resembling the second Marillion singer ( as well as as sound-alike of their first singers)
Review by lor68
4 stars Great debut album, coming from Canada! HAMADRYAD are a new shining star within the world of progressive music. Their start is in the vein of such typical heavy rock/metal progressive music, but after a few passages you find elements of polyphonic progressive rock, GENTLE GIANT and YES-like. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
Review by Dick Heath
4 stars One of my favourite three neo-prog albums* from the last 5 years, from an musical accomplished French-Canadian band. Musically Hamadryad's first album clearly shows roots trailing back to Yes and Dream Theater (80:20 ratio approx), while the occasional close harmonies suggest more the now neglected Capability Brown rather than Gentle Giant.

While this is a regularly played and enjoyed album, I have to ask how one can justify an 'Essential' rating here, when Hamadryad are very good at adopting and adapting earlier forms of prog, which has some good personalised colouring ? It is those earlier forms of prog which are essential, while this is most certainly an excellent addition to most prog rock collections. I am now looking forward to hearing their eventually second studio album, to find whether the band can maintain this standard - better go further, making this music more of their own.

Final words - Hamadryad's label Unicorn Records is one worth watching for prog fans. In particular, Unicorn have released some of the best prog jazz in the last 2 years.

* The other two: IQ's 'Dark Matter' Satellite's 'A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset'

Review by hdfisch
2 stars Debut album by this rather young Canadian band is obviously (not only in neo-prog circles) a well accepted and beloved one. I listened several times to it and hesitated a long time to add my opinion about it here. Unfortunately I'm failing completely to detect any relevance and find any enjoyment here I've got to say. I beg a pardon to all my highly respected fellow reviewers but where's the mentioned challenge here to find. And what is the point if a young 21th century band is just repeating and copying every well-known cliche in prog all over again? Certainly influences from all bands listed in their biography are more than obvious, starting from YES (bass play,vocals) and GG (vocal harmonies) over MARILLION (songwriting,vocals) to DREAM THEATER (heavy guitar riffing,playful keys). But actually these facts are not sufficient to make a prog album interesting for me. Leaving the music (which is undoubtedly very melodic, pleasant and even catchy at times) aside for a moment and speaking about enjoyment I've got to drop some notes about the vocals presented here which are to say the least quite annoying and almost unbearable to my ears. With a different singer I could call this one a rather good though highly derivative and uninventive album, but like this it's merely a mediocre and redundant one IMO and does not deserve more than 2 1/2 stars.

Being aware that I'm obviously standing vastly in the minority here with my negative impression I'd like to emphasize that perception of music and art in general is to be all times a very personal and subjective thing and my contribution is just meant to help finding a more or less objective rating at the end.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Whenever I got a CD of a band that I had never heard before, I tend to spin the CD at my player without having to bother with CD jewel and its sleeve notes. My objective is clear: get a feel about their music, full stop. This album was by no exception. I did not even want to observe its lousy cover (to my personal taste). Well, if I merely judged from its cover, I did not bother to purchase this CD. It did not seem a prog cover at all. When I got the early part of their music on my ears, my first impression was "just another" progressive metal music. But, when there was part with sort of sitar sounds (reminded me to Ravi Shankar) performed in ambient, psychedelic style, it changed everything. Their music is unique and original. Oh sorry . I don't mean to say that they are immune from any influence. No no no! There were strong influences of 70's prog sounds but overall their music is far away from "derivative".

I only opened the sleeve after the third spin and did some research about the band on the web. The early history of the band centered around two gentlemen in Quebec: - Denis Jalbert (guitar) and Jean-François Désilets (bass) who collaborated through a band to cover Rush. Having changed personnel, band name and music style (they even once took the form of "grunge" style in the vein of Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilot, etc) finally they ended with Hamadryad.

This was their debut album released in 2001 (the copy right was 2000 by Unicorn). Hamadryad music is a blend of influences from 70's prog heroes Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant as well as progressive metal of the 90's with bands like Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Fates Warning or Symphony X (especially V album). There are some influences also of Canterbury with Allan Holdsworth style and similarity with the music of Finneus Gauge / Echolyn. The use of Taurus pedals reminds me to early Genesis.

Let's have a look on its music, track by track.

Eternal Loop - Amora Demonis

The album starts off with a tape loop that did not attract me at all. Luckily, it ends relatively soon (49 secs) and flows to the second track Amora Demonis. The intro part with heavy riffs on guitar is good enough to conclude the progressive metal nuance of this song. The vocal part is performed in high tone; it reminds me to the voice of Laura Martin of Finneus Gauge. The beginning part is a heavy rhythm section dominated by guitar and it then flows into a slower tempo with a guitar fills in Hackettian style. The solo guitar style is a blend of Holdsworth and Alex Lifeson of Rush. It's a stunning double guitar solo augmented with the works on sitar by Denis. The last half of the song reminds me to Finneus Gauge style. Excellent track and it has then become my favorite.

Carved In Rust

This is a very short, but very nice though, a capella in the vein of Gentle Giant and Queen. It set an excellent tone for the next track onwards. (In my opinion these four tracks: Carved In Rust - Still They Laugh - The Second Round - Still They Laugh Pt. 2 should be packaged into one epic and enjoyed its entirety as one song).

Still They Laugh

It opens with a guitar fills and accompanying music in the vein of neo prog style performed in psychedelic mood. The harmony between lead and backing vocals is really wonderful. The mellotron sound at the end of this song is really catchy and brings us to 70's prog scene. It flows seamlessly to the next song.

The Second Round

The intro with Hammond reminds me to the nuance of IQ Subterranea. The tempo turns relatively faster and still maintaining the original tagline melody of previous track. The guitar riffs remind me to the work of Scott McGill at Finneus Gauge. In this song the band has created the melody even much catchy than previous. I can taste the vocal quality of Jocelyn Beaulieu is excellent and unique. I tend to disagree with any review that stated the similarity with Jon Anderson. In my opinion, they have different vocal timbres even though they each sing in almost all in high tone. The last part of this song contains singing style of Gentle Giant and it clears the pathway to bring the music back to the Still They Laugh nuance.

Still They Laugh Pt. 2

The Hackett's guitar fills style return back at intro. This time, the work of keyboard at background is mixed heavier than the first part and at the end it dominates the closing part. It reminds me to the style of 70's Symphonic Slam.

Shades Of Blue

This is another great song the band has composed. Its opening dominated by double guitar work, one gives the guitar fills typical to Genesis and the other guitar gives howling sound. The guitar fills sound like Marillion in Clutching At Straw album. Overall tone of the song is psychedelic with catchy melody. The bass line is stunning.

...Action !

The hard rock influence (of Led Zeppelin) is obvious in this song. However, as what typical in prog rock, there is tempo change as well. When the music turns quieter in slower tempo, the lead guitar solo is a reminiscent of neo prog style. It's a stunning guitar work that sometimes sounds like Floydian as well. In the middle, the music turns faster again demonstrating electric guitar in the vein of Holdsworth but with heavy metal speed. It then continued with a nice Hammond solo.


It kicks of with heavy rhythm with some riffs and keyboard solo augmented with dynamic bass line. It gives a sense of progressive metal scene at the beginning. But when the Hammond organ starts to roar, it sounds like 70's prog sound - reminiscent of Keith Emerson. This is the longest track in the album and the music flows smoothly in a somewhat psychedelic way with some changing tempo. In quieter music like in approx minute 6:15, the organ work reminds me to Genesis' Watcher of The Skies. The ambient vocal line enriches the song composition. The last part of the song sounds like an encore of neo prog tune and it's really good to conclude the album, actually.

The Second Coming

This song is composed differently whereby acoustic guitar fills dominate the rhythm part. Piano and vibes augment the music during transition parts. Melody wise, this is a ballad song with some proggy touch. It's accessible to most listeners, I think.

Watercourse Hymn

It's an epic song with four sections, performed in relatively moderate tempo. Again, acoustic guitar is used heavily, augmented with keyboard. The double acoustic guitar solo during transition in the middle of the song is really stunning. It's a cool song. There is nice keyboard solo during the ending part of the song. The song ends up with an acoustic guitar touch which to my personal taste gives a sense of loose end to conclude the entire album. I would prefer Nameless to conclude the album as it has a powerful climax at the end.


Overall, this album is beautifully composed, well structured, rich with catchy melody in many segments, integrating a wide range of musical elements and influences but is still cohesive as an album. The skills contributed by each musician were all at par excellent with special attention on dynamic bass line, roaring keyboard / Hammond in symphonic and psychedelic style, powerful high tone vocals, and stunning double guitar harmony. Musically, this is an excellent and almost flawless debut album. Despite heavy influences from previous bands, their music is not derivative. As far as musical flow, I would expect the band conclude the album with something climax that brings listeners to musical ecstasy and curious mind that drive for another spins. Unfortunately it does not really happen as the concluding track has a bit of loosening end. Beside music, I think the CD sonic quality requires more of bass sound. The album cover is also another downside element. Otherwise, Hamadryad is a band to consider in prog arena. Highly recommended album!

Note: After debut album release and some gigs performed, the band's lead singer decided to leave the band pursuing a solo career. The band is now working on the second studio album as a four-piece band.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars Hamadryad's this debut album is PROG-ECLECTIC one I wanna say! Prog-eclectic is not eclectic prog that means mixture and stir with jazz, classic, rock, and some genres of music. The word means mixture and stir with many excellent styles of excellent progressive rock bands.

This band has lots of faces...heavy face (like Dream Theater), dramatic face (like Marillion, Arena, or IQ), strict face (like Rush...oh, great Canadian band!), and transparent and clear face (like, Jon Anderson!). As everyone says, Jocelyn's vocal style reminds us Jon Anderson. Well then, might their music style break down without Jocelyn? No, no, you're kidding! Their style is really prog-eclectic and awesome. although his voice makes it more fantastic.

Very heavy riff and magical atmosphere go through us listeners from start, and, as the sky gets clear, Jocelyn's falsetto and transparent voice wraps us up. Continuously the heavy and dramatic sound push us and we can't breathe well until the end of 9th tracks Nameless. At the last two songs we can relax and listen without any muscle rigidity. Why is the final stage so beautiful? We tend to forget the previous heavyness...

Can't help feelin' their future will be greater.

Review by Gooner
4 stars As mentioned already by quite a few reviewers, this is a stunning debut from Hamadryad. Influences range from Gentle Giant, Genesis, Yes as well as jazz/fusion. There are many 5 star tracks. One being _...Action!_ which a wordless vocal that is not unlike Rik Emmett(of Triumph) meets Jon Anderson, which then quickly welcomes you into the madness of Action! The track then embarks on a psych/jazz fusion jam which is reminiscent of the outstanding parts on the very first NeBelNest CD(band out of France) or the tight interplay of fellow Quebecers POLLEN. Vintage keyboards throughout the entire album(yes...the mellotron!). The multi-part _Still They Laugh_ can stand tall with anything by Yes or Genesis. The first Hamadryad classic. Hamadryad's CONSERVATION OF MASS was my top album for 2001 and I still play it on my radio programme to this day. Recommended.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I reviewed HAMADRYAD's second album "Safe In Conformity" about 3 years ago here and it came across as GENESIS inspired music right down to the vocals. So here I am now with their debut "Conservation Of Mass" which has a different singer. His voice is high pitched and Jon Anderson does come to mind alot when listening to this record. I would say this fellow is more dynamic and theatrical though. In fact this album does impress a lot more than the followup as it has more of an Eclectic vibe while the next one is more Neo-Prog inspired.

"Eternal Loop" opens with the sound of someone running then these spacey sounds take over. "Amora Demonis" contrasts well the heavier instrumental sections with the lighter vocal led passages. Guitar, organ and drums bring it home. "Carved In Rust" is a very short GENTLE GIANT-like vocal arrangement. "Still They Laugh" sounds really good. Nice bass too.Vocals a minute in. A calm with mellotron a minute later. "The Second Round" builds with guitar and organ standing out. Vocals a minute in. Some excellent guitar before 2 1/2 minutes followed by organ.

"Still They Laugh Pt.2" is again a treat for the ears like the first part. Some atmosphere too. "Shades Of Blue" is fairly dark and heavy but that changes when the vocals come in unfortunately. It turns melancholic later. "...Action ! " opens with heavy drums and bass. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes ruin the mood temporarily as they come and go. It turns somewhat dreamy after 3 minutes with tasteful guitar before kicking back in.The tempo continues to change. Killer tune ! "Nameless" is uptempo with a nice heavy sound. Vocals 2 minutes in. A calm with organ after 5 1/2 minutes, mellotron and reserved vocals join in.The guitar solos beautifully after 9 minutes to the end. "The Second Coming" is upbeat with vocals. It's okay. "Watercourse Hymn" is laid back with vocals coming in after a minute. It settles even more before 4 1/2 minutes then picks back up. Synths dominate before 8 minutes then the vocals return.

This is an impressive debut on many levels. A solid 4 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This French Canadian band plays an intricate music with high pitched Anderson like vocals; and I can only say that for most of their debut, the mix is quite effective. The band was accordingly moved from neo to eclectic (at least for this album) which is better in line with the work one can discover with "Conservation Of Mass (retain?)".

This "Yes" inspired music is highlighted during "Amora Demonis": great bass lines, furious guitar and explosive drumming are such a fine combination! The first part of this album though features several short (to very tracks) which aren't quite necessary ("Eternal Loop" or "Carved In Rust")? One minute for both tracks combined! Is there a real need for this? I guess not.

Once tracks are longer, the music develops better and even if "The Second Round" clocks at less than five minutes, it offers some very good theme changes and complex drumming. Metal lines aren't alien to this song to be complete. Some sort of "Yes" with a metal angle: not bad at all I admit. Some polyphonic vocal passages are also reminding me of "Gentle Giant". I can understand though that some of you might get irritated by Jocelyn Beaulieu's voice. But I quite like it.

It takes some time for "?Action!" to enter into ?action. Quite frankly the hard rocking intro is nothing from the other world, but when the wonderful guitar solo enters the scene; it is quite a different story.

The longest song of this offering offers a more keyboards oriented track; vocals are quite melodic and very well performed. Be ready for another YesJourney my prog friends. I guess that by this time: either you love this album or hate it. Or maybe that like me, you just believe that it is a good album but find that it borrows too much to the gigantic "Yes". The closing "Watercourse Hymn" is no other.

A good debut album which features high technical skills and fine Anderson oriented vocals: three stars.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars In the booklet the band basically beg the listener to play this at least a few times before coming to a judgement about it, and when placing it in the player for the first time I could see why. However, even when hearing it for the first time the sheer class and majesty shines through. This pure prog album will be loved by anyone into 'old school'. At times they sound a bit like Genesis, or Colosseum, or Greenslade, or Yes, or Gentle Giant, or like none of them at all. They go from one musical area to another with ease, at home with jazz or with hard rock.

The result is an album that all proggers will fine themselves drawn towards. In fact, the biggest problem with this album will be getting it heard by enough people. Unicorn in Canada has released it, but hopefully Cyclops or Musea will pick it up in Europe so that it can reach a wider audience. It is full of depth and passion and is the best prog album to come out of Canada by a new band that I have heard for a while.

Originally appeared in Feedback #62, May 01

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A very exciting, high-quality album of complex compositions and virtuosic performances from this retro-prog band from Canada.

1. Eternal Loop (0:49)

2. "Amora Demonis" (6:58) if RUSH had taken their sound further into the metal field, this is what you might get. The vocal sound more like BABYLON leader DORROCUS than Geddy Lee. Excellent sound, composition, and instrumental performances. (14/15)

3. Carved In Rust (0:23)

4. "Still They Laugh" (2:22) musically, this sounds like a very cool excerpt from an instrumental jam the band had obviously recorded, but the Yes-like vocals and Mellotron are added to give it a fullness to deserve its presence on the album. (4.5/5)

5. "The Second Round" (4:31) a more original composition with Banksian organ, Gentle Giant-like vocal weaves, and a lot of flash instances of both YES and RUSH. Nice performances by all instrumentalists--especially the drumming. (8.75/10)

6. "Still They Laugh Pt. 2" (2:25) what feels like the beginning of the jam song that song #4 presents the finish of. Again, the vocals were probably added later (or the two songs were excerpted from a much longer collective.) The sound here is more muddled than the "first" version. Intentionally, it would seem. (4.25/5)

7. "Shades Of Blue" (5:26) pure YES vocals with a RUSH instrumental palette. Nice fretless bass--and bass pedals! (8.75/10)

8. "Action !" (9:39) a much heavier, more complex metal musical style with a 1980s BLUE ÖYSTER CULT like feel to both the music and vocals. (I take it this is not Jocelyn singing lead. Must be Jean-François Désilets.) Excellent lead guitar play in the solo sections. This is a nice style for them; it feels good to get out from under the YES, GENESIS, and/or RUSH styles--thought they do return to them in the final quarter of the song--which is excellent. (18/20)

9. "Nameless" (10:24) more excellent music imitative of YES--though the delicate passage in the third quarter and finish are more GENESISian. (18/20)

10. "The Second Coming" (4:23) acoustic guitar picking joined by a folk palette of other acoustic instrumentalists (and jazz bass). Once Jocelyn's voice joins in, it takes on more of the The Yes Album feel but the structure and from are all its own. I think the overall instrumental performances here are actually higher than what 1971 Yes could have produced, but this is not quite the memorable song that those 1971-6 Yessongs. (8.75/10)

11. "Watercourse Hymn" (10:10) an excellent song, standing on its own marks, despite its feeling as if it came right off of The Yes Album or Close to the Edge. (19/20)

Total Time: 58:00

I must admit, their harmonized multi-voiced vocal passages are superior to those of the bands they are inspired by or imitating. While not everyone is enamored of lead singer Jocelyn Beaulieu's voice, I find it extraordinary. He has amazing control of both his pitch and dynamics.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music. I don't care that there is much imitation/emulation of prog's past giants, this is really good music--from truly excellent musicians!

Latest members reviews

5 stars It's my favorite album of the Canadian band Hamadryad . I like Beaulieu's voice ( reminds me Jon Anderson) , all the songs are very solid, the musicians are excellent, We heard Hammond organ, lot of Mellotron ( love it ) and others synth. My favorite songs are by far Amora Demonis, Nameless and Wat ... (read more)

Report this review (#411845) | Posted by MelloT | Sunday, March 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Stunning debut for this Canadian band, that actually doesn't sound like a debut at all. This may not be a big surprise, since some band members are playing together since 1987 as a cover band in various styles. Generally they manage to bland many prog rock influences and elements, from the 70's, ... (read more)

Report this review (#167667) | Posted by ShW1 | Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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