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Hamadryad Safe In Conformity album cover
3.41 | 61 ratings | 7 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Anatomy of a Dream (5:51)
2. Sparks and Benign Magic (1:04)
3. Self made Men (7:42)
4. Gentle Landslide (0:39)
5. 24 (6:28)
6. Frail Purpose (3:11)
7. Sunburnt (5:12)
8. One Voice (3:30)
9. Polaroid Vendetta (6:41)
10. Alien Spheres (5:59)
11. Omnipresent Umbra (11:42)

Total Time: 57:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Denis Jalbert / electric and acoustic 6- & 12-string guitars, mandolin (6)
- Francis Doucet / 12-string & electric (8,9) guitars, keyboards, Hammond (10,11)
- Jean-François Désilets / 6-string bass, Taurus bass pedals, lead & backing vocals, keyboards (5), 12-string guitar (6,11), production & mixing
- Yves Jalbert / drums, percussion

- Sébastien Cloutier / keyboards (9)
- Benoit David / vocals (11)
- Quidam Anodin Choir / chorus vocals (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Denis and Yves Jalbert

CD Unicorn Records - UNCR 5020 (Canada, 2005)
CD MALS - MALS 079 (Russia, 2005)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HAMADRYAD Safe In Conformity ratings distribution

(61 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

HAMADRYAD Safe In Conformity reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 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 are all at par excellent with special attention on dynamic bass lines, roaring keyboard / Hammond in symphonic and psychedelic style, powerful vocals, and stunning guitar. Musically, this is an excellent and almost flawless album. Despite heavy influences from previous bands, their music is not derivative. As far as musical flow, the band concludes the album with climax that brings listener to musical ecstasy and curious mind that drive for another spins. It does happen here - unlike the first album that did not. Beside music, I think the CD sonic quality has improved compared to debut album. Hamadryad is a band to consider in prog arena. Overall rating is 4+ out of 5 with a possibility to upgrade into full five stars as my appreciation grows together with number of spins. Highly recommended! Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #307

Human beings are sometime slaved. By what they are fighting to escape. Buried behaviours increase tenfold. Once unearthed and waken. [Omnipresent Umbra - Hamadryad]

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars This kind of progrock is the reason why I still love to make reviews after 15 years, what an interesting and varied sound! Hamadryad is a band from Quebec, the cradle of Prog Archives. Safe In Conformity is the second effort after their acclaimed debut CD entitled Conservation Of Mass. The line-up has slightly changed because lead singer/guitarplayer Jocelyn Beaulieu has left and bass player Jean-Francois Désilets took over the vocals. After reading the reviews about the first album (which I haven't heard), I get the idea that Hamadryad is almost another band on this new album, take a look at those reviews to compare! Jean-Francois his vocals evoke Peter Gabriel his vocals in a similar way The Watch does. This Italian band comes more to my mind on this album but in general Hamadryad their music indeed has strong Genesis undertones (between Foxtrot and Wind And Wuthering): twanging 12-string acoustic guitars, Moog Taurus bass pedals and organ work in the vein of Tony Banks. But don't judge this new promising band as a Genesis clone because they have their sound but Hamadryad is way from a copycat!

The 11 compositions sound elaborate and varied: great build-ups and grand finales, fluent shifting moods and lots of exciting soli on guitar (some wah-wah) and synthesizer. The one moment the music is mellow with twanging guitars, the other moment it is bombastic, dynamic or it contains a fiery or even metallish guitar solo or spectacular work on keyboards, very compelling and exciting. Some examples: the short piece Sparks And Benign Magic features a wonderful Mellotron and Moog Taurus bass pedalls sound, One Voice evokes Red-King Crimson era delivering propulsive electric guitar riffs and dynamic interplay between drums and guitar and Self Made Man changes from mellow into bombastic with splendid play on guitar and keyboards. I am very curious to the development of this very promising Canadian band, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Review by hdfisch
3 stars Actually I happened to know Hamadryad's second release "Safe in Conformity" long before I've got the chance to lend an ear to their debut. After I've received it I listened to it once or twice but soon lost interest in it and forgot about it due to the fact that I had enough other (and much better) things to listen to. Now I gave it another spin since I heard as well "Conservation Of Mass" which got many positive comments in prog circles though appeared as quite disappointing average, "conservative" and not "progressive" (in the literal sense) Retro/Neo-Prog to me. The first positive surprise I realized was that obviously singer Jocelyn Beaulieu left the band and has been replaced by bassist Jean-François Désilets who contributed already some vocals on their first album. As I read in the net many people compared Beaulieu to Jon Anderson just due to his high-pitched voice and some called his performance "expressive" or "theatrical" whereas I would call it frankly annoying, enervating and distracting from the music. I just can say though far from being a dedicated fan of Yes I still like to listen to their 70's masterpieces every now and then and don't mind for Anderson's voice which is extremely high-frequent but nevertheless not bad.

But let's now come back to "Safe in Conformity" on which the strong Yes-resemblance has obviously vanished not only due to the replaced singer. The new man in charge, Désilets, I've got to say is (at least for me) the better but anything else than the perfect choice. Of course I don't have detailed informations what happened exactly but I would suppose the band took this decision out of the lack of better options. Once again relevant sources in the net are very quick in drawing their comparisons and certifying him as a kind of modern Peter Gabriel. I would say this might be a bit too far out and too much of honor for Désilets. The good thing is that his voice is that much unobtrusive and lacklustre that it does not disturb at all and hence one can fully concentrate on the music which is very versatile and highly intricate though rather derivative as well. Compared to their debut the hints to Prog Metal are much minor here which I don't see as a disadvantage at all since the obvious Dream Theater-influence has been another thing that alienated me before. The bad thing in terms of Désilets' vocals is that they lack completely charisma and brilliance and what's even worse are at times even out of tune. Still this record gave me better reasons to spin it repeatedly than their debut did, so in the following I'll try to do a quick track by track overview.

"Anatomy of a Dream" is a rather quiet and mellow song with a strong touch of Genesis (maybe around ATOTT). Lots of Hackett guitar style and Banks-flavoured keyboards, certainly a track to create shiny eyes in every Genesis fan's face. Nothing really special but a very pleasant listen anyway. (7/10)

"Self Made Men" incorporating as well the short intro "Sparks and Benign Music" (full of wonderful Mellotron) and as well the outro "Gentle Landslide" (dominated by acoustic guitar) starts to bring in some more power without showing any resemblance to metal prog with great hammond driven early 70's styled hard rocking. Sections played more acoustically are alternating very nicely with heavier ones and the vocals are fitting here quite well I've to say. This three parted track is together with the last one certainly the highlight of the CD. (8/10)

"24" continues in a more acoustic vein being a very nice song like the first one though offering not too much excitement in terms of Prog. Nevertheless we get some brilliant acoustic guitar here and this place is a good opportunity to mention the flawless musicianship throughout the album which was of course as well the case on their debut, just the vocals were too much distracting. (6/10)

With "Frail Purpose", another quiet one, the album starts to ripple a bit along offering too few real highlights and exciting moments. Not much worth to mention here I've got to say. (4/10)

"Sunburnt" is even confirming this impression, but still a nice song to listen to. (5/10)

With "One Voice" floating over into "Polaroid Vendetta" without seemingly any break (and therefore I will consider these two tracks as one) the music becomes significantly harsher and more intricate. Though the musicians' performance presented here is really flawless this double track reveals as well the singer's lacking abilities and it happens more than once that vocals are sounding quite out of tune and matching not very well to the music. According to my taste I get reminded a bit too much to Trent Gardner's Magellan which is not that much my cup of tea. Many people might probably call this one the most challenging one on here but I've to admit that it did not much to me. (4/10)

"Alien Spheres" starts in a mellow and soaring vein with nice acoustic guitar and atmospheric synths reaching considerably more power during its course. Second best song so far I would say offering lots of Hammond sound and great guitar soloing. (8/10)

Finally "Omnipresent Umbra" is without any doubt musically the best and most versatile one, presenting a sort of 11-minute voyage through all styles used before. Just the lack of perfection in songwriting and vocal capacities are a downer in some way and leaves an unsatisfied feeling behind after listen. (8/10)

As a summary I've to say that Hamadryad's second output could offer me considerably more enjoyment than their debut. At least half of the tracks are above average providing some appetite for repeated spins what wasn't the case with "Conservation of Masses" at all for mentioned reasons. Nevertheless I would neither consider it an excellent nor an essential one in Prog generally. Certainly worth to be checked out by any fan of Retro/Neo-prog.

(Overall rating: 62,5 out of 100 = 3 stars)

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I have to agree with hdfisch that the record gets off to a slow start with "Anatomy of a Dream", there is nothing really special here, but it is a very pleasant listen."Sparks and Benign Magic" is a short instrumental with lots of mellotron."Self Made Men" is my favourite on the album. Lots of tempo changes and the Gabriel-like vocals help make this a standout track.There is a scorching guitar solo, although when things slow down and become pastoral i'm in heaven ! It's so good, so GENESIS. "Gentle Landslide" is really the conclusion of "Self Made Men", it's a short instrumental with acoustic guitar."24" is held together by the drums, and there is some good acoustic guitar.

"Frail Purpose" has a melody of a children's song and the guitar is great. Not a fan though. "Sunburnt" is like the first song in that there is not really anything too special going on except for the tasteful guitar solo."One Voice" is a more aggressive tune with guitar and drums being the focus."Polaroid Vendetta" is another highlight with lots of guitar and some crazy keys towards the end. More great guitar and organ in "Alien Spheres"."Omnipresent Umbra" is one of the top three songs on this record, and it's all about the guitars. Great song.

Not a bad album at all and worth 3 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Second opus from this French Canadian band Their "Safe In Conformity" sounds less complex than their debut and the overall feeling leans more on the neo than on the eclectic side of prog. The first two songs are a clear confirmation of this perception.

It is of evidence that this "Safe In Conformity" doesn't hold the same intricate approach than their debut. The fact that their lead vocalist left the band was not helping a great deal. One could be annoyed with his Anderson like vocals but at least he was passionate, skilled and performing. Jean-François Désilets has a much less interesting voice and most of the songs here sounds pretty flat.

Only one guy left, but the sound of their music drastically changed (not for the best). Not only their musical style (from eclectic to neo), but vocals now seemed to sit more on the Gabriel side. I'm afraid that the music played is just the mark of one out of plenty (which was not the case with their good "Conservation Of Mass").

There are hardly any great song featured on this album: just a bunch of average neo-prog attempts. Deception is high even if "Sunburnt" sounds quite effective. What's left is unfortunately weak metal stuff which is quite uncomfortable to my ears.

The closing track " Omnipresent Umbra" is the best by far. Although vocals are quite weak, it offers substantial and excellent guitar break. The one and only great song form this album.

Two stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 4.5 stars really!!! great great album of prog! musicianship is excellent. they are all very talented musicians and the melodies are very strong and beautiful. you can compare with Genesis and The watch but not too is very original. A great album! Very proud that they come from Quebec ... (read more)

Report this review (#53045) | Posted by stephdrum | Sunday, October 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My first review=here goes(I saw HAMADRYAD at there new cd presentation in Montreal and it was great but the sound could have been better and that"s where I got the cd) It's very different from the first one because the guy with the high voice (Jocelyn beaulieu is not there anymore)but the bassman ... (read more)

Report this review (#34952) | Posted by pots | Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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