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Machiavel Urban Games album cover
2.59 | 26 ratings | 6 reviews | 0% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Humans (4:18)
2. Over the Hill (3:16)
3. Still Alive (5:35)
4. City Flowers (5:50)
5. Dancing Heroes (3:32)
6. I'm Not a Loser (5:34)
7. Let Me Live My Life (3:33)
8. The Dictators (5:21)

Total Time 36:59

Bonus tracks on 1994 CD release:
9. Over the Hill (remix) (3:14)
10. King of Slogans (B-side) (3:06)

Line-up / Musicians

- Mario Guccio / vocals
- Jean Paul Devaux / electric, steel & acoustic guitars, mandolin
- Albert Letecheur / piano, electric piano, Mellotron, synth, String Ensemble
- Roland de Greef / bass, bass pedals, acoustic guitar
- Marc Ysaye / drums & percussion, vocals

Note: The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: André Claessens

LP Harvest ‎- 1A 064-23894 (1979, Belgium)

CD Spalax ‎- CD 14258 (1994, France) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy MACHIAVEL Urban Games Music

MACHIAVEL Urban Games ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(15%)
Good, but non-essential (46%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (15%)

MACHIAVEL Urban Games reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
1 stars After releasing their first three albums (that if they did not give musical orgasm , but at least warmed me up to the fact that the Belgians Underdogs could still breakthrough), this album was probably not the ideal next step to Moonbeams. I once talked to one of the members and dared suggest (as politely as I could) that their inspiration was wearing thin by this album and although he did protest (a bit) , I could hear in his tone of voice that I was not far off the truth.

I can only suggest to newcomers to start with Jester and Moonbeams and then maybe investigate further.

Review by Fishy
3 stars "Urban games" is not as progressive as the bands two predecessor's but it's still quite enjoyable. This is progressive rock with influences from seventies pop which makes it accessible if you're familiar to the typical music that was produced in that decade, but maybe this could also be called 'outdated' if you wish. Unlike other artist who change their style to a more commercial direction, this album still sounds as Machiavel. Still the great Italian singer with high voice and strange accent, still the songs based on piano lines, still the complexity of (some of) the compositions. "City flowers" comes close to a traditional prog epic with its different excerpts and majestic sound, some fragments in the vocals is reminiscent to Steve Walsh from Kansas. This album may be a bit uneven as the gap between pop tracks and proggy tracks is getting bigger. This doesn't mean some of the melodies aren't inspired. Even the commercial single "over the hill" is a great track which I do consider as one of the best songs in the history of the band despite its ska influences. For me the weakest moment of the album is "Dancing heroes", a pastiche to the disco sound that dominated the charts of 1979. Nice idea for a track but I rarely give it a spin.. Other, more progressive, highlights include "The humans" which includes another appealing melody. The bridge consists of the typical mellotron sound and a slice of lead guitar that gives this song an extra dimension. "Still alive" and "Let me live my life" are perfect examples of the fact that Machiavels compositions have been simplified, the progressive trademarks are still present but more apparent in the arrangements. Being both ballad like tracks, "Let me live my life" contains a memorable melody that enters your head and never leaves. A song like "the dictators" is an illustration of the influence of a band like Supertramp. If you like that band, you'll love this song.

Conclusion : The last good Machiavel album but better listen to "Mechanical moonbeams" & "the jester" first.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Most of the bands from the sevenites have changed direction during the eighties. Take "Earth & Fire" for instance. From some very good symphonic rock they went poor disco. I won't remind you what happened to ELP, Camel, Genesis, Yes etc.

Machiavel will be no exception. After the release of their two proggiest albums ("Jester" and "Mechanical") they followed the changes and adopted a more pop orientation ("The Humans" very much in the Supertramp vein), some good reggae influences are to noticed in their second Belgian hit-single : "Over The Hill". A very commercial, funny but pleasant song. It is still played in their live sets and pleases a lot the Belgian audiences. The chorus is really catchy.

It sounds that Marc is on the lead vocals for "Still Alive". This ballad is actually very pleasant during the second and instrumental part. "City Flowers" is of the same kind but it features better vocals. The melody is very much Beatles-esque during the first half. As usual, Machiavel will switch to an upbeat rhythm during the second half which makes this song rather interesting.

The lows of this album (of the whole Machiavel repertoire) is definitely the funky "Dancing Herores". Don't even bother to listen to it. Absolutely dreadful. Press next. This will lead you unfortunately on "I'm Not A Loser" which is not great either. Pop / soul / rock. I advise you to do the same than with the previous song. Next is the best option.

"Let Me Live My Life" is a candid rock ballad. Again, the Supertramp trade mark is obvious, but that's not bad an inspiration, I guess. It is of course a mellow one but after all, I prefer to listen to this type of mucic than to what was available on "Reality fills Fantasy" from "Earth & Fire" for instance.

The closing number is fully rock oriented. Extremely dynamic, this song features interesting lyrics about the "sweet" dictators that govern our planet : "You the saviour, you 're just a dictator. Just an animal thirsty for blood, Coming to save the country. But you're slowly killing it with your medieval laws, Go home ! Sergeant don't try to be an emperor. Go home ! Don't try to be a king, Go home ! little Ayatollah don't try to be a president."

It is the second best song of the album and a surprising closing number.

Compositions are shorter than previously but several good songs are sitting here. Prog elements are scarce but it is still worth a listen. Three stars (probably five out of ten when this rating will be available on PA).

Review by b_olariu
2 stars Machiavel in a different direction this time with their forth album from 1979 named Urban games. After two great albums, considered by many their best albums in their whole career, Mechanical moonbeans and Jester, Machiavel turns the page and compose in a diffrent manner this time. The album is more mainstrem, sometimes I have the feeling I'm listning to Supertramp combined with some Styx moments , even some Queen atmosphere on some tracks but totaly more uninstristing like the masters, Machiavel did a mediocre album this time. Only few parts remind of the old great prog rock band, who was often compared to Genesis, noe they sound pretty popish prog , mainstrem music without that fine and super keyboards arrangements from previous years. The album as a whlole , can be heard a couple of times but nothing really excitting momets, it show that another great band from progressive rock movement , goes mainstrem with more rock moments then prog. I will give 2 stars more like 2.5 , far from the greatness of previous two albums, and they going down even deeper with the next couple of albums. Fans only, not one of the worst albums I ever heard but definetly a mediocre one, shame because they were very promissing band from Belgium in mid to late '70's.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Poor album unfortunately. Except (perhaps) "Over the Hill" but which is not at all a Prog or a Rock song ! Far from that. It's a kind of reggae or something tasting like Ska (remember Baggy trousers from Madness). /!\ So, if you really want to discover that belgian band, forget this album and ... (read more)

Report this review (#58459) | Posted by BronDune | Monday, November 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, if you've happened to listen to this album for the first time, you might think you picked the wrong one, I mean "no-prog album". Yes, from this album Machiavel tried to change their musical direction and persued the way to be recognized as the band not only accepted from the prog fans ... (read more)

Report this review (#4590) | Posted by progtopia | Sunday, June 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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