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THORK

Prog Folk • France


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Thork biography
THORK is a French band from Annecy formed in summer of 1998. Initially it started as a side project of bassist Samuel Maurin from the band NIL. However, in relatively short period of time band had some turbulent line-up changes, and keyboardist Sébastien Fillion took the steering wheel.

Samuel Maurin's brother David (also from NIL) was occasionally contributing with flute and guitar.

The THORK's Music could be described as dark progressive folk.

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Buy THORK Music


We IlaWe Ila
Import
Nil Records
Audio CD$21.99
UrdoxaUrdoxa
Import
Nil Records
Audio CD$19.99
Nula JedanNula Jedan
Import
Phantom Sound & Vision 2008
Audio CD$21.99

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THORK discography


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THORK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 13 ratings
Urdoxa
2000
4.04 | 39 ratings
Weila
2004
4.39 | 16 ratings
Nula Jedan
2007

THORK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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THORK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Weila by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 39 ratings

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Weila
Thork Prog Folk

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Thork's Weila is a dark collection of compositions with a tone reminiscent of a folkier version of mid-1970s King Crimson. Imagine a mashup between the pastoral folkiness and range of different instruments characteristic of Anglagard (drawing more from their dark moments) and the intensity and nods to King Crimson demonstrated by Anekdoten, and add perhaps a pinch of Magma's percussive, rhythmic compositional approach and that should give you an idea of the sort of sonic universe Thork are operating in (namely, a bloody weird one). This is one to lend repeated listens to, because with everything that's going on here it would be difficult to catch what Thork are doing purely on the basis of a single listen.

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 Urdoxa by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 13 ratings

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Urdoxa
Thork Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars French dark Prog group, found in 1998 in Annecy by a five-core line up: Multi-instrumentalist Sébastien Fillion, violin player Claire Northey, drummer Michel LeBeau, Nil's bassist Samuel Maurin and guitarist/singer Antoine Auresche.The first couple of years the group performed many concerts and focused on writing material for their upcoming debut ''Urdoxa''.The album was released as a private CD in 2000 (Nil Records).

''Urdoxa'' offered a very unique proposal by Thork, being a mix of modern Psychedelic Rock with Progressive Rock and Folk.The musicianship is very interesting and at moments impressive, but lacks a bit in consistency and the whole atmosphere is often too chaotic.Not because of the arrangements (which are fairly complicated) but mainly because of the endlessly changing moods.The combination of folky instrumentals, led by vocal narrations, driving violins, synths and calm guitars, with the bombastic guitar-driven breaks and grooves seems charming and attractive, but at the same time it is the reason why the album is a hard listening.Four out of the eight compositions are over the 10-min. mark and contain good ideas.From the hard-sounding guitars to the soft psychedelic vibes and from the lovely violin workouts to the organ/synth- based passages, Thork achieved to come up with some really intricate material.Even some parts led by grandiose synths have sort of a very dark, Gothic atmosphere.The vocals of Auresche though are very cold and unexpressive for most of the time and combined with the lack of decent melodies make ''Urdoxa'' an album full of captivating but also a bit unemotional passages.

What really surprises me is that these combined music elements could definitely end up creating a total winner.''Urdoxa'' fails to be labeled as such an album, but the personal approach of the band make this one an interesting release, or even essential for fans of deeply atmospheric Progressive Rock.Recommended overall.

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 Weila by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 39 ratings

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Weila
Thork Prog Folk

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars The true experience of being thrown around in a sonic washing machine

I´ve been getting into the French prog scene of late. Always been into Magma and their cohorts, as well as a lot of the symphonic and avant garde music to come out of the country during the 70s and 80s. The scene was very broad and eclectic, and what I indeed thought was a thing of the past, has thoroughly been refuted the past half year. I came across the band Nil and the album Nil Novo sub Sole. This record smashed open the doors to modern French music for me. I got extremely intrigued, and fantasized about other albums exploring more of these, up till then, unexplored sonic venues to me.

Thork is actually a sister band to Nil. The Maurin brothers, David and Samuel, feature on both - with Samuel credited as a writer. The similarities are obvious between the bands, though the female vocals of Nil Novo, here are replaced with a male front singer, that gives you that distinguish French spice. Reminds me a bit of the guy in Ange, but more mellow and somber.

The music contained herein is moody, complex, relaxing and at times grandiose like a rhino dressed in black. You´ll find everything spanning from symphonic textures, zeuhl, metal, jazz fusion - to small snippets of folk. I guess the folk tag was given to these guys due to the other albums in their discography, because this album is frolicking in a wonderful orgy of all the mentioned genres above, and feels eclectic above anything else. It´s a natural symbiosis, that either through the use of melodic stick playing, grooving thundering zeuhl like bass lines - or that of the ethereal and anxious keys, binds this music together. On top of this, you have choirs popping up in a very dramatic way, and makes your mind wander to Gothic churches, vampires and back to a time where you´d go down to the bar and order absinthe with a tiny touch of ox blood, and people around you´d say: I´ll have what he´s having!

To counterpoint my own words, I guess you can find folk traces here as well. The usage of the violin on some tracks slightly mimics European traditional music, with a rather staccato and skewed sound, whilst still remaining those acoustic characteristics. There´s a load of other instruments involved in this recording like dununs, djembé, guira, cloches, sitar, tabla and the cello, where most of these are on full display during the last track, which incidentally also is my fave. The Thork experience is more subdued here, throwing itself into Indian flavored rhythmic excursions with a tiny dose of electronics, and some wonderful bass work played on stick. It suddenly explodes into the characteristic Maurin sound, you certainly also will pick up in Nil and throughout this album, - and how exactly does one explain that? -Just to elaborate on the washing machine metaphor, which incidentally still remains apt. Picture this ferocious amalgamation of sound being hurled head first into a diamond shaped contour - with the music bouncing off all the different surfaces - only to be flung in a slightly off course direction. It never gets truly circular, but rather tumbles around in this jewel, whether it´s giving off soft and subtle sounds or breaching out in beautiful hellish structures. Music from within a diamond - yeah that sounds about right...

The only thing I feel letting this album a bit down is perhaps the absence of drummer extraordinairre Frank Niebel, which isn´t to say that Michel Lebeau is poor - only that Niebel in his jazzy outbreaks and off beat rhythms, had an original way of transforming and elevating all of the sounds around him into an altogether different kind of beast - one you couldn´t quite describe. I feel Lebeau tries duplicating that vibe, and he does so very well, but I just feel like something is missing. -And maybe this is the thing that, alongside Sébastien Penel´s vocals, separate Thork from Nil. This is of course just a preference from my side, but if you like Nil - you´ll certainly want to jump on board this black French steamboat.

This album is recommended to everyone with a taste for experimental music, that is propulsive like zeuhl, grandiose like a weeping symphony or beautiful like a ray of light shot through the center of our most precious diamonds.

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 Nula Jedan by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.39 | 16 ratings

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Nula Jedan
Thork Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars An astounding, amazing release from this French outfit. A big, positive musical surprise of the kind that really deserves recognition.

It's probably not a good release for a novice listener though. There's just so much happening here. The pace is mostly on the slower side, but everchanging and ever evolving compositions will make it a taxing experience for many; and French lyrics may alienate a few as well.

But the delightful sonic landscapes here, careful piano melodies, sometimes soaring and sometimes floating synths in the back, acoustic guitar patterns - all mixed in a package where elements are added and subtracted; themes explored in many variations. Always with a melancholic feel, always with a distinct focus on the atmospheric environment even in the most complex multilayered segments. To add folk music influences is just as natural and belonging as the psychedelic touches; jazz-tinged bass lines fits like a glove too; soaring violin soloing, fragile flute themes and soul-tinged horns all seems like natural additions as well.

Highly recommended release this one; in particular for those enjoying complex, melodic rock with symphonic, folk and jazz touches in a mostly mellow setting.

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 Nula Jedan by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.39 | 16 ratings

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Nula Jedan
Thork Prog Folk

Review by Nilman

5 stars Thork have gone through some personnel changes - that's the starting point to comprehend the musical decisions and changes there are on Thork's new album Nula Jedan.

At the time of Urdoxa, Thork was a clear five piece band, young and ambitious. While their music was already stunning in their debut, there still was some defects in there: The band was young, unexperienced, they were short on singer and good production. These all were corrected on their second album We-ila that was a pure perfection in every point: They now had a brilliant lead singer Sébastien Penel, they had more experience not only for themselves, but in complementary personnel too - that was David Maurin, a stunning guitar player, plus a pile of brilliant guest stars like Roselyne Berthet, Renaud Burdin, Sébastien Lacroix, Stéphane Lagarde and Ian-Elfinn Rosiu. So they were on the top in every way... and things tend to change in situations like that.

At first, after Urdoxa, Antoine Aureche, one of the founding members of Thork, left the band and later went to form TAT. He played guitars and did the vocals on Thork's debut Urdoxa and he then resigned the band. On We-ila he was still in, but in a visiting role of playing acoustic guitar, and even if the acoustic guitar playing is excellent on Nula Jedan, Antoine still took a part of Thork with him, a part of the dark, anxious atmosphere.

The second to leave was David Maurin, Samuel Maurin and Roselyne Berthet! Well, Roselyne was only a quest on We-ila, but her absence is still remarkable :) But the most remarkable thing is the absence of Maurin Brothers: No more twisted, utterly complex songs, no more absolutely stunning stick and bass, nor brilliant picking of guitar or their fantastic interplay and heavy bursts! These three excellences brought a huge piece of NIL among, that's no more on Thork. And then went Lebeau. Even if he was replaced by an excellent drummer Philippe Maullet from Syrinx, still he is a 'quest' and Lebeau wasn't.

And then they kind of went everyone, even Penel! Excluding Sébastien Fillion, who now is Thork, in a way, and I don't know the reasons. Thork has turned to his personal project, he states and Sébastien Fillion is alone responsible of the songwriting, composing, vocals, guitars, bass, synths & keyboards, percussion,... Almost everything and the other musicians are only some kind of quests from the past... like Claire Northey on violin, the only remaining member from previous Thork besides Fillion himself... and from the present.

A sad story, isn't it?

Oh, it is. When playing We-ila and thinking 'that was it, this band is no more', it's really sad. But let's not hurry, there's the Nula Jedan still to be played! Onto that then...

Nula Jedan has a very concrete meaning: it means "Zero One" in Bosnian, and it's the core concept for this album. The album's thread is a man-machine duality, presented under various shapes : in war time, trouble, souvenir, distance, etc. The man apart from his soul becomes a machine, and conversely the complex machine manages to judge, dream and imitate the man, reproducing or drawing lessons from his mistakes. « Zero One » is an allusion to the binary code present in the heart of modern technologies nowadays. [Sébastien Fillion on Progscape]

1. Ex-Slave. This song makes me suspicious about all the things I just wrote, because there is a lots of old Thork in it! This song is dark and deep and it has got the atmosphere of Thork, only less heavy. The composition is long with ups and downs, fasts and slows, and there's a theme it follows, gets sidetracked, comes back... so there's at least some of the complexity too. The drum work is just stunning (well what did you expect? It's Philippe Maullet, no less) and the sounds are chrystal clear a very deep bodied and great harmonies are presented all the way with different instruments, acoustic guitar, drums and violin being on the top!. The duo vocals of Violette Corroyer and Fillion just do work, like all the vocals in this song! So, this is a stunning song, why to look back?

2. Ici is then a beautiful and joyful curiosity where a sampled vocal melody is used to let the music blow. There goes a slow part ending into vocals and blow... Some synths are being used almost in some disco style and the song is somewhat repetitive... right! Far from the Thork style we used to know. But hey, it's brilliant anyhow!

3. La Lumiere starts slowly and it remains as a restrained ballad for several minutes till it reaches the full bodied balance. Again, one of the pearls of this album, but different to old...

4. J'aurais pu is the song that gives your spine some massive chills! It's pure beauty of slow sampled vocals and percussion - maximal expression and feeling with a minimal playing. This song grants the final confidence of new Thork, what it is and what is the style of Thork! Thork has turned to reaching the maximum beauty, thus there is a crucial difference to the old Thork.

Maybe it's time to draw a conclusion - It's pointless to tell something about every song. I miss the old Thork, I miss the brilliant vocals, I miss the dark heavy play,... I miss many things about it, things that Sebastien Fillion isn't capable of alone. Like vocals that is performed here greatly and really beautifully, just that the loud passionate highlights are missing... But let's face the reality! Thork is now beautiful, elaborate and kind of minimalistic expression progressive rock performed with a very high standards - Nula Jedan is astonishing work, a truly original album straight into the top of this sub genre... sub genre? Dark Progressive Folk? Maybe Thork plays now rather in the sub genre of Elaborate Progressive Fillion. Anyhow, a very beautiful work indeed!

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 Weila by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 39 ratings

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Weila
Thork Prog Folk

Review by Nilman

5 stars Thork is a band without biography, so it's quite difficult to gather some information about it, and more, a true information about it especially if you don't understand French. Anyhow, some hints can be found from here and there: Thork was founded at 1998 by Sébastien Fillion and Antoine Aureche and later Michel Lebeau, Samuel Maurin and Claire Northey joined the band. By the time the band was very young and the players were just a teenagers, except Samuel Maurin who was a bit older.

According to them, they played dark progressive folk and that it is, for their original sound is bottomless dark, truly progressive and deeply complex with folk influences appearing for example in Claire Northey's violin playing. The darkness Thork achieves to insert into their music is so thick it propably could be cut with a knife. Most of the ideas and influences comes from celtic and medieval music and issues, yet also metal, classical and even jazz influences can be found in there, but their sound is still extremely original without a slighest idea of similar band.

Their second album We-ila is an utter masterpiece! Put the record into your player, set volume level a bit higher than normally and push play... The first thought is 'Ouch, Now we go...' and within few seconds you realise that you are listening at something great. Within few minutes you Know you are listening to something Great!

The album starter L'Origine is a real mind blower, it starts with a really tight drums and heavy guitar. Soon one of the finest singer ever walked on earth joins in and the song is pure feast, balancing somewhere between heavy progressive metal and dark, frightening folk, a Thork's own playground. They compose a brilliant mix of violin driven headbanging with a very emotional vocals. Later it calms down and turns to dark beauty leaving most of the metal behind.

What we are talking about here is really dark and beautiful prog with a nice multilayered complexity, very professional playing and lots of instruments. At times the music varies from violin oriented dark folk, from mind blowing heavy metal bursts into beautiful vocal melodies. There is no room for improvement - everything is just perfect!

The second track Delectable Ennui is one of those rarities that makes you cry inside that 'how can anything be so f...g Great! and nutshells the brilliant idea of Thork's music very nicely. It's a slow tempo darkness, stunning vocals and choirs, that goes on and on and one can only wonder how can they put so many feelings in so less notes. Then comes a short interlude Errance and massive Ea marches in. It makes you piss into your pants in fear and cry for the beauty of music!

The feeling througout the record is like you were in some fantasy novel's caves or castles following some dark rituals in trance. Not in vain of Carmina Burana but something totally different, scary and beautiful.

After a short interlude the feast continues. Dance de la Terre joins in being the most rhytmically complex, most NIL-like piece here. Even vocals are performed by Roselyne Berthet. It makes you shiver. The last track is no exception, being just as great as everything on this disc.

No weak moments, total brilliance from the very first sound into the last one. This is certainly one of the best prog records ever made - it brilliantly combines quite a lot of the aspects I seek from progressive rock and music overall. At first, it's really complex using many levels of simultaneous themes, odd time signatures, changes, long and complex compositions... Then is the mind blowing power, metal is used very carefully and sophisticatedly. The vocal parts are of top quality also, not only the lead vocals but choirs, samples, spoken words, everything. And then there's the instrumental quality, how all those are playing together, how the ideas are rich for example using the violin and how they never fall into for example individual soloing. This album cannot be recommended highly enough. Just buy it!

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 Nula Jedan by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.39 | 16 ratings

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Nula Jedan
Thork Prog Folk

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Let the nostalgia begin ;) I mean in each review I'm telling a story of my introduction into certain band's music, and this is no exception. I was involved into THORK through ''We Ila'' last spring, and it was one of the most amazing albums from Modern Prog I ever heard! Dark, epic, heavy, mystic, complex but melodic - even French singing didn't put me off as usual! :) This year I caught an opportunity to review fresh THORK album entitled ''Nula Jedan''. And on my first listening I was disappointed.

Gone were all the receipts of ''We Ila''. No darkness, no heaviness, no complexity (though melodies were even more catchier). Is this really that THORK from France I use to know? But then I just remembered the old truth that what is too conservative may be regarded as STAGNANT, so I gave it another spin. And then another one. And one more!

OK, fans of previous DARK works - beware. ''Nula Jedan'' is soft, light, balanced and even catchy. It's just DIFFERENT. There's no need in comparison or seeking for related hooks. New THORK is more meditative and accessible, but I wouldn't say less INTERESTING or PROGRESSIVE. It's just like when you put PORCUPINE TREE after DREAM THEATER, that's it - the same high level but different musical thinking. The only thing left untouched is ATTITUDE - ''Nula Jedan'' is the same way professionally created, played and recorded. Recommended, but don't be fast with conclusions - listen to it attentively and don't compare to anything. Wonderful Modern Prog!

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 Urdoxa by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.54 | 13 ratings

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Urdoxa
Thork Prog Folk

Review by MTZArts

4 stars Thork's Urdoxa is a one-of-a-kind album, combining droning, synth-clad guitars to the heavy bass-line that is masked by throated vocals that almost completely define the album's smooth, dark figure. The second track, Arche d'ebčne however, appears to be one of the only memorable tracks on this album, overpowering the other tracks and compensating for their weaknesses. All in all, this is still a definite ear-grabber and deserves to be recognized.

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 Nula Jedan by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.39 | 16 ratings

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Nula Jedan
Thork Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I mentioned in my review of "Weila" that THORK was a side project of the Maurin brothers(NIL). Well apparently this has become Sebastien Fillion's baby, as only Samuel Maurin is left and he only plays bass on two tracks. Sebastien meanwhile has added guitar, bass, low and tin whistles, glockenspiel and vocals to his usual role of synths and piano player. Each THORK album has been different, the first more in the Folk vein, while "Weila" was dark and experimental with gothic and classical themes. I really think the band has found their sound with this album. It's modern sounding, dark, mid-paced and very full sounding. The music is so lush, and unlike "Weila" the vocals don't stand out but simply add another layer to the sound.

"Ex-Slave" is a perfect example of that modern sound I was talking about. This might be the best song they have done so far. Percussion is joined by an atmospheric guitar melody as haunting synths arrive. Vocals and bass before a minute.There is this powerful undercurrent throughout. The tempo picks up. Incredible sound. Dark, atmospheric and heavy. Love the guitar solo 3 minutes in. Violin follows. Vocals continue from Sebastien with help from Violette Corroyer. She really adds a lot. Violin and keys 5 minutes in. Acoustic guitar sounds great as well.They contrast beautifully the lighter passages with the heavier ones the rest of the way. Listen to the intricate drumming. Fantastic tune ! "Ici" opens with some raw sounding guitar before the heavy beat comes in. It lightens as vocals arrive. The heavy and light are contrasted throughout. This is catchy. The beat stops 3 1/2 minutes in briefly as it becomes dark and atmospheric. More raw guitar with background synths this time. Nice. "La Lumiere" is very atmospheric as the percussion beats and the guitar grinds away slowly. Vocals replace guitar a minute in. The guitar comes back but it's faint. The sound starts to build as instruments are added. Female vocal melodies before it becomes pastoral again. The guitar is back 6 minutes in grinding away. Percussion to end it.

"J'Aurais Pu" is dark with processed vocals. It's rather slow moving. It becomes more powerful and uplifting after 3 minutes. Great second half. "Danse Des Airs" is my second favourite song after "Ex- Slave". The synths sort of swirl around as drums and a full sound comes in. The guitar makes it's presence known as the soundscape becomes heavier. It suddenly becomes very atmospheric with faint vocals and no melody. The guitar makes some noise before the melody returns. The bass is prominant 4 minutes in. Piano follows as it gets quite emotional. "Au Ciel" opens with a guitar melody as fragile vocals come in.This is such a moving track. Violin after 2 minutes as we also get some guest trombone, trumpet and flugelhorn on this track. "Revoir" sounds great with the bass, drums and synths leading the way. Vocals a minute in. This is a great tune to drift away in. "01" opens with piano, bass and then vocals. It kicks in around 3 minutes to a full sound. Heavy. The guest horn players are back for this one. Violin 4 1/2 minutes in. The song calms down with piano to end it. "Ces Reves-La" is a very cool song with percussion, acoustic guitar and processed vocals. Something uplifting about this one.

I have to go back and re-listen to "Weila" to see if I really do like this one better.They are very different from one another so it boils down to taste I suppose. Both are must haves.

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 Weila by THORK album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 39 ratings

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Weila
Thork Prog Folk

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Ha-ha, Prog Folk. Maybe Prog FOLKS? :)

Another discovery of this Spring – French Dark Symphonic Prog (with oriental and theatrical leanings) band with their phenomenal “Weila” album. They’ve mixed ANGLAGARD’s approach with TAAL’s diversity and GRAAF’s darkness. Some really folky stuff can be found here – mostly when violin and flute play – and avant bits are scattered here and there as well. Fortunately, this is very tasty mix, eclectic but enjoyable, with satisfaction guaranteed. Songwriting is strong, without unnecessary complexness – there’s nothing to add or improve here! What a shame most listeners aren’t familiar with it – just take a look how many reviews it has :( . This is a Must for every Progger, especially those who like Dark Side of Prog

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