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NESSIE

Symphonic Prog • Belgium


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Nessie biography
This group came from the suburbs of the third city of Belgium, Liège and developed a symphonic rock that could be likened to BJH or GENESIS, somewhat hoping to jump on the MACHIAVEL bandwagon along with DRAGON and ISOPODA. They recorded two self-produced albums in the second part of the 70's (never having been released on Cd format) before folding probably due to lack of financial means.

Nevermore than a footnote of the history of prog, NESSIE is likely to appeal to symphonic prog buffs who appreciate the groups mentioned above but surely BJH with a slight twist of GENTLE GIANT here and there

: : : Sean Trane, BELGIUM : : :

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NESSIE discography


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

2.71 | 14 ratings
The Tree
1977
2.60 | 9 ratings
Head In The Sand
1979

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NESSIE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Tree by NESSIE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.71 | 14 ratings

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The Tree
Nessie Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars No question, Belgium was among the countries that produced some groups towards the end of the 70's, which tried to keep the struggling Classic Prog movement alive like Flyte, Isopoda or Phylter.One of these cases was Nessie, a late-70's act from Verviers (near the German borders) with J.M. James Blanche on drums, Joseph Pons on bass, Henri Leruth on keys and Daniel Sarlet on synths and guitars.Their debut ''The tree'' was recorded at Michel Dickensheld Studio in Ougree in May 1978 and was released the same year as a private press.

Their style was a mix of melodic CAMEL passages, GENESIS' poppy symponicism around the period, PAVLOV'S DOG nervous lyrical moments and MACHIAVEL'S diversity, all of them blended nicely but with a less artistic nature than all of their aforementioned influences.For the most part of the album guitars remain silent, so the album is very much driven by the double synth attacks of Leruth and Sarlet with only a few organ and mellotron waves throughout.While the musicianship is good at moments, it is often interrupted by amateur multi-vocal lines.The sound of the synthesizers is too sterile and the mix is pretty bad, not helping Nessie's ideas, as some of them are decent to say the least, offering a few good symphonic-inclined moments.Additionally two or three tracks are too commercial and rather far from memorable.On the other hand a pair of compositions contain excellent CAMEL-esque flute work and impressive, grandiose synths to eventually deliver trully Classic Prog beauty.

Not among the good bands of the 70's, not even among the few ones,which dared to play progressive music in prog's farewell years.The lack of trully interesting material, the very short length of the album (29 minutes) and the presence of numerous amateur parts, both musically and in the vocal parts, make this one even questionable for a CD reissue...2.5 stars.

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 The Tree by NESSIE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.71 | 14 ratings

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The Tree
Nessie Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Even quite blamed by people there, I like this short, little (very short, just 29 minutes) album that still has a lot to offer. Symphonic tradition of Belgium is indeed long and don't take me bad guys, I understand with the facts you are providing.

Prog development in different countries is different too, this is why I don't care much that it's 1977. The only "cheesy" song here and I mean really intentionally cheesy would be Vivid Memories, this melody is like Swiss (or Belgium) chocolate. White type.

So because I have no problem with sweetness (I don't mind it), then this album shines in what it provides, quite synthesized Symphonic Prog. The World of the Tree has nice flute moments, while Rumble of Drums is nice outro funny song.

Most of songs are having its share of multi-choral vocals, which is another thing I can appreciate. It may sound too pop at first look/hearing, but there are Prog twists here and there.

4(-) is my rating for such albums.

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 The Tree by NESSIE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.71 | 14 ratings

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The Tree
Nessie Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars An overdose of sweeties from Belgium.

The flutes rings out and the music is sweet. The vocalist is very sweet. The keyboards is sweet too. ............please pass me the salt, please.

The soundscape here is full of nice sounds from keyboards, flutes and the piano. The songs..... I am sure I have heard these songs before, done better by other bands. There is a Eleanor Rigby ripoff here which then passes over to a Yes song ripoff I have forgotten. In the middle of this; the Hair musical sound track jumps in on at least two songs. Jesus Christ Superstar also makes a flypass on this album. Everything is glossed over by a female angelic choir. Sweet..... The worst thing though is the vocals. They are more emotionally charged than a Katherine Hepburn movie and totally over the top.

This is as you may have caught onto now, not an album I rate highly. There are some good pieces here and there. Mostly when the vocalist and the female choir shuts up. Which is not often. But most of this album is pretty grim listening. This is an album with little symphonic prog or any other qualities. Avoid.

2.25 stars

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 Head In The Sand  by NESSIE album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.60 | 9 ratings

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Head In The Sand
Nessie Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Nessie is an obscure late '70's progressive rock band from Belgium who released two albums , one in 1977 and second from 1979 - Head in the sand. Both albums are rather cheesy prog rock with some symphonic influences and some pop rock here and there. The second album Head in the sand is not an improvement over the first, not the song writting or the ideas of the musicicnas change on this labum, is the same lamentable symphonic rock without many highs , but with a lot of lows. The low parts are many, the voice, the sound is so mediocre that it may give you hard times listning this album at once: Unreal body and It's a new day dawning is a desaster (copying Barclay James Harvest mid 70's period) the good parts are fiew, the opening track Too much money is ok, nothing realy over the top, but pleasent as a whole, The popy piece Lightnig stars is another worthy track, while is a pop tune is very ok, and the voice of Bill Pons is good, the rst of the pieces are between forgetable and ok. Well because this album was never released on CD so far , this band is even less known, the vinyls are very expensiv and not for everybody, so another thing that will bury this band into oblivion. Not one of the top belgian bands. 2 stars, forgetable and without substance, only one or two tracks worth intrest, not enough to be more then a forgetable release.

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 The Tree by NESSIE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.71 | 14 ratings

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The Tree
Nessie Symphonic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Nice but not the best Belgian symph!

Some minutes ago i reviewed a portuguese album and i said that my knowledge about that country's music was very limited, this time is the same, right now i could not name more than 4 bands from Belgium i know, being the main one Univers Zero, but well this time i found an album of this 70s band called Nessie which does not have anything to do with chamber music or RIO, it is (was) a symphonic prog band.

And to be honest to you, i actually dont know more about Nessie, so i will only review the album without giving you a background of the band, as i use to do in the most of my reviews. This second album called The Tree was released in 1977 and is a very short one with 29 minutes of music, there are some half an hour awesome albums like Profondo Rosso by Goblin, so the duration is not always the most important thing, this album ends so fast that you may not notice it.

It has 7 songs, the first 2 are the long ones and the rest are basically a 3-minute song.

Gold Digger Ghost opens the album and let us know that they had an influence from bands like Barclay James Harvest or Pavlov's Dog, actually this very first song reminds me a lot to Pavlov's Dog, not for the vocals but because of the music, and despite being a Belgian band they decided to sing in English, maybe in order to have more recognition in the world musical scene. This song is good, nice music with mellotron and a great drumming. The Tree is the next one and opens very soft with a delicate flute sound, then vocals enter and actually there are some harmony vocals, the song is very soft and catchy, the drums and flute make the base and as background we will listen to the keyboards, nice song but not the best, actually i think the best was the previous one, this song finishes with some kind of vocal harmonic chants. Love Dreamer start is almost the same as the final part of the previous song, and after some 40 seconds it changes to a faster time and tempo song, a bit rockier and very reminiscent to BJH in some moments, the final part is more interesting, with a nice bass base and the keys solo. The Weapon Begins with some screams reminding me to some 60s American rock or blues bands, then it turns instrumental with some good bass lines and drums, then the vocals returns and in moments i find them to be a bit annoying, in this song for instance i would have prefered a completely instrumental one. Vivid Memories as the other songs have some vocal harmonies, and a delicate symphonic sound without being the most complex thing, it doesn't sound bad at all, sometimes the music sounds very classic or even cautios as if they were afraid of create something better and more original. The World of the Tree opens with a beautiful flute and synth sound and then it turns to what basically the album is, easy symphonic prog, soft and calm music synth as background, not the best vocal performance and some backing vocals, the part where the flute enters actually gives something different to the music, if the flute doesn't sound, the music may become boring and monotonous. Rumble of Drums is the last song of this short album and actually is the shortes song with only 2 minutes, it opens with some spoken word like orders of the sargeant and then a march drumming, the song sounds like a goodbye.

The album is not that bad, but is repetitive and monotonous sometimes, i may give 3 stars to it but i am not that enthusiastic with it, i think there are hundreds of better albums than this one, 2.5 may be the best, but this time i won't feel satisfied if i don't qualify it with 2 stars. Not bad and non-essential.

Anyway, enjoy it!

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 Head In The Sand  by NESSIE album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.60 | 9 ratings

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Head In The Sand
Nessie Symphonic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Nessie's second album is clearly a step downward IMHO compared to their naïve debut, but it does remain betterthan anything else Belgium had to offerin the symphonic rock during those years. With an artwork sleeve that reminds me of Happy The Man's second album, this sophomore release is clearly in the line of their debut but fails to pick-up where they had left off. The album is not any better, although there are attempts to make something different most notably on Spanish Singer, but it remains little more than a hook with slight Flamenco intinations. But they could not pretending more as they were a "poorman's BJH", but nevertheless having endearing qualities and one of them is clearly the singing sometimes veering towards music hall tradition, but most tracks on side 1 are clearly lacking real personality.

Again, this album, a private release never got a Cd re-issue and the original vinyl is costly. You might want to wait until an artist-friendly label releases it in a 2 albums on 1 CD DEAL; I have Musea in mind..as they released so many Belgium groups before.

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 The Tree by NESSIE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.71 | 14 ratings

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The Tree
Nessie Symphonic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Belgium has a tradition of bringing some highly talented groups always meddling with RIO, Avant-prog, experimental Canterbury and the general scene is responsible for Chamber prog! But there was also another tradition, this one about more symphonic groups such as Machiavel, Isopoda, Dragon, Flyte, Phylter, Banzaï and later on Now. One of those bands is Nessie (from the Liège region) thar released two albums in the late 70's. To say the least most of these groups in the second category never achieved much success bith artistically and commercially (Machiavel being the notable exception that confirms the rule). Lack of financial means was a major success for sure, but clearly most of those groups while developping a pleasant symphonic rock clearly based on Genesis and other masters, they were all a bit amateurish and a bit too naïve.

The Tree is Nessie's first album and IMHO, their slightly better album. Their sound is based on Genesis, BJH and to a lesser extent Yes, but contrary to other Belgian groups of the times, they also have a slight Gentle Giant twist appearing here and there, which sets them apart from more "conventional" bands like Isopoda and Dragon. Lyrics are sung in English and are apt enough not to shock anyone and there is a lovely flute here and there. The artwork sleeve is a beautyful but naïve Tree scene, but overall the album is very short: one side not even clocking in at 15 minutes and on the other side a track is anounced both on the label and on the sleeve but conspicuously absent on the vinyl. I personally like better Nessie even though they were amateurs - both their albums were private releases - than their more professional countrymen of that era.

If you enjoy the Belgian bands mentionned previously, no doubt Nessie will please you , but their album are quite scarce andto my knowledge they have never been released on Cd. This could easily make a 2 album on 1 Cd deal. Any takers???????

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