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Oryzhein biography
ORYZHEIN is a progressive rock group from around Quebec formed in September 1994. The band started out from an idea for a concept album that would eventually become their debut 'Scalaria'. With lyrics in work for a while, the group went through demos and line-up changes until they were ready for live performances and recording of the album; which was finally triggered in 1998 by receiving the grant from Quebec government. The groups' only album up to this point is the 'Scalaria' album which features a medieval story of man losing his loved ones and seeking revenge, and further enlightenment that came from the other themes of the story.

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1.18 | 3 ratings

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 Scalaria by ORYZHEIN album cover Studio Album, 1999
1.18 | 3 ratings

Oryzhein Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

1 stars Unfortunately someone who reads this is probably going to be offended, but I calls ‘em like I hears ‘em, and this thing is really – well, let’s just say not very good.

Apparently the artists who made this album did so under a grant, or at least that’s what I’ve been able to piece together from a few blurbs written about them here and there. All I know is the CD set me back $12 USD, and for that I consider it to be money not very well spent. I’m trying to be diplomatic here, but there really is nothing redeeming in the music that I can discern whatsoever. The music is a blend of simple keyboard progressions, jangling guitar riffs with no sense of purpose, and scattered ethnic instruments like a didgeridoo, bagpipes and some unaccredited percussion that were apparently included to give certain tracks a ‘world music’ feel. None of them is very convincing.

The musicians are a mixed bag as well, with some at least having credentials in other minor groups. Keyboardist Allan Kinney played in another Canadian band called Ana Bhraka; Marc Douesnard and Jean-François Linteau are/were members of the Afro-world band Oniro (and Linteau also appeared on at least one of Visible Wind’s albums); and bagpiper Christophe Rivet appears to have spent some time in a few regional acts as well. Most of them are unknowns though, and the quality of the music demonstrates why.

The biggest issue with these tracks is the seeming lack of any sort of concerted attempt at cohesion. I suppose that would be okay if this were an obvious avante/art record of some sort, but there’s every indication the band considered themselves to be some sort of ‘hip’ progressive collective. In fact, that’s what they call themselves on their web site. I’m not buying it though.

Eric Dubé’s French-language vocals are lackluster at best, and off-key at their worst. On several tracks like “La Solitude”, “Le Monastère” and “Le Magician” Kinney simply pounds out the same keys over and over again with virtually no variation or apparent purpose whatsoever, and ‘jangling’ is the only adjective I can think of to describe Benjamin Masse’s uninspired guitar playing. I just don’t get it.

The only mildly worthwhile musical moment on the album is the saxophone instrumental piece on “La Mort”. And that only lasts for about twenty seconds. That’s it, skip to the end. The end by the way contains the only English-vocal track, the disjointed Talking Heads-like “Not Here Not Now”, which not only doesn’t match the rest of the music on the album, it sounds like it was recorded on one or two tracks and just spliced together for a final product.

Enough of this thing – don’t buy it. Nothing worth listening to here, and really I’m more mad at myself for buying it then with the band for recording it. I wish I could get my money back, but at least I have a new coaster for my coffee cup. Not recommended for anyone. One star.


Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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