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Dionysos biography
From Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada comes Dionysos who were the very first Quebecois rock band to record an album in ''joual'', Quebec's own slang heavy variation of street French. They recorded a 45 in 1969, a bluesy track called ''Suzie''.

In 1971 came their first album ''Le Grand Jeu'' playing a rough and heavy bluesy psychy prog rock topped by gruff vocals that would have been at home on such labels as Vertigo, Dawn or Neon. The second album "Le Prince Croule" came a year later and showed band in a more experimental and symphonic mode yet still heavy and raunchy. Both albums were produced by 60's teen idol Donald Lautrec which may explain album's low-fi sound shortcomings. Fans of early British organ driven hard/prog rock such as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Atomic Rooster should enjoy these early albums.

They disbanded in 74 only to regroup in 76 to record an eponymous album unofficially called ''Changé d' Adresse''. Most of the early albums' roughness is gone and replace by a jazzier and poppier sound yet still progressive in places, making the album a bit more accessible. Despite a better production, the album lacks direction and for the second time band calls it quit. In 1978 bandleader Paul-André Thibert records a ''solo'' album entitled ''Musique De Mes Amis Dionysos'' enlisting most of the band's members resulting in a fairly similar work to his band's preceding record. Thus logically ending up in their discography.

A third and final reunion took place in 1994 when 3 original members got together to do a small tour and re-record some old classics for a CD release called ''Pionniers 1969-94''.

!!!!!! Bio written by Alain Malette, Quebec, Canada !!!!!

Why this artist must be listed in :
Early Quebecois prog.

Le grand jeu-1971
Le prince croule-1972
Dionysos ''Changé d'adresse''-1976
Musique de mes amis Dionysos-1978
Pionniers 1969-94

DIONYSOS Videos (YouTube and more)

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Mecanique Du CoeurMecanique Du Coeur
Universal France 2007
$25.48 (used)
Dionysos & Musique De Mes AmisDionysos & Musique De Mes Amis
$85.00 (used)
Monsters in LoveMonsters in Love
Barclay 2005
$1.80 (used)
Vampire en PyjamaVampire en Pyjama
Columbia 2016
$1.68 (used)
Le Prince CrouleLe Prince Croule
Du Western Sous La NeigeDu Western Sous La Neige
Universal France 2017
$21.69 (used)
La Mecanique Du Coeur by Dionysos (2007-11-22)La Mecanique Du Coeur by Dionysos (2007-11-22)
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DIONYSOS discography

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

3.19 | 24 ratings
Le Grand Jeu
4.01 | 29 ratings
Le Prince Croule
3.10 | 12 ratings

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

DIONYSOS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DIONYSOS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.17 | 8 ratings
Pionnier 1969-1994

DIONYSOS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pionnier 1969-1994 by DIONYSOS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
2.17 | 8 ratings

Pionnier 1969-1994
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Dionysos was one of the earliest rock bands out of Québec who chose to sing solely in French. Their debut album "Le Grand Jeu" in 1971 was still deeply rooted in the heavy psyche / heavy blues sounds of the day and makes for an excellent proto-metal album just as much as a proto-prog album. Their second album "Le Prince Croule" is rated at 4 stars with 19 ratings on PA. They released one more album in 1976 and then disappeared from the map for a while. I'm not familiar with the history of the band so well but I can imagine members went their separate ways and took part in other projects as 1976 was the apogee of the Québec prog scene. Of their three albums, only the debut has been released on CD and the recording sounds like it came directly from vinyl. The sound is acceptable mostly due to the loud and scratchy nature of the guitar distortion and the Hammond organ. The other two albums have not ever been released on CD.

In 1994 they released this album "Pionnier 1969-1994". Eager to hear music from their two more progressive albums, I ordered it and only after did I learn that this is not a compilation of original studio recordings but an album of new recordings of old songs. With this there's both reason to rejoice and to be disappointed.

The first five tracks are from the debut and from the opening of "Narcotique" it sounds like the band are going to stick to the original as closely as possible. Vocalist Paul André Thibert doesn't seem to have aged at all as he gives a vocal delivery as powerful as in 1971. Of course it soon becomes apparent that this is a modern (1994) recording with a much cleaner and clearer sound reproduction. I'm not a fan of this song really because there are better songs on the original album but also because the Axis Records reissue of this, which as I said must have come directly from vinyl, has an interruption in the music from 1:56 to 1:58 when it sounds like someone bumped the jack from the turntable and bursts of static replace the music. I returned the disc to the seller the first time, explaining the problem and a replacement was sent with the exact same problem. Thus if you buy the Axis CD you'll have this problem too. The original song is over 12 minutes long but has had four minutes cut off here.

The other four songs are performed with close attention to representing the originals, and you'll catch some great Hammond organ, electric guitar, and even harmonica. However, Dionysos decided to add a brass section not present in the original songs. Hearing this, I recall once seeing on TV the Stones perform "Satisfaction" live in the 80's, and they had a trio of female backing vocalists and brass. The classic song was a hit with the audience, but I felt something had been lost. The original song had that youthful spit and grit, and the magic lamp found dusty and smeared in a desert cave had been polished all smooth and shiny and proudly displayed on the mantle piece. I have the same impression here. The music is still expertly performed and some of the heaviness, bluesiness, and psyche feeling preserved, but the long hair has been cut and styled, the scraggly beards neatly trimmed and the flannel shirts and denim replaced by pressed shirts and dress slacks.

Of course I was very excited about hearing songs from the other two albums and being able to compare the similarities and disparities between the debut album's songs and their reworked descendants, I was looking forward to at least discerning some of that 70's prog feeling. Unfortunately, the rest of the songs, no matter what the year of their original recording, all sound to me like mature adult-oriented contemporary pop music. That adventurousness and notion of creating something new that pervades so much of 70's music is replaced by visions of a mature band with their polished mature look playing for a mature audience. That doesn't mean the music is not good. It's excellent with talented and experienced musicians. Just listen to the instrumental "Ostie de problème". Great stuff! And this is where one can rejoice. Excellent production for wonderful performances. For me, though, I find it easier to identify with that shagginess, that hirsute 70's spirit that lead to the creation of so much incredible music where studio engineers and technicians had to improvise constantly in order to capture what musicians and producers imagined. This album of 1994 remakes is safe and smooth. And somehow I can't relate as well. I can't feel a lot of this music is part of my identity. In fact, the song by Dionysos that I would proudly play loud is "Agneau de Dieu" from the debut album, which was not covered here for better or for worse.

In conclusion, obviously I would have preferred a compilation of original recordings. The music is still nothing to scoff at. For me though, it's less my cup of tea than what is presumably on the releases from the 70's. I give it two stars not because of poor music or production, which is not the case at all, but because I think the discerning prog connoisseur would better enjoy the original songs than the offering on this disc.

 Le Grand Jeu by DIONYSOS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.19 | 24 ratings

Le Grand Jeu
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Rock Progressif Quebecois movement hit its zenith around 1976/77 with a lot of bands releasing some of their best work or their only albums during these two years. However, the Quebec prog scene goes back to the late sixties when, as with other places in the world, the psychedelic period was giving birth to a new breed of music that would grow out of the nebulous haze of fuzz-toned guitars, swirling organs, and synchopated jazz-influenced drumming. Dionysos are said to be one of the first bands to begin singing solely in French and their 1971 debut sees them planted firmly in the heavy psychedelic scene.

To sum up the music on this album is pretty simple: imagine 1967/68 heavy rocking Vanilla Fudge along with other contemporary bands who relied on lots of organ and guitar distortion. There's a strong blues element that rears its head frequently enough but also, very interestingly, a noticeable proto-metal element as well. The actual prog-as-we-know-it style from England that would pervade the music scene in Quebec in a few years time is not to be found here. Instead, you can expect typical lengthy organ and guitar solos, most blatant in "L'age du chlore" with a long organ solo but also apparent in "Agneau de dieu" and "Narcotique". The songs are not without some advanced take on song structure but still a barely recognizable ancestor to the likes of bands that would germinate in Quebec soil over the forthcoming years.

As such, there are things to like about this album and other things that are not so impressive. "Narcotique" at over 12 minutes would seem to be the big prog production number here but it swims around in an ocean of heavy psych so that even the prog sensibilites that show through in their nascent stages are still cloaked in some rather standard psychedelic adventurism. "Suzie" is a song that I read somewhere got the band some recognition but it strikes me as being one of those generic Led Zeppelin-ish heavy blues songs that doesn't come across very well on a studio album, though compliments should be paid to Paul Andre Thibert for his very sincere post-Woodstock blues vocal work.

For my personal preferences, "L'age d'or" gets some points for being a two-part instrumental featuring both a quieter and somewhat reminiscently renaissance half and more rocking and grooving half, and "La colere" is worthy of mention for its crunchy fuzz tone guitar and groovy organ.

The star of the show in my books, however, is the proto-doom metal album closer "Agneau de dieu". Again a song in two parts, the first part is heavy enough with some notable Iommi-isms in the guitar soloing. But wait until you get to second half of this song when it becomes so flipping heavy and chock full of distortion that you'll do well to watch slow-motion footage of Mt. Saint Helens exploding while listening to this. If you have a fetish for early very heavy music like I do, this part will probably leave you flat out on the floor with your chest heaving. The killer move is when Thibalt shouts out, "Et je mourir!" as the music comes crashing down like real heavy metal thunder. An awesome proto-metal track!

Though Dionysos's albums are pretty rare, the debut is easily available on CD. The one real complaint might be the sound quality of this CD as it seems the master was a reasonably good piece of vinyl and nothing better. So there are lots of pops and scratches and the usual hiss that comes when a CD is produced from a vinyl master. I find though that it is not so bothersome as it rather suits the music, especially the copious fuzz tone used on the guitar in certain tracks.

I can't say I highly recommend it as a prog album, but as proto-prog and proto-metal, and as a heavy psych album, it's quite good and should appeal to fans of this type of music.

 Le Prince Croule by DIONYSOS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.01 | 29 ratings

Le Prince Croule
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. There were so many bands from Quebec that I didn't know about until I joined this site. In Ontario here we usually just heard Pop bands from Quebec who sang in English. So yes my mind has been opened to some amazing French bands and albums that were just next door to our province here. And it took a Dane (Bamsen) to introduce me to this particular band and for that I thankyou David ! Man what a discovery this has been for me. This is adventerous, experimental, heavy and very proggy.

"Lever De Prince" has a very interesting soundscape with so much going on. Vocals a minute in. The guitar comes to the fore after 2 1/2 minutes. The vocals are very passionate at times especially to end the song. "Chanson Du Courage" is a relaxed tune with pleasant vocals. It does turn nasty before a minute instrumentally as the vocals stop. That opening sound is back though with vocals after 2 minutes. "Demain La Vie" has some atmosphere to start as the vocals and a beat rise out of it. Some powerful organ follows along with guitar. So good. The tempo picks up but then slows back down before 3 minutes. It settles back again as the intro is reprised with atmosphere but then it builds again. My God ! "Terreur Et Masque" opens with organ and a heavy sound as the vocals join in. The vocals stop as the guitar starts to solo. Nice. The vocals are back before 2 minutes. Piano joins in as the vocals and heaviness continues.

"Le Prince Jardine" features organ and a catchy sound with vocals. Great sound before 2 minutes as we get this instrumental interlude. "Safari" is uptempo and upbeat to start. It slows some and turns heavier before a minute. A guitar solo arrives after 2 minutes followed by a calm. Ripping guitar after 3 1/2 minutes and the drums join in then the organ as they kick some ass. "Ballade Inquiete" is mellow with reserved vocals and gentle guitar. The guitar is replaced by piano as these contrasts continue. "Terreur Et Jouie-Le Prince Croule" is the almost 14 minute closer. It's experimental with theatrical vocals to start but this is replaced by organ, guitar and a beat quickly. Vocals join in too. This is a slow burner. Great sound ! It turns almost dreamy before 3 minutes until before 7 minutes without vocals. They retrun though just after 7 minutes and become passionate before 9 minutes. The song then drifts along with floating organ. Guitar and some nasty organ follows along with some intense vocals. How good is this !

Just a killer album that is very entertaining as well. A must !

 Le Prince Croule by DIONYSOS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.01 | 29 ratings

Le Prince Croule
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars The Collapsing Prince...

The French Canadian prog scene has received a very distinguished reputation around these parts and deservedly so too. With acts like Harmonium, Maneige and more recently Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this French speaking part of North America has been a hotbed for musical visions with a twist ever since the late 60s.

This is why I find it all the more puzzling that a band like Dionysos haven't received the same amount of glowing reviews as their contemporaries, because the music on offer here is just about tailor-made for you people out there with a hard on for the early eclectic prog rock sound. It's an amalgamation of different things, but first and foremost can you hear how the preceding decade has diminished in favour for an edgier feel - a more tumultuous and boisterous sound. Sure, the powerful and sludgy organ work does give off a psychedelic hippie silver-lining that reeks of early Santana, but surrounding it is an altogether different sounding animal. This is 1972 with all of its charm and far reaching musical ideas - with a magical content of melody, flair and that something special that escapes any wording out there.

The vocals here are all in French, and while they may be an acquired taste, they do however suit the music perfectly. They're breezy and wafting - floating over the different hard rocking soundscapes like swirling black feathers. This is something that feels infinitely French to me. I've heard it so many times, - especially a band like Harmonium utilise this breezy vocal trade, and what it does to the music, is to breathe a lightness into the midst of things - a sudden gust of autumnal wind cooling everything around it. Dionysos are no different, and on this their sophomore release Le Prince Croule, the counterpointing effect of rocking edgy guitars and that of those vocals are downright gorgeous.

Apart from the closing cut that infuses long jams and inspired unorthodox vocal sections, all of these tracks are short and to the point - even if they feel developed and large in scope. They have a way of melting together creating a red line running all the way through the album, and more than once did I feel transported deep into a sonic tale of sorcery and thick French wine.

Le Prince Croule simply means the collapsing prince.....?!? My high school French has sadly met its match here, even if the odd phrase seems recognisable and decipherable. You do, however, not need to speak the language to get with the program here. There's plenty of things to enjoy besides the lyrical content, and to those of us who get woozy whenever a guitar jumps into overdrive and starts soaring electrically high above our heads, - we certainly get treated to some eargasms en route.

There's a distinct early feel to this one. I am reminded of bands like Raw Material and a decisively more symphonic and psychedelic sounding Van Damme Generator. All in all Dionysos strike me as the French Canadian version of Os Mundi, but then again writing something like that only makes sense to me and a couple of German pensioners. We're talking obscure here - though not because of a weird unapproachable sound. More like bad exposure and hard to find albums, which similarly echoes the feeling I have regarding Dionysos. These guys deserve far more attention, and if you by some miraculous touch of faith stumble over one of their reissued albums, then I wholeheartedly recommend them. This is sonic honey right here!

 Le Prince Croule by DIONYSOS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.01 | 29 ratings

Le Prince Croule
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Second and seminal album from this solid pioneering quintet of La Belle Province. Again released in 70 (but on a different label, the first release of Zodiaque), and graced with an abstract artwork, Le Prince Croule (the prince crumbles) is the logical continuation of Le Grand Jeu, but the quintet have learned a few tricks and Prince is a definitely better album as well as a concept album, revolving around a crumbling realm and a revolution.

Starting on the heavy dramatics of a Hammond and some prime guitar squeals; Dionysos unleashes into the Prince's new day (Lever Du Prince), telling us nothing has changed and they're ready for some solid proto-prog but with French lyrics, even if Thibert's vocals are an acquired taste. Chanson Du Courage (too bad for the abrupt fade-out) and Demain La Vie (a fantastic "prog start" ala Crimson) are both excellent, but Terreur Et Masque has a real Uriah Heep feel due in great part to the saturated Hammond. Most of the album is well in the line of what's been described so far, with plenty of good solos and when the needle lifts from the wax of side A and lands on the flipside (Prince Jardine means the prince is gardening), while it's still clearly the same group, the songwriting has taken on another dramatic turn with Mort De L'Aigle (death of the eagle) and some truly demonstrative and descriptive playing that the power is shifting and the reign is over. There are some Spanish hints in the most dramatic of times. Ballade Inquiète is the prince realizing his carelessness, but he wonders way too late and the 13-mins+ title track is closing the story with again plenty of instrumental dramatics and some inventive vocals (at times anyway, and they're still an acquired taste), .

For some reasons, the group will remain mute until 74, when they will write and play the soundtrack of a play, Sam Sheppard's Tooth Of Crime, which to my knowledge was never edited into vinyl or CD. They will take 75 off and come back with the vastly different Changé D'Adresse. Together with the debut album, Dionysos' early career still have to find a legit Cd reissue (poor boots exists), while the inferior later albums have been out for a while) and unfortunately the vinyls are not the cheapest around. But if you must have only one, Prince Croule is it.

 Le Grand Jeu by DIONYSOS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.19 | 24 ratings

Le Grand Jeu
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by debrewguy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Ah, the 70s ... the grand Epannouissement of the Francophone culture in Quebec. No longer limited or interested in french covers of English pop hits, many of the province's musicians are turning to more musically challenging styles.

Dionysos are among those. For those who also have heard of the first Offenbach albums, this one will likely appeal to you.

For those who don't know much about the then Quebec scene, the point of reference would be a more organ based harder version of the MKI Deep Purple and early Uriah Heep. Even Atomic Rooster can be used as a comparison.

As Sean has mentioned, the music here has firm roots in the blues & rock. But there is that extra something that takes it beyond your basic 12 bar boogie compositions.

For Quebec, Dionysos and other such groups were part of their own wave of progressive bands that were taking over the scene. For those outside the province, this album also stands in good stead with much of the heavy prog of the time.

Conclusion - Worth it for lovers of Heavy B3, especially if you come across a good deal. Not necessary, but good to have when you consider that they don't really make this kind of music any more. If you know what I mean ...

 Le Prince Croule by DIONYSOS album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.01 | 29 ratings

Le Prince Croule
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by Thunderrock

5 stars When I was young I always want to have French Canadian music. But in the late 60's it's only pop available in Québec.Even in 1965 there where what we called underground groups in Québec. None of those survived the Education révolution in 1968.That was the year where private school dissapeared. And on with the public school system. But from that emerge some groups like Dionysos,Offenbach,Robert Charlebois,Morse Code,Ville Emard Blues Band,Connexion,Autchose,Pagliaro to name a few. Some of those artists where there in the 60's doing mostly american or british cover songs. But the 70's changed all that. Personal identity was the upmost important thing to a group.

And when Dionisos came about it was for us [French speaking peoples] a new way of expressing our deep feeling in a non violent way.The 60's in Québec was riots and strikes time. Yes music calms peoples. What was particular about Dyonisos is that the songwrigting was about problems that was deeply rooted in Québec. Like Suzy maybe a blues song to some but about a riveting fact that every saturday night all married wife would loose their husband for that night. Leaving the boyfriend to have fun. Also la colère is a song with very heavy riff to express the deceit that the farmer's boy would have toward his father.Leaving the farm for the city.So for us this was a new avenue.

For le Prince croule. The sound was as we consider it a opera prog,because it was a saga of an evil homosexual Prince that want to conquer the world.But like any evil doers, feel is fall coming onto him.Also some songs are related to actual world problems like le Prince jardine it about world wide drought. Safari is about the mercyless killing of the African wildlife. Yes I know it's an instrumental piece but my friend worked at the now defunct Pop Rock The one and only french speaking magazine in north America.This is a pity because all folds of music except pop was actually talked about.Their sound was very spacey and blues like oriented giving this album an exceptional sound.But in early 70's in Québec label company where so and so. First Jupiter,Gamma,Zodiak where the lower end hi-fi type.But if they were recorded on London,Victor,Apple or even Capitol that was Morse code's label. They would probably survived the toll of time. Also I've been told in 1978 by my friend at Pop Rock. That all masters of Dyonisos where lost.... What a shame.Also any group before 1975 in Québec that didn't sell at least 5000 copies would not survive... So it was the start of the beginning of a very good journey for the french speaking even awake our neighbours the Ontario to go into that direction. But for me Le Prince Croule is my most treasured album because it's not connected to any of my life dramas. If you sit back and empty your head before listening to the album you should be able to go into a trance.

And I still have the 3 Dionysos vinyl LP there's are in bad condition but. It's a piece of history.When we can get a real LP to CD software. I will consider putting it back to their original sound.

 Pionnier 1969-1994 by DIONYSOS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
2.17 | 8 ratings

Pionnier 1969-1994
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

Released in the early 90's this album might appear a compilation of their historical tracks, but it turns out that this is more of a re-recording of their earlier tracks, so beware. Apparently this was a project organized by the Pionnier label (who released last year one historic Dionysos album in honour of the group's 35th anniversary), and

This re-recording session involved the three main protagonists of their classic period, Thibert, Clement and Mathieu, but they used a truckload of guest as well. This is exactly the type of semi-stinky albums I usually stay away from, but for years this was the only way to hear some Dionysos on CD. What's worse most of the reworks are shorter than the originals and (you guessed it!!) the instrumental interplay is the major victim, even if the group has better recording facilities and were better musicians. The selection process of tracks leaves to be desired as well as four from the debut but only one from their rare second (and from far proggiest) Le Prince Croule (and an itsy bitsy one too), three from their weaker 67§ reunion album, and two from their offshoot 78 project Mes Amis.

So Narcotique loses almost 4 minutes, but manages to suffer less than other tracks. I was not a big fan of La Colère in its original form, and the rework fails to convince of this version's raison d'être. L'Age Du Chlore gets an extra brass section, but it changes the track's feel from a Purple/Nice thing to a funky brass rock. Unfortunately the debut album's best track (the instrumental L'Age D'Or) loses half its length, and the straight blues rock of Suzie is a complete waste of time unless you arean unconditional fan of Thibert's voice.

Their second (and almost overlooked) album does not get much a treatment here as the short Prince Jardine also gets the brass section treatment, which ruins theoriginal spirit. Of minor interest is the previously unavailable S'Ul Yiab track written in 72 but getting the 94 treatment. Is it because I am unable to compare it with the original version, but I find this to be the best track of this album.

The eponymous album (76) is represented by two of the three best track, namely Osti'd Problème, which is almost equal (meaning very good) to the original version, the good rocky Pit Buick (the only one that retained its original length) and T'Attends Ton Train actually gains a few seconds. Overall I'd say that the 94-Dionysos was closer to their 76-version than others.

The English-sung Vancouver and instrumental Bouquet De Roses (dedicated to Duane Allman) are both from that album from 78, which I've never heard, so I can't tell you if they are bettered or not, but the Allman dedication is interesting and needless is it to tell you of which band it reminds you.

One of the few positive things about this "album" is that you finally get to hear their early works in good conditions, but that's about it, though!! Best avoided if you ask this casual fan,but I dare say less casuals could beg to differ on its status

 Dionysos by DIONYSOS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.10 | 12 ratings

Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Having broken up in 74, Dionysos reformed in 76 and released a eponymous album that usually received the name Changé D'Addresse, referring to the sleeve's artwork, this is the only original album that is legally available in CD format (due to a 35th anniversary), so far in 07. The group is now a sextet having added wind/keys player JP Forget and replaced their bassist with Durand.

Sonically, however the difference is quite striking, as Dionysos is now heavily jazz-tinged group, having lost much of its characteristic hard edged so present in their first two albums. Actually, this one even hesitates a bit between jazz-rock and straight jazz, but eventually the album is well in the rock realm. While being progressive in its essence with its jazz side, the album holds limited interest for progheads, outside of tracks like Pit Buick, C'est Comme Ca and the longer Osti'd Problème (friggin' problem) that do bring you back to their previous album's enthusiasm, even if jazzier this time around. One of the thing that transpires when listening to this album is that all of the musicians have gotten much better at their trade, but the music on the album doesn't allow to show it as much as previously.

Other (short) tracks (all of them bar two, below the 4-min) are either boring (the slow rocker opening T'Attends Ton Train and the atrocious rockabilly Yvette) or extremely slow (Chanson sans Our is reminiscent of the slower Claude Nougaro) or unexceptional (dare I say downright averagey-average?) such as the aptly titled instrumental Retro, the up- tempo Reveille and the acoustic outro Flou Pas Fou ditty.

On the whole, what makes this album fail compared to their previous two is the noticeable lack of enthusiasm as if thy actually believed no more and a bit going through the motions. And of course when this happens, you know it won't. For fans only.

 Le Grand Jeu by DIONYSOS album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.19 | 24 ratings

Le Grand Jeu
Dionysos Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

One of Quebec's earliest and most historically important albums is Dionysos' debut called Le Grand Jeu (referring to life's big play/game), along with Frank Dervieux's Dimension M, because of its use of the Quebec-French singing and even if the prog contents are relatively low, this is definitely a proggish blues-rock album.

Dionysos is a quintet (the usual prog quartet plus leader Thibert on vocals and wind instruments) that develops a relatively conventional hard blues-rock with the usual prog traits (all tracks between 5 and 12 minutes) of the early 70's. Organ-driven, filled with searing and soaring guitar leads, the odd flute and the then-surprising Joual vocals (the local French dialect was not really fully accepted in 1970 in arts) and an intriguing gatefold artwork the inside being fairly naïve/childish though.

With the opening12-min+ Narcotique is a typical Dionysos blues-based track, but comes with plenty of drama, interplay, interludes and changes of tempo, but it will not raise the hair from your arms. Suzie is a good standard 12-bar Blues with no surprise and therefore a bit boring. La Colère is a fuzz guitar piece that tries to emulate anger, but I must say that it is not entirely convincing either. Thibert's voice is a fairly typical one for Quebec's Joual singing (somewhere between Charlebois, Octobre's Flynn and Offenbach's lead singer.

Much more interesting is the 8-min+ L'Age Du Chlore, an up-tempo affair evenly shared between organ and guitar reminiscent of Purple in their proggier moments and even The Nice, due to Mathieu's presence. But the better has yet to come with the mid- tempo instrumental L'Age D'Or where the flute fights the guitar for supremacy early on, with the organ lurking just under, underlined by the efficient drumming until the flute seems to win and the track strangely fading out, to come back more energetic with a vengeful guitar. The album closes on the Agneau De Dieu (god's lamb), another hard driving organ-dominated rocker where Clement's riffy guitar is the main feature, especially in its middle section, where he hints at some Frippian tricks.

While this review was made from a loaned (thanks JM ;-) Spanish bootleg CD, I can't remember if the original vinyl presented the same sonic flaws (sounds like it was done from a so-so vinyl) as the pirate, but beware of this issue should you want to investigate the band. While hardly essential to most progheads, this early Quebec prog album is nevertheless an important step in La Belle Province's rise to greatness.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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