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WOMEGA

Eclectic Prog • Belgium


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Womega biography
WOMEGA is an middle-seventies, one-off obscurity from Belgium. The core of the band were three brothers: Duk, Jen and Joss Vanlessen - Duk and Joss on guitars and Joss on bass. Paul Vrijens was on keyboards, he contributed in songwriting along with Vanlessen(s). The other memebers were Jos Bertrand on drums, Herman Merken on vocals; and Paul Peters on flute and brass instruments.

They managed to record their debut (and only album) in Acorn Studio, Oxford, UK. The album, titled "A Quick Step" was published in the winter of 1975. The album reveals a particular sound of the band: a progressive rock with elements of heavy rock, Canterbury, spiced up with folk overtones and jazz-rock attitude. Nice, melodical passages with guitar ans saxophone interplays, and dominating flute and Mellotron.

Such a qualites of WOMEGA's music are certainly Eclectic, and a worthy addition to every progressive rock collection. Recommended.



Moris Mateljan, 2008.




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3.02 | 11 ratings
A Quick Step
1975

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WOMEGA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Quick Step by WOMEGA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.02 | 11 ratings

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A Quick Step
Womega Eclectic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars An obscure group from the mid-Seventies who delivered a single album (hmm, perhaps they were thinking "We'll show all those prog bands that it's not only Italy that does the `one-and-done' thing!"), Belgian band Womega released the sadly prophetically titled `One Quick Step' and promptly vanished. Their eclectic sound was equal parts rock, jazz, and a kind of fancy AOR with clever progressive rock leanings, perhaps not far removed from German band Message, although this debut is not always quite up to the standard of their first three albums. Predominantly vocal- driven pieces were enhanced with the addition of brass instruments, flute and plentiful keyboards here, with all the musicians revealing keen instrumental prowess grafted to strong song-writing structures.

Take note - some listeners may dismiss the album right from the first spin due to the polarizing lead vocals of Herman Merken! Perhaps similar to Greenslade's singer David Lawson, it's not exactly that Herman can't sing or lacks confidence, but he sometimes has a rather dorky quality that initially makes moving through some parts of the album a bit of a chore. But stick with it (even the second play onwards should raise an eyebrow in impressed surprise!), because he not only eventually reveals a distinctive charm, but repeated listens of the disc show just what a talented group of musicians Womega were and how varied and exciting their instrumental arrangements could frequently be.

Beginning with the first side, the bafflingly-titled opener `Nympho's Belly Button' gets the album off to a great start! With chiming twin electric guitar runs and sprightly acoustic breaks, spacey synths bubbling in the background and punchy drumming, it saunters with a casual groove before taking a darker symphonic turn in the second half. Nice sighing harmonies and laid back bluesy guitar fills unwind throughout the mellow `Along Came You', contrasted with fleeting up-tempo bursts of flute dancing cheerfully behind pumping bass and furious percussion. `Christo Said' marries a delirious vocal with sprinkles of Hammond organ, saxophone and playful twisting electric guitar, with a mournful Pink Floyd-like solo to end on behind gorgeous rising Mellotron veils. The main tune of ` (Sweet) Sleeping Sixteen' is a bit daggy, but the whole piece is full of an energetic playfulness, and the darker jazzy turns in the more instrumental second half of murmuring bass, sax and flute is lively and thrilling.

Side B opens with a brief but exceptional acoustic guitar instrumental `Bagtel' that immediately confirms what skilled musicians were in this group, and it easily rivals those Steve Howe interludes on the classic Seventies Yes albums. The unpredictable `Heros of Flames' holds a foot-taping infectiousness to its Santana-like slinking jazz/fusion urgency of exotic percussion and fiery electric guitar embers, and `Tearful Thoughts' is the longest and most ambitious piece here at just over seven minutes, and is probably the highlight of the album. A heavy mood holds a mournful vocal that grows more urgent as the track progresses, Caravan-like flute floats in and out duelling with twin-guitar battles and hypnotic Hammond organ, and there's a cool call-and-response vocal passage between Herman and the rest of the group as they play for their lives. Despite a fairly frazzled and loopy vocal, the twisting guitars of closer `Tu Qouque' mean the track could have easily come from any of the first few Camel albums, with heavier blasts, cheerful group harmonies, dirtier sax and a lovely jazzy stroll worked in for good measure too.

The best progressive rock collections should include less well-known albums, bringing a good overview of mostly unknown acts that offered their own interpretation of adventurous rock music from the golden Seventies prog period. Those looking to add a quirky and energetic title should investigate `A Quick Step', an album that quickly improves on repeated listens and really shines with skill and professionalism very quickly. It's a shame Womega disappeared after all the potential shown here, but listeners who can happily appreciate song-based prog rock as opposed to endless lengthy instrumental showboating soloing may be in for a treat here.

Three and a half stars.

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 A Quick Step by WOMEGA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.02 | 11 ratings

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A Quick Step
Womega Eclectic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "A Quick Step" is the debut full-length studio album by Belgian progressive rock act Womega. The album was released through EMI in the winter of 1975. "A Quick Step" is the only album release by the band.

The music on "A Quick Step" is hard to define and youīll hear the seven man band (the lineup includes no less than three brothers)incorporate quite a few musical styles to form their sound. In addition to two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, a lead vocalist Womega also features a brass/flute player and a keyboard player. The two last mentioned add tasteful textures to the music. The rythm section is in the jazz-rock vein, while the guitars play both harmony runs and funky rythms. Itīs all delivered with skill and conviction, but lead vocalist Herman Merken is the weak link in the chain IMO. Itīs not that he canīt sing though. He delivers both lead and harmony vocals in a satisfying fashion, but he has a pretty unremarkable voice and it doesnīt help that the vocal melodies arenīt that easy to remember either. Thatīs something most people are used to when listening to progressive rock though (Read: Unremarkable singers) and it shouldnīt be a problem to most.

One of the greatest assets of the album is the high level musicianship. These guys can play and they often venture into adventurous territories to show it off. The nice little acoustic guitar piece "Bagatel" with itīs classical leanings is an example of that. The warm and organic sound production is another asset. "A Quick Step" is a pretty interesting progressive rock album to these ears, but it lacks that final songwriting skill to really leave a long lasting impression, so there are both good and not so good things to say about it. I guess a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

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 A Quick Step by WOMEGA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.02 | 11 ratings

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A Quick Step
Womega Eclectic Prog

Review by clarke2001
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars

I'm really curious what step will this band make after a debut if it didn't bound to happen they were an one-off. Would they dilute themselves, or grow into something more complex? This album is a good soil for both scenarios...

This is a pleasant album if you're into seventies rock, but nothing to die for. It remands me a lot of BLOODROCK - in hard rock approach, and in vocal lines. Hints of symphonic rock here and there, and some unusual solutions (but not unheard nor avangarde) are placing this act a step above the mediocre crowd from the same era. Nice background flutes, dry synths. And that's about it. If you expect mellotrons and brass gallore, forget it. If you expected complex arrangements, forget it. This is homogenic, it contains that continuous float (unlike many debuts), but it's just not standing out of the crowd. When I listen to this album, it passes without noticing. It's very god as a background (for a proghead).

Of course, there's more going on, but I'm not sure is it really worth it. So with a full respect, I'm giving it not so high rating. You might give it a try if you came across it, but don't you dare to search for it for the sake of being an obscurity.

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 A Quick Step by WOMEGA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.02 | 11 ratings

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A Quick Step
Womega Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This obscure band came from Belgium and was a big discovery for me because they really sound good, they released only one album in 1975 named A quick step. The bands was formed by the 3 brothers Vanlessen who also are the main composers of the pieces. The music is quite eclectic with nice mellotron passages, warm vocals and some sax and jazzy interplays added here and there - not far from canterbury flavour . This album is hard to find both on vynil or Cd but if you do don't hesitate to listen, they worth it. The best piece is for me the opening track Nympho's Belly Button - here Womega shines on every instrument and can fight with the big names in prog, the rest are also very ok for an oscure band. So a big 4 stars for them, they desearve it. The CD that i own is bought from Syn-phonic label at rezonable price for such an unknown band, under japanese mini lp sleeve format. So go and get it.

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Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition.

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