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DIRECTION

Neo-Prog • Canada


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Direction biography
Canadian act DIRECTION started out in 1998, when Marco Paradis (guitars) started talking with childhood friend François Potvin (drums, percussion), an excellent drummer with a master's degree in percussion, about recording music together.

They agree to record a CD, and when the compositions have been worked out, they get in touch with Robin Gaudreault (bass) who agrees to join the project. When it's time to add vocals, Serge Tremblay is contacted and agrees to join.

It has been a long lasting creation, and it isn't until November 2002 that the the debut album "R" is released.

Following the release Potvin leaves, as he has other commitments to follow up. After a few months of inactivity, Jean-Claude Tremblay (drums, percussion) agrees to hook up with the band. As he has many other commitments this means that the recording of their sophomore production will be slow; and it isn't until November 2005 that Direction's second album, "O", is issued.

In February 2006 the band starts to work on their third album, and in 2007 "13" is issued.

Following the release of this CD Gaudrealt leaves the band, and instead of finding a replacement Serge Tremblay takes over as bass player, adding this to keyboards and vocals which he already provides.

Direction is signed by Canadian label Unicorn Digital in 2008, and Direction's fourth album "EST" is issued by them in May 2008.


WHY IS THIS ARTIST LISTED AT PROGARCHIVES:
The main musical foundation in the works of Canadian outfit DIRECTION is vintage style symphonic progressive rock, similar rather than influenced by acts like Genesis and Camel. However, they like to mix in many elements from art rock in their compositions too; and although not typical of the genre they should appeal to followers of Neo Progressive just as much as Symphonic Progressive rock.

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DIRECTION discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
R
2002
3.00 | 2 ratings
O
2005
2.05 | 2 ratings
13
2007
3.40 | 7 ratings
EST
2008
2.74 | 3 ratings
Ere
2009
3.67 | 3 ratings
VA - Le voyage d'Alex
2011

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DIRECTION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 13 by DIRECTION album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.05 | 2 ratings

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13
Direction Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars With ''O'' Direction eventually made some impact within the prog circles, so the band did want to take advantage of this positive momentum and record a third album as soon as possible.By the end of 2006 they entered Marco Paradis' own studio at Saint-Sacrement and a few monts later ''13'' became the third studio album of the band.Yves Thibault emerges for the first time as the Canadian's sleeve designer.

I really can't understand why the band did not follow the respectable and inspired sound of the sophomore album.With ''13'' the listener will have to face another stylistic turn by Direction, but I am afraid this won't be on the convincing side of things.First and foremost the tracks have become pretty short and simplistic regarding their structures.Then comes the presented sound, which has become extremely guitar-oriented, without any evident keyboard parts in most of the cuts, they now sound like a French-speaking version of RUSH, as the emphasis is on the guitar leads and solos with minor keyboard flashes.There are two multi-parted compositions in here, where the listener somewhat expects the turn of events.''Le chateau'' features a more epic and dramatic atmosphere, sporadically strengthened by the discreet keyboard orchestrations, but then again the Canadians refuse to move away from their love for RUSH.The two-part ''Intoxique'' is a bit more pleasant, the style is again fairly guitar-driven, but this time Direction have chosen to follow some more atmospheric lines with a slight PINK FLOYD/PORCUPINE TREE flavor, which sounds a bit more suitable to the French vocals and the sparse guitar melodies.The rest is generic Heavy/Hard/Neo Prog with good vocals, but the music fails to move away from the mass of average RUSH clones.

Certainly a stepback, after hearing the very good ''O''.RUSH-influenced Heavy/Neo Prog, which does not succeed to blend French poetic voices with harder, guitar-fronted material with comfort.Approach with caution...2.5 stars.

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 O by DIRECTION album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.00 | 2 ratings

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O
Direction Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars ''R'' meant to be the first and last work of original drummer and founding member of Direction Francois Potvin, who left the band due to work commitments.He was replaced by Jean-Claude Tremblay but actually this would take some time, because Tremblay was under contract with a few artists.Eventually he joined the band in 2005, leading to the recordings of the sophomore Direction effort, again under a simple letter title, ''O''.

''R'' included the usual mistakes a junior band makes, but ''O'' simply heads to the right direction.The first couple of tracks though are a mix of prog and Alternative Rock with edgy guitars but also nice vocals and shifting climates.''Rien de Moins'' and ''La résurrection'' are quite a surprise.Simple-structured mellow numbers featuring excellent vocals and magnificent changing keyboard work by Serge Tremblay, including mellotron, organ and synths.''Je te Traverserai'' is another straightforward composition but still the vocals are passionate and the overall performance energetic.''De toute facon'' is possibly the less interesting number in ''O''.Too long and rather repetitive ballad with no particular inspiration and only some nice grandiose synths in the middle.But the huge bet for the band would be the 22-min. epic ''Coucher de Nuit'', which finally ends up as a very strong compositions.Crunchy guitars, both flashy and atmospheric synthesizers in the vein of PENDRAGON and ARENA, dreamy acoustic workouts, smooth string sections, expressive vocals and some good dose of mellotron produce a complete Classic Prog-inspired epic of many different soundscapes.''L'éclosion'' will close the album in a calm but good way.Soft piano/organ-driven ballad much led by Tremblay's vocals but with some nice guitar and synths' solos as well.

An obvious improvement over Direction's debut,''O'' is propably the place to start regarding the band's discography.Emotional, passionate and energetic Progressive Rock with even some stunning moments.Recommended.

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 Ere by DIRECTION album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.74 | 3 ratings

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Ere
Direction Neo-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Rush, anyone ?

The opening seconds of this album sounds like Rush in their prime...... Rush post 1990 to be more precise. Then the French lyrics kicks in and it becomes obvious that this is not Geddy Lee & co. But I was fooled for a moment !

I listed this album without knowing that this album in fact is a remastered and reworked version of their debut album R from 2002. The music here is therefore their first effort as recording artists. I just wanted to get this in before I continue......

.... With a review of an album which starts out with a Rush sound, but then branch out to include influences also from Yes and the French symphonic prog scene. That is, Yes anno Close To The Edge. The French lyrics also gives me some references to the likes of Pentacle. But most of all, this album is very much down the Rush direction. It is littered with Rush sound bites. I have listened to many bands in my life and Rush is my favorite band. Hence I am, whether I like it or not, trying to find bands which gives me the Rush vibe. Direction is the band which has come closest to Rush in sound........ and Yes.

The quality of the material is good throughout. The opener En avant toute is a great song. The rest is there about too. The reworking and the remastering of this album cannot hide the fact that this album is a debut album where ideas is tried out and then rejected. There is no doubting this band's talents though. The arrangements are good, although sailing very much up to the wind (Rush). Even the couple of ballads here is very good and tasteful. The use of saxophone on one of them are excellent. The musicians too is very good.

It is my understanding that the other Direction albums is more in the vein of Camel and Yes than this album. But this album is very Rush dominated and that pleases a Rush fan like myself. I will purchase the rest of this band's albums as a matter of priority as a result. I am keeping an eye on this band.......... watching their every move.

3.5 stars

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 Ere by DIRECTION album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.74 | 3 ratings

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Ere
Direction Neo-Prog

Review by maryes

2 stars The Canadian band DIRECTION in his fifth albun "Ere", presents a neo-prog that have some similarity with two other Canadian bands, MORSE CODE & RUSH. However that similarity is not as "sharp" as should be, what does with that it is not presented nor MORSE CODE vein symphonic- prog and nor so a little the heavy-prog of the RUSH (this until appears in some moments, just as in Track 1 "En Avent Toute",Track 2 "Planete Terre" in the midle secction theme and Track 3 "Extrait of Conscience." Of this it sorts out the disk not to present a sound really convincing, because the arrangements don't reach the expectation created by some small passages inside of the music that leave the imagination of the prog manniacs (like me) thinking that it lacks daring or even inspiration to develop the themes, that it is one of the main characteristics of a band of progressive. I make a honor to the drummer. Due to these considerations my rate i only 2 stars!!!

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 EST by DIRECTION album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.40 | 7 ratings

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EST
Direction Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

3 stars First 25 seconds of this album Est strongly remind me of one of the more well known Glass Hammer songs (Maker of Crowns) with the wonderful piano tones but after this half minute the comparison goes astray when French male vocals set in and don't sound anything like the beautiful female vocals of the American symph proggers.

In fact, most you'll hear on this latest by Direction is pretty main stream neo prog with several excellent instrumental passages. But what strikes me with those is that they are stronger compositionally than where the execution is concerned. And then I will have to be more specific because in my believe there is not much wrong at all with the keyboards but it's the guitar that is not really impressive to me. Also the vocals are almost a matter of taste and could be a love or hate thing to listeners.

First five songs have an average length of hardly over 5 minutes and that might give the impression they don't have much to offer but the songs are compact and all contain very good instrumental contributions. The fourth of this quintet, Touriste Urbain is clearly the weakest of these five and almost sounds like a pop song. The rest is somewhere between 3,25 and 3,5* in quality so pretty good that is. Two mini-epics at the end (Soldat and Dernier Issue) have even more to offer and are both compostions with very strong moments.

It makes the choice for the ultimate rating pretty hard, this is one of those obvious 3,5 star albums that almost give you a headache for the definitive fixation. I will have to make a choice and since the majority of songs don't reach the average I will have to round down to three. A very good album though and recommended to neo prog fans who don't mind French vocals.

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 EST by DIRECTION album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.40 | 7 ratings

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EST
Direction Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A nice little creation from this Canadian outfit; with a surprising evolvement.

The opening tracks on this production may lead many potential listeners to draw hasty conclusions though; with the opening number a Genesis clone and the following number exploring a symphonic rock tradition pretty close to Camel. Unoriginal, but very well made - compelling despite the many musical similarities to other acts.

The rest of this album is done following more of an art rock exploration though, maintaining some of the symphonic elements from the onset but now mixing them with stylistic leanings closer to Kansas at first, and then venturing into musical landscapes with greater similarities to acts like Trooper, Magnum and Rush; the latter in particular comes across as a strong influence for this outfit. Some riff patterns and quite a few bass lines could have been lifted from albums made by this Canadian trio; but they are placed in a context which makes them sound intriguing rather than poor replications; with symphonic art rock being the closest I can get in terms of describing the musical explorations.

Well worth checking out - with a particular recommendation for the epic tune Soldat.

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