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SEVEN REIZH

Symphonic Prog • France


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Seven Reizh biography
SENEN REIZH is a French duo founded by Claude Mignon (Composer, guitar) and Gérard Le Dortz (Writer, vocals), who were working for several years in a conceptual project about a stone-cutter named Enora, who could infuse life to the stones used to build Cathedrals, and narrates her journey to the fantastic land of Ys.

This project saw the light in 2001 as "Strinkadenn YW" in which the duo (supported by a competent group of musicians), offered us a new form of Symphonic blended with Gothic music, Neo Prog, Celtic tunes and some Gaul folk, the peculiar feature of this album is that it's sung in Breton language.

Despite some poor reviews, the album really impressed me due to it's pomp, energy and delicate fusion of music from bands such as CAMEL, MARILLION, XII ALFONSO, ENYA and CLANNAD. But this is not the end of the story, in 2006 the band released the obscure and mysterious "Samsara", an excellent album that could be considered slightly less inspired than the debut.

The band announced the release of a third CD called "La Barque Ailée et l' Albatros", for September 2013, which I'm still waiting with impatience, especially after watching a short trailer in Youtube.

Iván Melgar-Morey :::: Perú

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Strinkadenn' YsStrinkadenn' Ys
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$89.75
$34.44 (used)

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SEVEN REIZH discography


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

4.15 | 65 ratings
Strinkadenn Ys
2001
4.03 | 41 ratings
Samsara
2006

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SEVEN REIZH Reviews


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 Strinkadenn Ys  by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 65 ratings

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Strinkadenn Ys
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars Not quite the polished masterpiece that the few reviewers here on PA have raved about here, this one reminds me, qualitatively, of CIRRUS BAY's Stepping into Elsewhere in that there are some brilliant ideas, brilliant melodies, but not quite developed as far as could be taken. To be sure there are many absolutely breathtaking passages, but they often come over the top of rather banal, straightforward passages of rock chord progressions or steady backbeats (I hear a lot of GENESIS' ABACAB throughout this album's longer, rockier songs) over which the soli are then performed. The vocals and keys and folkier, 'non-rock' instruments are superb. The IONA, SALLY & MIKE OLDFIELD, XII ALFONSO and ALAN STIVELL--and even ENYA and CLANNAD--comparisons are quite understandable. I'd add not only GENESIS (big time!) but DUNWICH and even SURVIVOR. I consider all of the album's songs to be of at least 4 star quality (though the "ABACAB" similarities of "Mall eo monet de YS" are a bit too striking for my tolerance), with no less than seven songs earning 5 stars, but the album has too many spots of what I'll call 'simplicity' for me to give it an overall 5 star "masterpiece" rating. The stretch of diverse masterpieces that flow from "Hybr'Ys" (10/10), through the sublime instrumental "Kan KérYs" (8/10) the amazing eery Arab-sounding "Lińvadenn" (9/10), the VON HERTZEN BROTHERS-like "Tad ha Mamm" (8/10) and the gorgeous, gorgeous "Enora ha Maël" (10/10) are what make prog so special! Perfect captivation of the gambit of emotions of the human experience. Beautiful album--highly recommended--especially for those who love melody and subtlety.

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 Strinkadenn Ys  by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 65 ratings

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Strinkadenn Ys
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The use of celtic musical elements in prog music is not new. In fact it became quite a common sense since the early 90´s and, invevitably, it was also frequently handled without much care. So I was not very thrilled when I heard about this french band and its influence. However, Strinkadenn Ys is a outstanding album in the genre. It merged celtic, symphonic and ambient music together to bring out a startling concept album. Seven Reizh (or more specificly artists Claude Mignon and Gérard Le Dortz, the creators of the whole project) was quite successful in avoiding most of the traps of this genre with a very well crafted work that reeks of conviction, beauty and delicacy.

There are many influences and sometimes it reminds of their fellow countrymen of Alfonso XII, but clearly Mike Oldfield´s early CDs are the main source. Not that they are copying anything really, but it´s obvious the styled adopted, specially the guitar lines, some ambient keyboards, the way they use traditional instruments and several vocal parts. Bleunwenn´s voice is quite close to Oldfields sister Sally in both timbre and style. Which I should say is something quite hard to achieve without sounding like a rip off or caricatural. She manages to scape from either of them, showing great personality and passion. The inclusion of some male voices playing other characteres of the story is a plus.

This is a CD to listen to from start to finish without skipping a single track. Although I can´t understand the lyrics this is not a problem because the interpretations are so good and passionate that you can feel the meaning by the way it is delivered. The instrumental parts are simply gorgeous! The production is quite good, with all the instruments and vocals very well balanced.

Conclusion: nothing too original or groundbreaking, ok. Stil, it sounds fresh and exciting. Very melodic and laid back most of the time, with the occasional burst of energy at the right places. I loved this debut and I´m looking forward to hear the follow up. Defintily recommended. 4 stars.

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 Strinkadenn Ys  by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 65 ratings

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Strinkadenn Ys
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by progadicto

5 stars I'm totally sure that album is on the top 10 of the best symphonic prog releases of the last 10 years and probably an album that soon will be called a classic masterpiece of the genre.

Reasons are simple: based on the roots of the symph prog genre, Seven Reizh add beautiful gaelic lyrics, some celtic folk sections, amazing keyboard atmospherical sequences and celestial female vocals. There are no bored moments in it and the band constantly surprises the listener with sudden twists that moves between the most classical prog rock to beautiful acoustic compostions that opens the way to epical sectiones leaded by extraordinary vocals and great guitar and/or keyboard symphonic sections.

But the masterpiece is the extraordinary "Mall Eo Menet da Ys", such a powerful song that reminds the best Tony Banks synth sections from 70's and 80's into a heavy rhythmical section with amazing vocals. A true wonder...

5* because I'm sure that any prog fan would enjoy and love this exquisite piece of music...

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 Samsara by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.03 | 41 ratings

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Samsara
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Celtic and prog really don't mix that frequently or that well. Don't get me wrong - I could name a lot of great albums that combine the two, but the proportions are off, or they are too self consciously one way or the other. The celtic component might be used more for flavour and sound more quaint than anything, or the progressive aspects represent mere accents. SEVEN REIZH seems to be one of those rare bands whose genetic spirals enslave both, with lineage to Breton greats like ALAN STIVELL but also to the modern neo prog movement. Moreover, they have chosen to dovetail the suspenseful aspects of all these genres into some of the most riveting musical storytelling around.

Their sophomore effort is another ambitious, lavishly packaged production in service of often breathtaking themes. Orchestral, rock and traditional Breton instrumentation blend with diverse voices and clash rarely. The piano of Ronan Hilaireau is especially enjoyable in the longer cuts like "O Redek" and "Samsara" (with its lovely contrabass redolent of CAMEL), providing a respite from the sometimes raunchy guitars, savage rhythms, and skirling Breton instrumentation. "Qim Idi" combines cello with eastern European styled vocals like those in DEEP FOREST's "Boheme", but more acoustically based. The chanting of the brief "Awalik" is drenched in dramatic and melodic inspiration.

If you enjoy LOREENA MCKENNIT's knack for bridging the celtic and middle eastern worlds but wish she could escape her ethereal mists once in a while, you will enjoy "La Longue Marche". The lone hard rock moment of "A Roak" conjures FLEETWOOD MAC's cult classic "Sisters of the Moon" right down to the furious closing sequence, even if its pace barely breaks with the slow tempo on most of the album. The keyboard work near the end of the title cut sounds like something out of SATELLITE's "Evening Games", and Doro alternately recalls ANNIE HASLAM, KATE BUSH, SALLY OLDFIELD, MAGGIE REILLY and CRANBERRIES, as well as the vocal styles of the tunes in the French language version of "March of the Penguins". The net is cast widely and the take is bountiful.

"Samsara" is a wandering and worthy follow up to "Strinkadenn Ys", more reflective and subtle perhaps, but also with a potentially more lasting footprint.

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 Strinkadenn Ys  by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 65 ratings

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Strinkadenn Ys
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by ghost_of_morphy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Everything about this albums screams out Masterpiece! 5 stars for Strinkadenn Ys, and I am not kidding when I say that this piece is in the running for release of the decade.

I wish I could tell you something about this group, but there is depressingly little information I can find about them beyond our own ProgArchives description of them.

But anyhow, it's the music you guys want to hear about, and I can tell you about that.

This is a FINELY CRAFTED WORK OF ART! We are in the world of symphonic prog on this album. Earlier reviewers who mention celtic influences, for example, are mentioning just influences. Influences are the spice that seasons the soup, not the base that defines the flavor. Tasteful symphonic prog is what we have here.

I'm trying to rack my brain to think of a group to compare this to, but I'm not coming up with much. We have some great symphonic prog here, but we don't have the bombast of ELP. We have a more modern sound than Genesis ever managed to acheive. The egotism of the individual players doesn't surface as with Yes, and the music never gets overcomplicated like King Crimson's does. There is a certain neo-prog feel to some of this. Camel has been brought up as a group that this sounds like, but I just don't hear it.

What the last paragraph proves is that there is a certain uniqueness to this album, despite it being firmly and securely at the heart of the symphonic prog movement, despite it's amazingly late date.

This supposedly a concept album. My understanding of French is hardly perfect and I can barely catch a word here and there in the Breton dialect, but the sound and the composition flow effortlessly from one to another in a way that not every concept album acheives. It would not be so difficult to consider this a work of 11 movements.

As I have said, this is a FINELY CRAFTED WORK OF ART! It is also finely executed. Special mention should go out to Bleunwenn (Enora), who provides the best female vocal prog performance that I can think of since Annie Haslam was fronting for Renaissance. Also, Gurvan Mével gives us some really brillant yet restrained performances on percussion. He won't wow you like Bruford or Peart or Bozzio, but you will find a lot of imagination in his less athletic drumming. Arrangements and recording are also up to the highest standards.

Anyhow, this is a must hear album from the new millenium. If you like classic symphonic prog, find neo-prog interesting, and don't mind not understanding the lyrics, you will want to get this as soon as possible. Think of this as the symphonic prog masterpiece of the 21st century and you will understand my high recommendation.

Buy it and enjoy it.

Thank me later.

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 Samsara by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.03 | 41 ratings

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Samsara
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Talk about progress! French band Seven Reizh's debut album was universally applauded by many prog aficionados throughout the planet and meritoriously remained in my personal elite list and probably will never leave. The ingredients were an intoxicating brew of Breton influence (French Celtic from Brittany) both instrumentally and lyrically with some heady doses of outright prog in terms of succinct guitar forays and great rhythm work. This was a true masterpiece that would be hard to emulate or repeat. So they didn't even go there and opted for a complete change of course in all aspects. Firstly, "Samsara" comes with a hefty book of assorted paintings and photography that hankers back to Greenslade's "The Pentateuch" and has a sticker price that will scare off the used CD hunter/collectors. Secondly, the Gaelic flavor is now twinned with a Kabyle slant (The Kabyles are the original inhabitants of North Africa, particularly Algeria, before the Arab invasion) that merges very well and also encompasses some of the realities of modern France. This decidedly "Eastern" influence alternates some male vocal contrast to the similarly detailed lilt of the female Breton language (a distant Gaelic dialect), maintaining the powerfully plaintive use of bagpipes and considerably toning down the once crunchy guitar solos. "Samsara" is therefore an infinitely more elusive progressive animal, veering into ethnic/world territory without the saccharine fluff. From the opening sway of violin, flute and piano with "I Have a Dream" samples in the background, a languid female vocal unites in spirit with choir mellotron and some ravishing synthesized trumpet. "Ay Adu" offers up the first glances of the Saharan influence with the male voice setting the tone in a cascade of half-notes, led by the magic violin and clashing gently with the serene blasts of the Celtic bagpipes, various percussive effects and an almost Andalusian acoustic guitar solo. Délicieux! The tumultuous "O Redek" retains some of the debut album's recipe with the powerful "cornemuse"(French bagpipe) weaving suavely with brash electric rhythm guitar, a tremendously invigorating epic arrangement with more plaintive female arias, fluid piano tinkling and tons of polyrhythmic folly. An explosive finale with a stop and go electric solo really cuts to the chase and convincingly stamps these nearly 10 minutes as an album highlight. "Qim Iydi" serves up a simply mind blowing lead vocal, part Kabyle, part French that sizzles fervently, a haunting melody led by sweet violin and piano. "Awalek" is another Kabyle lament, somewhat more atonal and tentative (hinting at a quasi Deep Forest experimentation), chock full of synthetic effects and reverbs. "An Touriou" starts off like Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine", before the feminine voice takes this elsewhere altogether, with a high spiraled chorus that hints at a very ambient Kate Bush. Interesting audacity! "La Longue Marche..." is probably the most blatantly gentle track here, with an angelic Breton lilt softly dueling with the male voice, a sensuous flute and whistles , clouds of effect organ, some French lyrics, an intense mélange that just relaxes the battered soul. From here to the end is where this album swivels away completely , yearning towards music akin to This Mortal Coil : "A Roak" prefers a darker contrast, an funereal impression that's heavy on the sorrow (plaintive, almost somber organ), not far from an almost Dead Can Dance feel, a seriously extended schizoid lead guitar adds even more angst to the proceedings. In the fine spirit of always keeping the listener off guard, "Vers la Maison" is a high-pitched infantile lullaby morphing into serene Celtic sonics, a strangely odd disparity with the flow, maintaining an eerie sense of peace. Next track is an outright yet brief spooky affair, once again chock full of dissonance, as if Eno recorded something in Damascus! Bees Are! The following piece maintains a momentary sense of unease, featuring a poetic mournful French voice before ushering in the majestic tour de force "Kouezhan" with its repetitive urgency and a extremely restrained Fripp/Pinhas style guitar meandering into strange uncharted territories, exploring odd meters and frenetic wailing. The titled epic introduces some fine fretless bass noodling, putting Percy Jones of Brand X fame to shame (well not quite but close), a scowling womanly vocal loaded with vibrato and passion, , a booming percussion display, a lovely piano-led main melody, most definitely the finest and most complex track on this rather ballsy record. "Samsara" will turn out to be a completely different kettle of fish from "Strinkadenn Ys" (though still their best in my book) , way more subtle and detailed, much more personal and requiring a deeper sense of musical acceptance. It's a challenging listen; you have to be in the mood, candles lit and incense aglow. But definitely prog ! 4 far bretons.

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 Strinkadenn Ys  by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 65 ratings

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Strinkadenn Ys
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars While many talented celtic bands exist with a smidgeon of prog in their sound, Seven Reizh is an out and out symphonic progressive band from Brittany with a sound charged by electrifying Breton currents. Playing this card is riskier than one might think, given the possibility of being labelled too melodic and simple by the progheads and too snobby by the 15th century Breton purists. I am happy to report that the experiment has been highly successful.

First, they start the proceedings with the 10 minute "Selaou", and kick off the song with some pretty heavy riffs, allowing the more hypnotic segments to appear later, the opposite of how arrangements might appear if Seven Reizh were simply playing safe. But the expressive voice of Bleunwenn is a sure bet, recalling a Breton Sally Oldfield more than anything, and the occasional mixing of male vocals appears here and elsewhere to add to the haunting maritime feel of this disk. Then, Mike Oldfield's influence is also felt here and there, especially on "Naer galloud" with its hypnotic mix keys, earthy lead guitar licks and gruff male vocals. "Kan Kęr'Ys" offers plaintive piping by Konan Mével to imaginative percussions, and shows that the band can cook without voice as well. Some of the songs, like "Linvadenn", seem to trade the windswept shores of Brittany for the still sands of the Sahara, with perhaps even more impressive results.

The highlight is "Tad ha Mamm", which starts with a phone call by the sea and rocks the rest of its 9 minutes, featuring a stunning melody introduced on flute before the singing tosses it above stormy waters. The lead guitars carry the theme in new directions before handing off to much more lively pipes than previously heard. This is a masterful prog rock track, and a few more of these would have been needed to balance out some of the general mellowness of much of this album and raise it to the level of masterpiece, rather than simply a highly enjoyable and impressive debut. With Strinkadenn Ys, Seven Reizh seems to have effected a big fat wedding of two or more genres that is more perfect storm than compromise. Highly recommended for fans of symphonic prog and/or folk prog and/or celtic rock.

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 Strinkadenn Ys  by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 65 ratings

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Strinkadenn Ys
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I would like to thank tszirmay for introducing me to this band.This is a concept album but with the lyrics in Gaelic it is really lost on me.This band is from northern France and they use a variety of instruments including trombone,flute and midi uillean pipes. It's hard to put these guys in one particular genre, as you can hear Folk, Symphonic, Celtic, Neo and more on this album.There are female and male vocals as well.

"Selaou" has a rather bombastic intro with guitar prevailing in an energetic fashion. Vocals before 3 minutes as the song becomes atmospheric. Male vocals come in and they are almost spoken.The guitar then cries out as female vocals are back. We get some piano before a guitar solo takes us to the end of the song.Thunder, rain and seagulls can be heard. "Dornskrid" opens with acoustic guitar melodies. It's still thundering as synths replace the guitar. Angelic vocals from Bleunwenn."Sovajed A-Feson" reminds me of IONA, even the vocals.The percussion is cool in this Celtic flavoured tune. "Naer Ar Galloud" has some great guitar in it including riffs and powerful melodies. "Hybr'ys" has some nice piano melodies, and later a PINK FLOYD sound (The Wall).The song eventually brightens and becomes hopeful.

"Kan Ker'ys" has some uillean pipes and heavy drums to end it. "Linvadenn" is the only song in the liner notes that has any English in it. Just below the title of this song it says "Falling down..." six times.The male vocals are very well done, and the ending is spooky and ominous. "Tad Ha Mamm" is my favourite. You can hear the seagulls and waves as the phone rings.The music is uptempo with synths. Guitar and drums lead the way. Flute comes in and is such a highlight as the song calms down. Female vocals come in, and the remainder of the song has an amazing melody. "Enora Ha Mael" is a ballad with female vocals and piano."Mall Eo Monet Da Ys" is another fantastic song.There are female vocals and aggressive guitar and drums.There is a GENESIS sounding passage, and the song and album end with a gong.

This is an ambitious project involving many musicians, and their passion can be heard through the music they create.

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 Samsara by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.03 | 41 ratings

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Samsara
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Seven Reich is a French musical project featuring the duo Claude Mignon (keyboards, guitars, compositions) and Gérard Le Dortz (graphics, story, voice and samples) along many guest musicians. This CD is the successor of the album Strinkadenn Ys that was released in 2001, a while ago. Somewhere on Internet I read that Seven Reich intends to make a trilogy, well, I am looking forward to that because Samsara is a very captivating and often compelling blend of ethnic music and progressive rock (with hints from Pink Floyd and Camel) with the emphasis on ethnic. In the huge booklet (20x20 cm) you can read about the story, the lyrics and the wide range of instruments, these are blended in a wonderful way into the 14 compositions. The climates are in general dreamy with a sultry undertone and we can enjoy great female and male vocals in French (Breton), English and Arabian (the North-African Berber language). The songs flow into each other and are all small jewels, so beautiful and warm, from the short opener Encore (melancholical violincello with twanging guitar and a mellow trumpet sound), Sońj (compelling contrast between fragile piano, flute and soaring vocals and bombastic keyboards and propulsive guitar chords) and the breathtaking Ay Adu (Arabian vocals, Scottish bagpipes, a wonderful solo on classical guitar, followed by powerful electric guitar) to Qim Iydi... (a lush sound with piano, violincello, accordeon and moving interplay between piano and howling electric guitar) and A-roak (a slow rhythm featuring organ and a bombastic part with again howling guitar). It was a real treat to listen to all those ethnic instruments, from the Scottish bagpipe and the Celtic harp and tin-whistle to the Arabian udu along the bodhran, duduk, flute traverse and tambour, to name a few!

If you are up to a captivating musical adventure on the borders of folk and prog, I am sure you will be pleased with this wonderful album, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO PROG FOLK FANS!!



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 Samsara by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.03 | 41 ratings

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Samsara
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by aristotheles

5 stars This is wonderful pacage, a beautiful book and a discful of amazing music! A really dynamic album, best listened with a lots of volume and concentration. Not a single weak track but full of highlights and hooks. If I have to say some weakness, it's that the tracks and album ends too soon :( Even the longest track, O Redek falls too short! BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2006!

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