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SEVEN REIZH

Symphonic Prog • France


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Seven Reizh biography
Founded in Bretagne, France in 1999

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

See also: HERE

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L'AlbatrosL'Albatros
Seven Reizh Editions 2018
$9.98
Strinkadenn' YsStrinkadenn' Ys
Musea Records France 2006
$1,122.36 (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 | 89 ratings
Strinkadenn' Ys
2001
4.13 | 63 ratings
Samsara
2006
3.72 | 65 ratings
La Barque Ailée
2015
4.15 | 47 ratings
L'Albatros
2018

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

SEVEN REIZH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

SEVEN REIZH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 L'Albatros by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.15 | 47 ratings

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L'Albatros
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The only other Seven Reizh album I've heard is 2001's Strinkadenn Ys--one of my five favorite albums from that year. As the band and its composers did so well on that album, there is an attempt to merge and blend the musical traditions of different cultures and ethnicities--here more toward West-East, Celtic and Arabic. Apparently, I've just learned, the four Seven Reizh musical releases--Strinkadenn Ys, Samsara, La Barque Ail'e, and L'albatross--are meant to be a "quadrilogy," four album releases intended to musically convey the story as told in an accompanying fantasy novel--one that tells the "history" of the adventures of a 19th Century Bretagnais world-traveling sailor named Jean-Marie Le Bris who is also imagining and aspiring to invent an "aerial ship" (the "barque aill'e"). I love the fact that composer Claude Mignon and novelist-production designer G'rard Le Dortz show the esteem in which they hold their contributing vocalists (who are all wonderful) by listing them first among their credited contributors. As you listen to any of the Seven Reizh albums you'll understand why: These albums are unique in the way they are telling the story--the novel--in a kind of conversational/narrational format with all vocalists making appearances over the course of each and every song--and using multiple languages and many, many ethnic music traditions, to do so.

1. "Le Pavillon Chinois" (3:59) The title says it all: music stylized Chinese. Could be a travel video soundtrack. The takeover of the main melody from Chinese flutes to Celtic Uilleann pipes at 2:30 is interesting--and then German vocals! (8.5/10)

2. "Brizh" (14:48) slow, cinematic music plods beneath violin and English vocals of Laur'ne Bourvon. The synth "Strings" lead that follows the first verse sounds a little dated, but the breathy, vulnerable vocal (not unlike KOOP/LITTLE DRAGON's Yukimi Nagano) is awesome. At :00 the singer and language of choice change. I'm not much of a fan of saxophone, so the long Dick Parry-like solo in the sixth and seventh minutes is not for me. The ensuing lull of orchestral nuances is gorgeous--great, emotional melody. More delicate female vocalists appear, wafting in and out, until at the 13:00 mark an explosion of sound unleashes more Dick Parry-like sax and some slide guitar co-soloing to the finish. Overall, a great song; a veritable classic prog epic. (9.5/10)

3. "Tiqit Weman" (5:52) opens with strings to support the Kabyle singing of Farid A't Siameur (who sounds a bit like older PETER GABRIEL). In the second minute the lead vocal switches to a female singing in a different language. Back and forth the two go; this is a conversation. The operatic voice of this lead singer is quite beautiful--and a great contrast to the raspy voice of A't Siameur. The underlying music is quite like a stage or cinematic musical--could be a Disney love song. It's beautiful. (9/10)

4. "Dalc'h Mad" (6:55) Farid A't Siameur bursts out from the opening note in his Kabyle tongue, isnging in a forceful, devotional way. Laur'ne Bourvon's English singing comes next over some incongruously heavy rock music. Again, a theatric conversation style of lyrical presentation unfolds as the two protagonists and their choral support seem to be expressing anguish and longing. Another great song that could belong in a Disney or Cirque du Soleil presentation. (9/10)

5. "Klasker-bara" (4:40) the most subdued and sad of the Celtic-Arabic blends on the album, here the exceptionally emotional vocal performances are perfectly matched and integreted with the music--much of which is orchestral acoustic. (9.5/10)

6. "Kriz" (9:27) electronically clipped drum with delicately played steel-string guitar and woodwinds opens this song for the first gentle, sleepy two minutes. Then Laur'ne and Farid continue their conversation. I am so engaged in this conversation, this story, I just wish I knew what it was about (in detail)! There is a major song shift at the three minute mark into a kind of Buddha Lounge oriental fantasy song. It's extremely pretty! Lyrics are sung in French. Some cool drumming at the end of the fifth minute to signal another shift--one in which Farid enters and sings on multiple tracks with electric guitar power chords counter-balancing the Chinese erhu and then the English lyrics sung by Laur'ne. Nice guitar solo in the seventh/eighth minutes (especially its climactic section flwoing into the ninth minute). Oriental themes return and are woven among the continued soloing of the electric guitar to the end. Brilliant creation! (9.25/10)

7. "Lostmarc'h" (9:59) despite an unspectacular opening section--calm and desert-beautiful, sung in English--this one carries an incredibly touching emotional quality within both the multi-voice vocal performances and the instrumental fabric supporting it all. The musical foundation becomes more compelling with the entry of operatic voice of one of the women (Stefanie or Bleunwenn, I know not which). The conversational aspect of storytelling is quite apparent in this one as Laur'ne, Farid, and Stefanie/Bleunwenn take turns in the lead position. Eventually, the song finishes with some more wonderful acoustic and electric guitar soloing. In the end, this is truly a gorgeous song regardless of whether or not it ever develops or evolves into something surprising or unexpected. I'm just so glad someone is doing this kind of music. (9.25/10)

8. "Er Lein" (9:30) all-out Celtic rock (despite Farid's Kabyle vocals). After the opening three minutes, this song is amped up to full power all the way through until the final 30 seconds. The female vocals are awesome from start to finish--from the scrambled, almost mumbled openers into the thrum-supported doubled-up verses to the operatic Gaelic ones before Farid's entrance. Brilliant! The deep pulse of bass, drums, and keys balanced by the celtic cimbalom (zither/autoharp), celtic pipes and horns and guitar are so well done! Truly an awesome song! (9.5/10)

I greatly admire the successful melding of Celtic and Arabic traditions; perhaps there is a larger social-political statement being made here. Now knowing the continuous story line that this one concludes I will go back and add the middle two releases ((2006's Samsara and 2015's La barque aill'e) that I have yet to hear. Also, I must comment on the drastically improved sound production Messers. Mignon and Le Dortz have achieved since Strinkadenn Ys: it doesn't get much better than this.

Five stars; a masterpiece of cross-cultural storytelling progressive rock music.

 La Barque Ailée by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.72 | 65 ratings

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La Barque Ailée
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars As usual the duo of Claude Mignon and G'rard Le Dortz have surrounded themselves with a gaggle of talented vocalists and instrumentalists towards the realization of another sympho-celtic concept piece, this one dedicated to one of Breton Jean-Marie Le Bris' early flying machines. Added to the Breton and Berber lyrics we now have - gasp! - English - on a few of the tracks.

As before, nobody is quite in the league of SEVEN REIZH in its field. While Celtic extravaganzas are nothing new, most have sunk under their own flabby pretensions or, while well meaning, simply don't include enough compelling music to sweep this listener away. That is sadly the case on "An touriou II" and "Harp" here, which sidle up a little too comfortably to contemporary pop. Luckily the lengthier pieces still ignite often enough to justify comparisons to prior works and to quality prog in general, like the best of MIKE OLDFIELD's Celtic inspired output, particularly in the climax of "La voie de milieu". The piano solo that closes the disk is so nuanced and deliberate that it ends up unwittingly exposing the primary weakness of this incarnation of SEVEN REIZH: it doesn't mark any appreciable breakthrough in style or substance, nor do Mignon and Le Dortz vary the atmosphere across widely divergent concepts. I have been allowing this audition to bleed into their prior works and find them largely interchangeable, admittedly at a high level, but with "La Barque Ailee" perhaps not quite attaining the peaks of "Strinkadenn.." or "Samsara".

The sequel called "Albatross" was due in 2016 but the website is mum on the subject so I guess we will just have to wait. Perhaps SEVEN REIZH are also waiting for a new injection of inspiration. In the meantime, I would recommend working chronologically through the discography, and, if you already have and enjoyed what you have heard, by all means pick this one up. It just might not be as exhilarating as that first flight. 3.5 stars rounded down.

 La Barque Ailée by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.72 | 65 ratings

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La Barque Ailée
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by Replayer

5 stars Seven Reizh's third and most ambitious album to date, La Barque Ailée (The Winged Barque) and its yet-unreleased sequel, L'albatros (due 2016), are concept albums inspired by Breton sailor and flight pioneer Jean-Marie Le Bris and are named after two of his flying machines.

As usual, composer Claude Mignon plays guitars and keyboards. Bleunwenn Mével, the main singer from Strikadenn Ys returns and sings in Breton. Longtime collaborator Farid Aït Siameur, lead singer of Taÿfa, is featured on most of the songs, singing in his native Kabyle, a Berber language from northern Algeria. Stefanie Théobald sings the French lyrics. As opposed to the previous two albums, La Barque Ailée features English lyrics, sung by Astrid Aubron.

As on the previous albums, Olivier Carole of Taÿfa plays bass, Gurvan Mével is responsible for drums and percussion and Gwenaël Mével plays various wind instruments. There are many other guest musicians, some of whom played on Samsâra, such as the string trio, which is featured throughout the album.

Sarpant Nij kicks things off to an exciting start, with a vaguely Eastern electric guitar and violin and aggressive drumming. Bleunwenn and Farid alternate singing as the song progresses through a gentle piano-based section, a violin-dominated section, and a rockier section featuring electric guitar and drums.

Seven features innovative interplay between cimbalom and bagpipes, backed by plodding drums. Most of the lyrics are in English and Kabyle. Seven features a beautiful flute outro similar to Samsâra's La longue marche.

Imram starts with multiple female voices chanting. Farid and Bleunwenn trade verses accompanied by the string section, later joined by piano and martial drums.

An Touriou II has the same vocal melody as Samsâra's An Touriou, but with English lyrics and an uplifting mood compared to its predecessor's ominous atmosphere. In the refrain a subtle Oldfield-style electric guitar wails in the background, later joined by bagpipes.

Harp, as the title indicates, is focused on the Celtic harp, but also preeminently features an accordion, violin and slide guitar. The song has mainly French lyrics, sung by Stefanie.

La voie du Milieu is the second longest track and is very dynamic. Farid, Bleunwenn and the choir all take turns singing. The song alternates between softer passages, which feature strings, piano and flute, and harder passages, which feature electric guitar, bagpipes and drums.

Kemmañ is the longest track and has multiple sections. Astrid, Farid and Bleunwenn alternate on lead vocal. The song starts with strings and piano, before Mignon's lap steel guitar joins in, playing a plaintive Gilmoresque tune. Crunchy electric guitar, a pulsing synth and saxophone join in with Farid. The song features a gorgeous slide guitar solo that plays over the choir and provides the album's highlight for me. Kemmañ ends with a saxophone solo evocative of the Shine On, You Crazy Diamond Parts I-V outro.

Autre Lettre à Louis Mignon is a dreamy and sparse, almost monophonic, piano piece, closing the album on a melancholy note.

I bought the album together with the associated book, which includes the song lyrics and their translation as well as the first half of La Barque Ailée novel written by lyricist Gérard Le Dortz. The book features some stunning photography and is very professionally designed, showcasing Le Dortz's skills as a graphic artist and writer. The book is available in French, English and German versions on the Seven Reizh website.

One thing I want to emphasize is how well everything in this album ties together. In spite of the extremely varied instrumentation and multi-part structure of the songs, the album flows remarkably well. This is a truly progressive album, painstakingly recorded over the course of a year by skilled musicians as a labor of love. In La Barque Ailée, Seven Reizh once again weaves a compelling tapestry of Celtic symphonic prog with world music influences.

 Strinkadenn' Ys by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 89 ratings

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Strinkadenn' Ys
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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 "Liñvadenn" (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.
 Strinkadenn' Ys by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 89 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.

 Strinkadenn' Ys by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 89 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...

 Samsara by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.13 | 63 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 EMELIE SIMON 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.

 Strinkadenn' Ys by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 89 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.

 Samsara by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.13 | 63 ratings

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Samsara
Seven Reizh Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.
 Strinkadenn' Ys by SEVEN REIZH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.15 | 89 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 smidgen 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.

They kick off the 10 minute "Selaou" 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 apparent, especially on "Naer galloud" with its hypnotic mixed keys, earthy lead guitar licks and gruff male vocals. "Kan Kêr'Ys" offers plaintive piping by Konan Mével to imaginative percussion, and shows that the band does just fine when out from under the voices. 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.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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