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Neo-Prog • Belgium

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Prelude biography
Short-lived late-70's Belgian progressive act,coming from the city of Verviers in the province of Liege. They consisted of singer David Piron, guitarist Vincent Fis, bassist Benoit Van Der Straeten,keyboardist Michel Crosset and drummer Leon Paulus.Their sole album Voyage was released in 1979 on Europroductions and this one is a good example of early Neo Progressive Rock (although this term did not exist back in 1979) with keyboard layers and careful guitar solos, usually with a symphonic edge. Prelude possibly disbanded shortly after the release with guitarist Vincent Fis moving on to form the Neo Prog band Now in mid-80's.

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PRELUDE discography

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3.12 | 21 ratings

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

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Voyage by PRELUDE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.12 | 21 ratings

Prelude Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Considering the `boom' period of what would later become referred to as the `Neo Prog' sound was the early Eighties and encompassed such groups as Pendragon, I.Q, Twelfth Night, Marillion and others, there's earlier examples of groups that were already playing in a classic-period Genesis manner, a band all those above mentioned groups used as a starting point. The first Saga album back in 1978 can now be looked upon as one of the earliest starting points that had that sleeker sheen, so too Austrian band Kyrie Eleiyson and their rough-as-guts 1976 Genesis-modelled `Fountain Beyond the Sunrise', as can this Belgian band Prelude and their debut from 1979. `Voyage' mixes symphonic keyboard-heavy arrangements and harder- edged metallic guitars with both English and French semi-theatrical vocals, all presented with a lo-fi `do-it-yourself' production that makes for a humble but enticing little work.

The band's statement of intent is clear right from nine-minute opener `Mox', a grand symphonic stunner of Vincent Fis' serrated guitars that also move through regal crisp runs, Benoit Van Der Straeten's bouyant chunky bass, Leon Paulus's peppy drumming and Michel Crosset's serene wisps of keyboards constantly rising in stature. David Piron's put-on theatrical snarl doesn't really come close to matching Peter Gabriel's charisma (if anything, in its worse moments it resembles Michael Schubert of the above mentioned Kyrie Eleiyson whose impression kind of sounded like Gabriel's `special' little brother!), but the reprising group chorus sung in French is catchy and easy to enjoy, and the piece holds a superb and dignified I.Q-like instrumental stretch in the middle. `Life After the Life' opens with chugging heavy guitars over sparkling electric piano and a strident beat, with the piece contrasting energetic little bursts with more dreamy interludes and even a brief spoken word passage. Both the spacey electronics swirling all around and David's charmingly accented English vocal remind of a band like Eloy, and the cool uptempo sprint in the finale with spiralling breakneck synth soloing will instantly raise a smile! Reflective chiming guitars ring throughout ballad `When' that describes a forest setting and long-passed romantic longings, and David's wistful yet delicately melancholic vocal holds a great heart-breaking dignity.

Side two's `Voyage', mellow electric piano and sweetly murmuring bass, dreamy and optimistic - blowing winds, dreamy soothing vocals, - `Life's melody is a mystical symphony', optimistic, lovely chilled-out electric guitar solo in the finale, making the piece resemble the genuine new-age loved-up sentiment of Steve Hillage's `Palm Trees' off his `Green' album. `Jesus, Come Back!' is the repeating pleading group chorus of the spirited track of the same name, loading with plenty of acid-rock wailing as well as being book-ended with runaway `Heart of the Sunrise'-like guitar snarls and wordless Yes-aping group vocal chants. The group ask him to return "to make peace", "for liberty", "to save us", "because you're needed" and, unless it's a misheard lyric, "for drugs!" Hopefully the band meant to fight the drug battle, not coax the good Lord back with the promise of drugs! `Suicided' is then a sombre symphonic closer full of supremely tasteful soloing, a touch of Pink Floyd to the plodding steady beat, murmuring bass and some of the more fiery emotional electric guitar moments, with an unexpected up-tempo burst in the final minute to lift spirits just that little bit more.

Hardly essential but definitely interesting nonetheless, `Voyage' may not always have the most lovable of vocals, the grandest of arrangements, the cleanest production or the most memorable of material, but it's well-performed, unashamedly and proudly `proggy' at a time when there wasn't a lot of attention being given to the style anymore, and it ticks many of the boxes that more forgiving fans of the so-called `Neo' sound should resonate with. The recent Mini LP reissue on the Japanese Tachika Records label offers a much more affordable price than the rare original LP's, so if you're a prog fan that already has all the major and minor essentials and want to start exploring some worthwhile little known obscurities, `Voyage' is waiting for you.

Three and a half stars.

 Voyage by PRELUDE album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.12 | 21 ratings

Prelude Neo-Prog

Review by Thandrus

2 stars I listen to much music and not often I dislike anything strongly, for I mostly focus on positive. Positives on this album include beautiful artwork, notion of being labeled "neo-prog" before Marillion and some epic song lengths. Well, everything, except MUSIC.

Sorry, but sloppy symphonic prog doesn't equal neo-prog in my book. Not very energetic, not very versatile, melodically not very intricate. Heavily accented English vocals bring the music down too.

Thankfully, half of the songs are sung in French and there vocals fare better. Some interesting moments are scattered here and there, but they are seldom memorable. The best song would be the opener Mox. But even in its best album sounds like a third rate Ange / Mona Lisa or Eloy.

A really weak album that will get only 1,5 stars for me, so this present rating is an upgrade. For the utmost collectors only, specialising in French rarities - but I advise you not to spend too much.

Thanks to psarros for the artist addition.

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