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SHYLOCK

Symphonic Prog • France


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Shylock biography
With endless comparisons to King Crimson, Shylock remains one of the premier French symphonic bands. Other comparisons are made to Arachnoid and Pulsar. Darkness is the key here. Their influence can be felt in such bands as Xaal, Minimum Vital, Tiemko, and Änglagård.

1977's "Gialorgues" was recorded with the primary membership consisting of drummer André Fisichella, guitarist Frédéric l'Épée (who went on to play with Philharmonie), and keyboardist Didier Lustig. Bass player Serge Summa was added for the second album, 1978's "Ile di Fievres" (Fever Island).

Their outstanding moments are shown in their more lengthy compositions. However, virtuosic musicianship was never absent.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

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SHYLOCK discography


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

3.74 | 88 ratings
Gialorgues
1977
3.71 | 93 ratings
Île de fièvre [Fever Island]
1978

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

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
La somme des parties - Re-recorded Best of Shylock
2016

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

SHYLOCK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 La somme des parties - Re-recorded Best of Shylock by SHYLOCK album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
5.00 | 1 ratings

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La somme des parties - Re-recorded Best of Shylock
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by Muskrat

— First review of this album —
5 stars After a series of concerts in 2012 where the reception of the public was very warm, Shylock decided to replay and re-record their most famous pieces to make a Best Of entitled: "The Sum of Parties". We also find the initial numbering of pieces, this counting shrouded in mystery which participated in the strangeness surrounding. Shylock's music has always taken on a special dimension on stage. For this reason, most of the recording was done in a live studio. The band insisted that, while remaining faithful to the spirit of the time, this music takes advantage of technological progress made in more than thirty years. With an original introduction and the short 'chorale' in the finale, 'Le Cinqui'me' is the piece that includes the most modifications. These additions replace the repetitive sections and the weird percussion passages unfortunately abandoned. The mixing and recording are at the top, although I regret that the bass is too far behind what was done at the time, especially on the album "'le de Fi'vre". Moreover, this Best Of does not include the pieces that had the influence of "Starless & Bible Black".

Magnificent result, Shylock fans will be delighted! And those who do not know, will be able to discover this group thanks to this inescapable masterpiece.

 Île de fièvre [Fever Island] by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.71 | 93 ratings

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Île de fièvre [Fever Island]
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by Muskrat

4 stars I always regretted that Shylock preferred, in their second effort, to name the pieces rather than number them. I loved this stripping shrouded in mystery which contributed to the strangeness of their music. That said, "Île de Fièvre" is my favorite track from the band. It is a frenzied composition of incredible richness. The tempo changes are frequent, the intricacies complex and very successful. With its final repetitive sequence embellished with percussions and sound effects, "Locksetal" offers us a return to the style of the first album (a nod to King Crimson's Devil's Triangle). "Choral" is a little mellotron interlude taken from an initial material that we will never know. The rest of the tracks seem to come straight from King Crimson's "Starles & Bible Black" album! They were recorded in the same state of mind, in jam session and present experimental music tinged with jazz-rock. The reissue of Muséa (1996) includes a bonus-track: the last piece composed by the group and recorded in 1979. The music is more accessible but the sound of mediocre quality. That year, after demanding more commercial music, featuring shorter and sung titles, CBS broke the contract with the band. Indeed, if André and Serge thought that Shylock should move towards a lighter and more accessible music mixing funk and jazz-rock, Frédéric and Didier wanted as for them, to remain in a progressive and authentic lineage. Note, a reformation in 2012 (after 33 years of silence) for a concert tour and the recording of a best of in 2014.

"Île de Fièvre" is a great addition to any progressive rock collection.

 Gialorgues by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.74 | 88 ratings

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Gialorgues
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by Muskrat

5 stars Unclassifiable masterpiece !

The Nice scene at the end of the 70th produced several progressive rock groups: Step Ahead, Edhels, and Shylock, in my opinion the most interesting. The album Gialorgue was initially self-produced before being accepted by a record company a year later, which excuses the poor sound quality. For the record, the Shylock trio (keyboards, guitar / bass, drums) had gone to seek inspiration in the wild valley of Gialorgue, perched between 2000 and 3000 meters above sea level, in the Mercantour park. They composed and arranged the titles in the church of St Dalmas le Selvage, the nearest village. The front and back of the cover represent these sources of inspiration. Many have compared Shylock with King Crimson, because of the fantastic guitar playing of Frédéric L'Épée and the use of multiple bizarre percussions (tubes, bells, musical saw, seized roll, etc.) of drummer André Fisichella that make you think to James Muir. On this subject, there is one that I still have not identified! A sort of noise which resembles the clicking of a freewheel on a bicycle but which is not, since this percussion is found at a given moment, thrown to the ground like a bag. Does somebody have an idea ? Well, I still only half agree with this comparison because Shylock offers rather repetitive instrumental music with slow developments where the influence of classical music predominates. This is not the case with King Crimson, sung music, more influenced by Jazz and rock. (The closest track would be The Devil's Triangle.) Another comparison comes to mind. It has not been raised by anyone so far. These long repetitive sequences with multiple variations and a rich sound register remind me of what Mike Oldfield proposed a few years earlier. Sorry if the comparison seems incongruous to you, but I want to!

In my life as a music lover, Gialorgue has established itself over the years as an essential piece in the history of French and international prog. And the poor sound quality will not prevent me from giving it a well deserved five stars! (After all, we didn't care for the Bird & Buildings albums ...)

 Gialorgues by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.74 | 88 ratings

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Gialorgues
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The first album by Shylock is already quite distinctive but uneven similar to the second album. Especially with the bonus tracs included. Another complaint is about the not so good recording sound - some lows are missing and the sound is flat even when listening from a CD. The first. epic track is excellent, melodic while being clearly symphonic and progressive, a lot of variation, emotions and alternating between melancholy and more uplifting moments. It is possibly the most famous moment by Shylock to be only exceeded by the first track of the second album. The second track "Le Sixième" is quite experimental and fares well on its own as an intermezzo on the way to the next epic track, " Le Cinquième" has many mood shifts, also reflective moments. Very clear influence of King Crimson especially on guitar playing and mellotrons. Drumming is different and less jazzy than by Bruford. The bonus tracks are interesting to be heard but clearly non-essential and likely being ignored/skipped after multiple listenings. There are also some Genesis leanings of the keyboard player and he uses a lot of piano on the bonus part. "Prélude a l'éclipse" starts like "Firth of the fifth" but soon evolves into its own melody - melancholic and dark, the creepy synths suit it excellent. The remaining other two tracks are pleasant and short enough to be considered work in progress. Still enough to be rounded up to 4 stars, nevertheless hardly an essential piece of prog-rock.
 Île de fièvre [Fever Island] by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.71 | 93 ratings

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Île de fièvre [Fever Island]
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The second album by Shylock brings a bit more mature record but without major changes in the sound and with equal appetite to experiment. You must get this album for the sake of the first track which is a gorgeous 13-minute piece and the best work created by Shylock. So many ideas, motives, artistic quality packed, there aren't more than 30 seconds with one static motive. That is the cornerstone of the record and will let you out of breath for a couple of minutes after the finish. The keyboardist and drummer are the main entertainers here seconded by a tasty King Crimson-like guitar player. Keyboards are not the most original one but very well absorbed from King Crimson, Pulsar (mellotron) and Genesis (synths, piano). The chords are sometimes very solemn - they represent this masterpiece very well. The drummer holds very well on his own - I can't compare his manners to any other band, he is quite distinctive.

The rest of the tracks is more experimental, less fluid and arguably of a lesser quality. "Le sang des capucines" reminds of the 1973 King Crimson - the guitar is fantastic and raw. It sounds like a power trio (no keyboards). The keyboard player compensates with lush and symphonic "Choral". "Himogène" is a grooving jazz-rock number, well played but a mediocre composition. "Laocksetal" is a dynamic workout for all players, pretty dark and experimental with melody. Percussions and mellotron are as close as it get to King Crimson. The long composition is fine but stretches for a bit too long. I actually prefer the more accessible melancholic "Le dernier" with melodic guitar and electric piano although the sound quality is as if coming from a demo session. My preference may be based on the fact that similar to the first track, we can hear echoes of Genesis (75-77).

Well, the first track is a 5-star quality and the other ones alternate between 3 to 4 stars so I give it 4 stars in the end. Shylock is a unique spot among my CDs as no other band sounds this way.

 Île de fièvre [Fever Island] by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.71 | 93 ratings

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Île de fièvre [Fever Island]
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars SHYLOCK "Ile of Fèvre" is a singular disk, because it mixes the progressive symphonic with a great jazz-rock dose and some quite experimental passages. Also presents several influences of bands with musical concepts many antagonistic styles, among the ones which King Crinsom (that is represented in the guitar passages and some very characteristic rhythms) Gentle Giant (for certain passages where there is a great prominence for the percussion, the case of the track 4 "Himogene") the already mentioned Jazz Rock in the vein of Return to Forever, as in the track 6 "Laocksetal", Symphonic Prog of Emerson Lake & Palmer as in the track 1 "Ile de fièvre." Due to this there is no monotony and in certain moments it doesn't seem to be the same band in all of the strips. è without trace of doubt a disk that deserve figurest in any collection of Progressive Rock! My rate is 4 stars !!!
 Île de fièvre [Fever Island] by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.71 | 93 ratings

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Île de fièvre [Fever Island]
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars As with their first album, I like it and also as with the first album, I don't exactly know what I like about it. Maybe that's this ubiquitous feeling that surrounds Anekdoten, King Crimson and others. You know that it's something special, yet it's undefinable (like this Monolith in 2001 Space Odyssey), like somehow beyond this dimension (or you can say divine, if you believe). And as you can guess, I don't agree with Ken Levine's opinion, because not only this is one of these groups where it works (Ile de fievre starting in classical mood, then turning into symphonic solo and then both. Yes, in some way of understanding, everything here is solo, as this is one of these "more" prog bands, leaving conventional structures and patterns behind completely, in the end of the song, we can hear somewhat a climax, that results in general into fine, epic track). It is by a long way good album and shouldn't be missed, if you want to enjoy good, instrumental symphonic Prog).

4(-), little bit worse than its predecessor

 Gialorgues by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.74 | 88 ratings

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Gialorgues
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars It's 77, year of one particular important petition in our country's history and in Prog ? Well, it's quite late, so these guys should better sound to make any major impact. You know, when you're not in the beginning of making something (Rock'n'Roll, Prog, PA), at least do it (if not so originally) with an acquired skill, experience, you've gathered over the years. Polished, perfected, enhanced. The best of your genre, right ? Well, Shylock is doing it well. I personally don't see much references (hear) to King Crimson, or similar "weirder" bands, maybe on second track, but especially 1st and 3rd (the longest) are symphonic a lot, pleasing, classical like (you know the stuff).

4(+), very good.

 Île de fièvre [Fever Island] by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.71 | 93 ratings

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Île de fièvre [Fever Island]
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is SHYLOCK's second and final album. For me this is a definite upgrade over the debut, and they've added a bass player making them a four piece band. This is one of those albums that excites me just thinking about it. The drum work is incredible and the guitar is often Fripp-like and always impressive. I also like the synth and mellotron work. This is a classic.

"Ile De Fievre" is the longest track at 13 minutes and a song that many claim to be one of the best tracks ever recorded. It's that good. Light synths to open before it kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes with guitar and drums. Incredible sound ! This is contrasted for a while with the organ section that follows until 3 minutes in when the tempo picks up and drums and synths lead. It then settles with relaxed guitar after 7 minutes then kicks back in before 8 minutes with mellotron and guitar. Nice bass and drumming here too. Mini-Moog before 11 minutes as bass joins in.

"Le Sang Des Capucines" opens with sounds coming and going. No real melody until the guitar offers that around a minute in. It kicks in before 2 1/2 minutes. Love the drumming as it builds. "Choral" is a short mellotron dominated track. "Himogene" opens with a really good bass / drum display. It eventually turns funky with guitar. Great sound. "Lierre D'aujourd'hui" is dark and haunting with some incredible drumming. "Laocksetal" settles a minute in. Check out the drums and especially the guitar that follows. It kicks in after 3 1/2 minutes. Nice. Bass a minute later. It settles again this time with percussion after 6 1/2 minutes. Mellotron rolls in. Synths come in and they get noisy late. Piano, bass and drums stand out early on "Le Dernier". Guitar joins in. It settles 3 minutes in then starts to build. It settles again after 6 1/2 minutes in then builds again. Great sound.

I highly recommend this classic from France. A solid 4 stars.

 Île de fièvre [Fever Island] by SHYLOCK album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.71 | 93 ratings

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Île de fièvre [Fever Island]
Shylock Symphonic Prog

Review by Area70

4 stars If Italian progressive rock had slumped by the end of the 1970s, the French were definitely doing their part at the tail end of the decade. Shylock were similair to Italian bands in that they only left behind two albums worth of material, but they definitely did their part in saying a lot with a little.

This all-instrumental album is most likely classified as symphonic, as it carries many of the dark overtones of compatriots Arachnoid and Pulsar, but Shylock also feature a strong fusion angle, especially through the guitar.

In addition to the sharp guitar attack, another "fusiony" edge comes through in the jagged rhythms, which points in small part to Zappa early 70s work and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Another comparison would be Italy's Arti e Mestieri, although not nearly as melodic in their songwriting. The track "Himogene" also reminds me of the funkier, looser side of Goblin. The keyboards have the dark, brooding quality which fans of French prog would consider a staple. They have a rich, analog depth that sets a great stage for the rest of the band.

Thanks to Prog Lucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

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