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NEMO

Eclectic Prog • France


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Nemo picture
Nemo biography
Formed in 2000 in Le Puy-en-Velay, Haute-Loire, France

This French band was rooted in '99 when Pascal Bertrand (drums and percussion), Jean-Pierre LOUVETON (guitar and vocals) and Guillaume Fontaine (keyboards) decided to make progressive rock music. In 2000 bass player Hervé Esquis joined NEMO but he was soon replaced by Benoit Gaignon. Early 2002 the band started to perform, their first concert was attended by at about 100 spectators. In July 2002 NEMO released their first album entitled "Les Nouveax Mondes", a few months later NEMO hosted again a new bass player named JB Itier. In this line-up NEMO released their second album entitled "Présages", they promoted this CD on the Crescendo Festival in the same year, along with ANGLAGARD, CAST and FOCUS. What a thrill it must have been to watch these progrock bands!

The second album "Présages is a stunning CD, in my opinion as innovative as RUSH and their guitarists has the same varied and inventive play as Alex Lifeson! The five dynamic and alternating compostions contain lots of great breaks and many changes of rhythm and atmosphere. Most of the music is based upon an adventurous, jazzy sounding rhythm-section, a harder-edged guitar and varied keyboards. The interplay between guitar and keyboards is amazing: bombastic with howling guitar and orchestral keyboards, swinging with acoustic guitar and jazzy piano (Chick Corea meets John McLaughlin) or symphonic with heavy guitar-riffs and flashing, very spectacular synthesizer solos. The French vocals sound convincing, this man has a wide range but his role is a bit limited, many parts of this CD are instrumental with lots of biting electric guitar solos and sparkling piano play. Recommended to jazzrock oriented progrock fans!

NOTE: Not to be confused with NEMO from the 70's, another French band also listed in Eclectic Prog section.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator


See also: WiKi

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NEMO discography


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

3.70 | 91 ratings
Les nouveaux mondes
2002
3.85 | 108 ratings
Présages
2003
4.01 | 122 ratings
Prélude À La Ruine
2004
4.21 | 255 ratings
Si, Partie 1
2006
4.05 | 176 ratings
Si, Partie II - L'Homme Idéal
2007
4.10 | 301 ratings
Barbares
2009
3.87 | 329 ratings
Revolu$ion
2011
3.99 | 306 ratings
Le Ver Dans Le Fruit
2013
4.13 | 307 ratings
Coma
2015
4.06 | 28 ratings
Présages (2018)
2018
4.04 | 6 ratings
Les nouveaux mondes (2022)
2022

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

3.88 | 14 ratings
Immersion Publique - Live
2005
4.44 | 9 ratings
Si Live
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Le Ver dans le Fruit Live
2020

NEMO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.26 | 40 ratings
La Machine A Remonter Le Temps
2010

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

4.70 | 34 ratings
Si (Partie I et II)
2012

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

3.00 | 9 ratings
Eve Et Le Génie Du Mal
2004
3.50 | 4 ratings
Les Enfants Rois
2006

NEMO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Les nouveaux mondes (2022) by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.04 | 6 ratings

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Les nouveaux mondes (2022)
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A hearty thank you and a merci to Anne Claire of Bad Dog Promotions for sending me this brand-new reworking of French band Nemo's debut album, in order to apply some commentary. I latched on to this remarkable group with its "Si Partie 1" recording and have been faithfully owning all subsequent releases up to the final tour de force "Coma", which turned out to be the band swan song as far as new material and live shows are concerned. Leader Jean-Pierre Louveton marches onward with his wondrous JPL project, which keeps the Nemo style going. "Nouveaux Mondes" was recorded in 2002 with JP on guitar and vocals, Guillaume Fontaine on keyboards, Benoit Gaignon was the bassist and drummer Pascal Bertrand, who left right after this one. The 'classic' line-up featured the first two with Lionel B Guichard and Jean Baptiste Itier respectively, and this, until the end. As I have never heard the debut, there will be no comparisons offered but it did receive lofty praise upon arrival on the prog scene, as its an adaptation of the literary works of none other than the celebrated Jules Verne (Nemo?). As with most French prog, the language may be an issue for the anglophone only, perhaps also the theatrical style as 'le francais' is by its very nature a flamboyant, passionate, and often ostentatious expression of words and sounds. Just treat it as another instrument, sip on your goblet of Clos Vougeot and enjoy the ride.

The epic 10-minute "Abysses" sets the tone from the outset with crunchy riffs, clever flicks of the wrist and a driving beat. As the theme is all about the ocean's netherworld, the mood is deep and overbearing, as Louveton shows off his significant talent, a master stylist who has an immediately recognisable design, somewhat akin to Alex Lifeson in that he masters the contrasts exceptionally well, his rhythm work even flashier than his solos, which he generally keeps brief and to the point. From that opener on, the flow is well crafted between softer moments, atmospheric contrasts as well as bruising tracks, often within the same track. Nothing is ever boring or mundane, always some kind of surprise lurking around the corner. The second track, "Au Dessus des Toits" is a particularly expressive journey, with stimulating sounds, loquacious vocals, and endless pleasure. Relentless, resolute, undulating and persevering are some of the words that come to mind, as "Tempete" slams into your earphones, a savage and biting guitar directs the route, as the piano twinkles and the bass line weaves a reptilian furrow in the under growth. Gloomy power strums propels the musical submarine through the harrowing gale force winds, the thunderous swells, and the swirling seas. Up and down, we go, like a liquid roller coaster that knows no respite. Some believe the moon landing is an ongoing conspiracy, well Verne went there thanks to a huge cannon, saw the 'fromage' for himself while leaping from crater to crater and may have even planted the Tricolore on some ridge. Nemo just provides the expansive musical soundtrack for such a novel concept. His repeated guitar motif is full of romantic commotion, only to be slashed by a wicked roar that sears like a moonbeam. "Dans La Lune Encore" is pure magic.

How do you like ancient history? When Bonaparte conquered Egypt in 1798, he proclaimed to his soldiers" From the heights of the Pyramids, forty centuries look down upon us". Champollion was the first to decipher the hieroglyphs and subsequently Egyptology was brought to Europe. This dynamic track "Au Dessus des Pyramides" is the most appealing and bombastic track served up by the band, an exotic soundtrack, with a slight Middle Eastern tinge, especially in the persevering guitar leads as well as the swooping violin strings. A towering monument, among the eternal Gizeh shrines.

Ready for some extreme contrasts? Speed kills they say. "Depart-Europe" is a 'fly seat of the pants' acrobatic exercise with punishing organ work from Guillaume Fontaine, wicked drum patterns and unbridled power from the exuberant guitars. "Les Fleuves Sacrees" is the exact opposite, a Sino-Japanese cadence, delicately played as if the axe is a koto, with a marimba-like foundation undulating serenely along the rice paddies, intricately steering towards some kind of internal peace. This flows right into" Luna", where the xylophones continue their voyage, only to be taken over by an obsessive guitar foray, metronomic drums (Itier is a much-underrated stickman) and a rather brilliant moonlit jam session that is both clever and inspirational, check out the Magma-esque choir section, jaw droppingly unexpected!

The title track is a piano led etude that exudes persuasive elegance, a whistled melody amid the gentle shuffling drums, only to evolve into an electric guitar tour de force of the highest quality. Back to the serene keyboard pattern and a racing dash to the horizon, where the New World lies in waiting. Tired yet? How about a little safari? "Africa" shuttles forward with marimbas, binary tribal drum beats, all expertly interwoven, as Louveton sets up the rolling bass with some wicked guitar phrasings that are elephantine and gnarly like a baobab, while the sudden appearance of cascading mellotrons really give the arrangement a cinematographic grandeur, worthy the sub-Saharan wildlife, gently fading into the glowing sunset.

"Bataille Navale" is an original 2002 bonus live track, a whopping 11-minute midnight rambler, with Gregg Rollie-like organ, Gaignon and Bertrand at the command, while Jean-Pierre lets it rip, an extended, bluesy, technical and complex solo that is very much in the blues rock tradition, with unmatched dexterity, searing passion, and articulate determination. The middle section favours a more sedate environment, all melody and atmosphere, both vivid and expressive. JP puts his foot on the pedal once again as the players are introduced with typical Gallic flair and the guitar swells into the tornado that it most certainly is. A glimpse into the beginning of this band. Lovely 77 minutes of classic science fiction themed musical adventure, 20,000 leagues under the sea.

4.5 new worlds LA FIN

 Présages (2018) by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.06 | 28 ratings

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Présages (2018)
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by DangHeck

4 stars Given the notable buzz and acclaim herein (and I would presume elsewhere) for Nemo's 2006 studio album Si, Partie 1, I had begun there not too long ago. Then, given it's me we're talking about, I wanted to go chronologically. Glad I figured the releases out before reviewing the likely "incorrect" version of this, their second album. This is the 2018 re-recorded version of their 2003 sophomore album. "Présages" is French for "Omens". And with that... I'm ready! [Been far too long since I've given myself enough time or felt myself readied enough to even review an album. My Queue, as I call it, is far too long. Pray for me haha. Please.]

Our album begins with the open, if not lightly symphonic "La derniere vague". Definitely plenty to hear in this, from Neo-Proggy synth-padding to the very modern rolling bass. The guitar is in stark contrast to the light string pads underneath (at times, it's even a tad muddy, unfortunately). Some very cool rhythmic tension happens as the general intensity increases here. Feels like music from Sonic The Hedgehog or something (that bright neo-classical thing?). Ah yes... The French! haha. Something sort of Post-Progressive here, too, as it were. To be honest, sort of on that note, the verses are a tad wanting. Nice synth solo. Really good things here, but I'll wait... I was going to say it for the opener, but there's elements that remind me of Muse(?) with "Generateur" (that heavy guitar and the super slinky bass in the context of a Post-Prog world). It sort of reminds me, too, in tone, of Italian Prog. I'm conflicted haha. The music has really shown its age thus far.

Really beautifully juxtaposed is the soft intro of "Sur la tombe du phenix". [In all seriousness here] Light, Runescape-ready "mallet percussion" (keys, apparently) is met with strong cello(?) strikes. Nice, natural build here. And a very cool main riff! Somewhat metallic, but perfectly, harmonically ominous. Also, sort of how I view Porcupine Tree, Nemo is clearly a band that is utterly aware of many different popular musical idioms and ready to (in the most positive form of the word) exploit them. They mix the aforementioned Post-Prog of Muse and Neo-Prog of bands like Landmarq and Pallas with Alt-Metal affectations, and then here there are apparent Country influences? Is anyone tracking with me?... Regardless, very cool. Very successful fusions of all these things on "Sur...".

Then we're onto our three-parter, "La mort du scorpion", beginning with the light, introductory "Soleil". What it introduces is the bright, classic-sounding "L'oeil du cyclope". There's little guitar and piano trills that weirdly reminded me of GG, but these were quick, fleeting moments, not representative of the whole. [There goes that guy who walks into downtown past my house every day, chewing his cud as he does... Whatever it is that he's chewing, he's always chewing it haha.] Beautiful stuff, especially as it dies down to a droning, bucolic scene with a pedaled piano, its melody matched with the sheen of acoustic guitar. This reminds me greatly of the wondrous Styx track "Sing for the Day"! Interesting! And love it! Best thus far. Our third and final part to the mini-epic is "La mort du scorpion", I guess the title-sub-track of the track haha? Crazy difference in tone from the last, as the theme of death would rightly imply. Those wonderful "mallets" return and the guitar sings a sorrowful tune. Pretty fantastic, even in its quietness, really. Dramatic swells as it crescendos to the end.

Entering the original finale to the album, we have the nearly-18-minute epic "Les nouvelles croisades". This intro is literally... "YYZ" by Rush, yeah? I was a little unsure about the guitar-work on this album at the start, but like a few other tracks before this'n, the riffs are just awesome! Oooooh and the bridge section after minute 11! Very cool. A little jazzy? Anyways, epic indeed. Finally finally, we have the bonus track closer "Le pire est avenir". Very upbeat number, but still with that slight tension and ominous feeling. Oh, yeah, they're French; I forgot /s. Pretty cool track. Their vocals are pretty much definitely my least favorite element (throughout). Maybe it would mean something else, something more, to me if I knew French (or if it were in English haha)... I'm skeptical. I'm a man of melody and intrigue. What can you do? haha. The music generally does save this one for the "Good" category, though. One of the saving graces is the groovy, heavy bridge here starting around the 7-minute mark.

And that's it! Rough start, in my opinion, but a more-than-solid release overall!

True Rate: 3.75/5.00

 Présages (2018) by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.06 | 28 ratings

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Présages (2018)
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars NEMO is a group formed in the early 2000s, dissolved in 2015, leaving his songwriter JPL recognition or hope for a better readability. This is her second baby (2003) emerges in 2018, remixed, re-refined and with an original of more than 13 minutes. The atmosphere of the album is still in its pre-disaster texts, harbinger of a world that is inevitably harmful, tracing these setbacks and featuring different adventures. At orchestration, sound longer dusted by putting different musical breaks much better value. In voice level, JPL made an effort, perhaps the age? But his voice ... which matured on some tracks still is the weak point of the album and takes some of the aura given off by the CD.

"The last wave" of piano school to start this piece with this symphony still mixing, acoustic, choirs, and neo metal explosion with beautiful solos, an angry guitar, hypnotic atmospheres with convoluted drawer looking dreamy emotions a life-size fresco, one must 15 years later. "Generator" grooviest (more energetic and nervous), more hard with a basic riff and effective, however with more vintage organ and guitar that spurt. "On the grave of the Phoenix" with its bells input xylophone, a fat riff that recalls that JPL has concocted a parallel group in his time with WOLFSPRING, title drawer with slow prog climb, then solo ZZ TOP and escape with purely enjoyable synth and complex drawer climates. 3 follows chained songs reworked into a single title "death scorpion" for an acoustic tour with clear intro causing a swirling after almost folk, acoustic guitar break may recall that of PAYSSAN brothers MINIMUM VITAL is downright always so beautiful especially as I had listened there less than a year without knowing that I was going to chronicle; 3rd party more instrumental, symphonic, jazz-prog with drift, SF with its sound effects, as nervous afterwards and that is worth seeing for its complexity. An approach to new heavy, hard, scabby, passing well to finish this triptych! "New Crusades" 5-part epic offers a room where you can get lost so many moods change with the minutes; Attention, guitar solos, synth will succeed, or mate during the 18 '; it is on the edge of jazz. As for "the worst is future" prog technique, nervous, more nervous yet it offers room also varied with a rhythmic and instrumental agree more spaces; only downside, too predictable texts (texts also beautiful!) that break a little the musical atmosphere.

Varied progressive rock, this is what always NEMO, stamped French group with different layers of instruments, showing there's talent too little known composer of this unparalleled. The duration of around 77 minutes, the compounds provide an overview of what can be done in the rock with a song verse-chorus and developments, drawers, convolutions of sometimes acoustic parts, sometimes hard, sometimes symphonic with breaks various to create separate universes. So for prog fans the French, do not hesitate and engulf you, immerse squarely in the world of NEMO.

 Présages (2018) by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.06 | 28 ratings

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Présages (2018)
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Since Nemo burst onto the French progressive rock scene with their second album, 'Présages' in 2003, they have made a name for themselves as being one of the most dynamic and important bands around. However, their 2015 album 'Coma' was the last one, and the band went on hiatus. Guitarist and singer Jean Pierre Louveton kept working and releasing some great albums, but no-one was sure if the band would ever return. The band came back together to perform a one-off gig in Madrid, and at some point, the conversation turned to the fact that 2018 was the fifteenth anniversary of their breakthrough album. How could they best celebrate that? Somehow the decision was made to completely re-record the album with fifteen years of added experience and make it available with an additional song and a sixteen-page booklet. Guillaume Fontaine (keyboards, vocals) and Jean Baptiste Itier (drums) played on the original alongside JPL, and they were all joined by new bassist Lionel B. Guichard.

For some strange reason I didn't come across Nemo until their fourth album, so actually don't have the original to which to compare this, so have to treat it as a totally new piece of work. But given it was recorded in 2018, isn't a "simple remaster", then this is probably the best way to do it anyway. JPL and Guillaume were founder members of the band back in 1999, and although they haven't been playing a great deal together recently, behind them there are the many hours of shared time in rehearsal spaces, concert platforms and studios, and it shows. The ideas bounce off each other, with a piano and acoustic guitar sometimes being even more dynamic and powerful than rock guitar, and there is plenty of that as well. Lionel has slotted right in and has a wonderful warm sound from his bass, which may not have the punch of some but contains a depth and sustain which fits in perfectly with the often-staccato approach of Jean Baptiste.

They bring in classical moments (I love the marimba on the third part of "La Mort Du Scorpion"), jazz, progressive rock and very hard rock guitar, bringing them all together seamlessly. This album may be 15 years old, but with the re-recording it is fresh, vibrant and essential. Let's just hope the band decide to record another new album, as music and performances such as this deserve to be heard.

 Les nouveaux mondes by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.70 | 91 ratings

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Les nouveaux mondes
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars "Finding NEMO" may be many's favorite animated film about a cute little clownfish in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia but not so easy when looking for a particular band with this rather common moniker. For example there was a Belgian band named NEMO, an Italian one, one from the UK, two from the US, one from Finland and two bands from France that are both classified as electric progressive rock. Hard to find in a search indeed but this NEMO is the second one from France and the one that has emerged in the 21st century with a strong modern take on progressive rock with a stream of innovative albums. This NEMO emerged from the Auvergne region of France in Ceyssac.

This NEMO which seems to have outlasted all the others is the one that has attempted to ride the perpetual waves of the very Captain NEMO of the 19th century novels "Twenty Thousand Legions Under The Sea" and "Mysterious Island." The band was formed in 1999 by Pascal Bertrand (drums and percussion), Jean-Pierre Louveton (guitar and vocals) and Guillaume Fontaine (keyboards), the latter of the two having remained the only members to be involved with every album up to the present. The original lineup on this debut album LES NOUVEUX MONDES (The New Worlds) also included bassist Benoît Gaignon who replaced the original bassist Hervé Esquis.

Right from the start NEMO created a lush and dense tapestry of progressive rock styles and melded them into a rich and complex mishmash of elements that would take heavily fortified compositions and infuse them with a ceaseless parade of dynamics, tempo changes, mood enhancing atmospheres and time signatures run amok. Eschewing the policy of English only as was the norm of classic prog (save the Italian scene), NEMO, while primarily focusing on lengthy instrumental runs also includes lyrics delivered in their native French. The main focus of the instrumentation revolves around the strong and creative guitar chops of Louveton in conjunct with the deliberate and fanciful keyboard antics of Fontaine.

The music is extraordinarily dense and characterized by a plethora of melodic developments that meander and morph unexpectedly as time signatures punctate the flow, tempos gestate from calm bucolic verses to more aggressive rock. The tracks are lengthy with the four part suite "Philéas" ending the album with a 20 minute epic prog journey. The band takes influences from all across the prog spectrum with Genesis-like symphonic prog, heavy prog influences from The Mars Volta and Dream Theater, modern symphonic leanings from Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings as well as the virtuosic grace of bands like Anglagard and atmospheric sophistication in the vein of Porcupine Tree. NEMO nailed this eclectic mix from the getgo and although they have produced better albums than LES NOUVEUX MONDES, this debut is nothing less than an excellent slice of sophisticated prog yumminess.

In many ways, NEMO was even more diverse on this debut than on the later albums. While some may claim this to be unfocused, others like myself deem it as exciting. While i have nothing against more focused albums that aren't as scattered, i find all the elements on board here that defy predictability to be quite refreshing and stimulating even. For my money i actually prefer albums that have all the proper prog boxes checked and then add layers of mysterious deviations and LES NOUVEAUX MONDES delivers the best aspects of both the predictable as well as that which is not. For my money, this debut is as good as any of the albums that follow and not one to be missed by any NEMO aficionado who has come to this band late in their game.

 Barbares by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 301 ratings

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Barbares
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars My first musical experience with Nemo was a few months after the release of their second album entitled Presages (2003), I was blown away by their dynamic and varied blend of several styles, topped with the slightly theatrical French vocals. Meanwhile I have become a huge fan (apart from Si Partie I, a bit too experimental and fragmentic in my opinion), on every album you can notice progression, new ideas and more and more an own, very unique progrock sound. Their latest album is Coma from 2015, this review is about their sixth CD entitled Barbares, the Limited Edition Digipack 2-CD version (including 71 minutes live disc).

My main conclusion is that on this album Nemo sounds very well balanced, there is a great 'flow' in the compositions and the band even sound pretty accessible for 'Nemo standards', despite the frequent shiftings moods, many breaks and huge variety

First the interplay between the guitar and keyboards, both musicians are founding members, have played together for many years and on Barbares their musical understanding is mighty close to identical twins: amazing how they follow, challenge and stimulate each other, this gives a captivating and often exciting extra dimension to the music.

Second the way JPL uses the vocals, it has become an instrument in the sound of Nemo and colours the music with a very special flavor, slightly theatrical and often with strong expressive undertones.

An third 'captain' JPL his abilities to drive the music with his powerful and varied guitarwork, from biting wah-wah drenched runs or fat guitar riffs to funky rhythm-guitar and sensitive solos (fueled by an outstanding, very flowing and adventurous rhythm-section).

My highlights.

The early Eighies Rush inspired Ldi: awesome interplay, exciting guitarwork, great dynamics and a very surprising break.

Great tension between the powerful drums/prog metal riffs and acoustic rhythm-guitar/piano, embellished with passionate vocals in 19.59.

A swinging rhythm with bombastic organ and wah-wah guitar in Faux Semolanc.

And the magnum opus Barbares (25 minutes) that presents Nemo at their best featuring spectacular synthesizer flights, exciting interplay between guitar and keyboards, lots of great changing climates and some strong musical ideas like the blend of an acoustic guitar solo, tin-whistle and sparkling piano into the music, culminating in a compelling grand finale, what a band!

The bonus disc (500 copies limited edition) is a live registration from 2007, you can enjoy their great power and dynamics with lots of awesome solo work on guitar and keyboards, strong interplay and a captivating live atmosphere, this is a perfect way to experience Nemo on stage, unfortunately I miss the song Une Question De Temps, one of the highlights of their Progfarm 2008 Festival gig I witnessed 10 years ago.

Despite the language gap, during the years Nemo has made more and more friends, they fully deserve wider attention.

 Coma by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.13 | 307 ratings

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Coma
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Coma is the sound of Nemo playing itself to sleep as the band go on a self-imposed hiatus. Whether we will hear anything more from this theatrical French prog collective or not is an open question, but if we don't this is a rather fine note to end on. A wide range of progressive influences can be detected, with Le Coma des Mortels reminding me in its darker moments of something which Discipline might perpetrate whilst, right at the other end of the timeline of progressive rock, some of the organ playing from Guillaume Fontaine has an outright Deep Purple quality to it - perhaps thanks to the band warming up with some Deep Purple covers in the studio (offered as bonus tracks on some editions).

It's a truly grand proposition in all, and finds the band going out on a high; say what you like about their hiatus, at least they didn't leave us with a bad memory before they went.

 Coma by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.13 | 307 ratings

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Coma
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I have found that when listening to prog albums, there are many times when I recognize that great music is there but it doesn't grab me right away. Many albums are "growers" as reviewers like to say. I have become acclimatized to listening like this. So when I put in CD by a band I've barely heard and don't know what to expect, it comes as a very pleasant surprise to hear something that totally hooks me and holds my interest.

Nemo's "Coma" (their 9th studio album!) is among the PA Top 10 of 2015 and I only managed to snag it recently. Earlier in the year it was a little too pricey for me. But recently I heard that Nemo guitarist and vocalist Jean Pierre Louveton was a guest on Grandval's "A ciel ouvert", playing lead guitar on two tracks, and I took interest once again. Thankfully the price of the CD had come down!

The album begins with a dark synthesizer key and then erupts into an awesome metal guitar riff. The song turns prog metal for a while pulling off yet another great riff before settling down to some lighter music with piano and clean guitar. "Le Coma des Mortels" is 11:55 of changing moods and weights, shifting between light and heavy, slow and fast, and features some wonderful eighties metal guitar played to a modern prog style.

"Train Fantome" emerges so smoothly out of the conclusion to "Le Coma" that you might not notice the track change. This track includes some Iron Maiden-ish riffing and later something like Steve Morse-era Deep Purple with a Hammond organ solo that channels John Lord. There's also a part that breaks out some Steve Vai-era Whitesnake but soon switches once again to slower, delicate piano and clean guitar. Mention must go to Jean Pierre's vocals which are very good and suitable for the frequently changing music. He sings cleanly and with emotion.

After the first two tracks it's tempting to peg these guys as a prog metal band with frequent detours into piano country; however "Comaine" begins with an eastern acoustic sound and adds some woodwind which is later accompanied by the heavier rock guitar. "St. Guy" is an instrumental that delivers more of the band's versatility, shifting between gentle music and overtly challenging rhythms and riffs. Meanwhile, "Tu n'es pas seul" shows off Nemo's lighter side with some nice harmony vocals placed against an almost jazz-influenced musical background.

The album wraps up with another longer piece, "Coma", that simply continues the masterful music of the album.

Nemo are listed here as eclectic prog yet this album seems to balance heavy prog, prog metal, and even neo-prog in a very succinct but wonderfully prepared arrangement. It's very easy to hear and understand how this album placed so highly on the Top 100 of 2015.

 Coma by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.13 | 307 ratings

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Coma
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Le chant du Cygne? (Swansong)

Nemo is allegedly done after this final chapter in their discography, putting an end to one of the finest French prog bands in recent memory. All of their albums have been well-received, praised and appreciated by the progressive community. 'Coma' is a sterling monument to their craft, perhaps even their finest moment yet on record. With a drop-dead beautiful cover and artwork, the seductive package also has a 2 CD option that includes some cover songs, which may be of great interest to fans as well as the uninitiated. Nemo was the purveyor of a distinctive prog style that was unashamed to elevate French language vocals to their rightful place, propelled by the expressive guitar acrobatics of Jean-Pierre Louveton, the innovative keyboard colorations of Guillaume Fontaine and a bass/drum rhythm section that clearly understood the message and laid a thrilling foundation. Olivier Long has replaced long time bassist Lionel B. Guichard but Jean-Baptiste Itier is still the beastly percussion man he has always been. Some have likened their style to such legendary icons as Rush and Dream Theater, I truly fail to fall victim to such easy categorization. Truth be said, they have a Nemo sound that enjoys contrasts, hues, shadows and tones as well as a propensity to display some wizard-like chops in the process. This duality explains why their albums are all highly rated with nary a trace of any dud.

Play on words 'Le Coma des Mortels' (a pun on 'le Commun des Mortels') sets the pace and rage from the first seconds on, with J-P Louveton's staggering axe grind challenging the synths and the ornate piano, showing who is boss and burrowing headfirst forward. This is a circa 12 minute wallop that captures those attributes mentioned earlier, adding attractive melodies, scintillating technique and a complete sense of musical adventure, all intended to snare the unsuspecting listener and dominate their senses into submission. Louveton is a shrewd guitarist, able to dispense brash riffs with uncompromising ardor, as well as caressing his instrument with suave romanticism when needed, coercing the sensorial ooze from his muse. Newcomer Long grumbles with the finest, underpinning the bridge between rhythm and melody with a sizzling display of low end genius. Drummer Itier bashes, slashes and thunders with seasoned skill, driving all this Gallic passion with effortless zeal.

Guillaume Fontaine is a dynamic piano player, a judicious talent that is perhaps more prevalent here than in the past. He maintains that ivory touch on the next piece, the slick 'Train Fantome', a heavy, chugging guitar and synth epic locomotive propelled by the bass and drum combo. The volume pedal infused guitar licks the lower bass rumble as the ubiquitous voice of Louveton adds some classic theatrical that is the hallmark of French symphonic prog, a la Ange, Atoll, Mona Lisa and co' Bravo! The sudden apparition of electric piano caught my attention and I could not help salivating, Bravo encore!

A sitar-like sound introduces 'Comaine', another wordplay on that devilish white powder that ravages the sinuses, the brain and the soul, adding unaccredited flute (did Fontaine do that on a synthesizer?), while the thrashing guitar ravages inhumanly forward, sweeping ahead, unchallenged. A burping bass guides the barking dogs, the caravans that pass in the night and the rising bright sun. JP lops off a few dangling solos, both intense and cataclysmic. Breathtaking material and playing.

Definitely a highlight track, 'St-Guy' refers to the French word for a specific disease and not a dance move called 'La Danse de St-Guy', better translated in English as St-Vitus dance (aka Sydenham's chorea or chorea minor is a disorder characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements primarily affecting the face, hands and feet). This is the ideal platform for Olivier Long to indulge in a spectacular bass solo that hops, jerks and collapses with imminent grace. The following wah-wah drenched guitar solo is a celestial display of talent and an all-around bold and magnificent testimony to Nemo's talent.

'Tu n'es Pas Seul' translates as 'you are not alone' and showcases a jazzier and more experimental side, led by some echoed-keyboards, droning e-piano, tick-tock beat and JP's suavely murmuring voice which here reminds one of the mercurial Ange maestro Christian Decamps. Off the charts and hypnotic, the pleasure is divine, an oblique ballad that has all kinds of aromas and flavors, juxtaposing a melancholy feeling with a hint of 'chanson francaise', as Long again penetrates his big bad bass deep into the fleshy, feminine core. Clanging, chiming and then suddenly tortured like some rejected lover longing to rejoin the bliss, Louveton exults and orgasms, fast and furious on his fret board. Fantastic experience.

The title track takes a dozen plus minutes to enjoy but within seconds the colossal mood is set, the mellotron kettle blazing, the ornate piano fire burning and the rough guitar boiling, quickly offering room to a nearly medieval expanse, then the arrival of a military beat and a missile-like lead, more rhythmic shuffling and a true sense of overload and confusion. Tres bien, so let's do it again or as they say in French 'encore, cheri!' The main guitar riff is a classic Martin Barre blast, lower register but powerful, slashing drums and impassioned vocalizations that are further sweetened by slick synth bending. Thick, juicy, insane, audacious and deranged, all the symptoms of a comatose musical mind. Mellotron choir, twinkling piano and sheer unadulterated bombast finish off this masterpiece.

The 2 CD set has two interesting covers from Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin as well as a 'La Divine Comedie' a trio of pieces from previously recorded yet unreleased material. Nemo will remain a monument to modern French prog and we can only hope that this is just a rest period and the crew will be back.

5 blackouts

 Coma by NEMO album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.13 | 307 ratings

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Coma
Nemo Eclectic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars 2015 brings the ninth and very possibly final album `Coma' from eclectic French prog group Nemo. Back at the start of the year, the band announced they were taking an indefinite hiatus, citing a mix of the difficulties of working in the current music climate, exhaustion and simply the need for a break. However, were it to be the end of the road for the group, they were still determined to release a fitting final album, and fans of the group should find `Coma' a more than satisfying finale. Not as dense or overlong as many of their previous works, the six pieces that make up the 56 minute album are frequently more instantly approachable than on many of their other albums, but there's still plenty of Nemo's signature mix of heavy guitars, delicate piano and Jean-Pierre Louveton's darkly crooning vocals.

Opener `Le Coma des Mortels' bursts with blasts of ragged guitars and dirty Black Sabbath-like riffing without ever becoming heavy metal, breaking away in the middle for a deeply personal and soulful wounded vocal from Jean-Pierre above sparkling piano, warm acoustic guitar and gorgeous murmuring bass. Epic electric guitar and keyboard duelling opens `Train Fant'me' , gives way to slinking bass and a thoughtful melodic tune before muscular riffs batter gutsy Hammond organ blaring. Despite heavier bursts, the shorter `Coma'ne' has several folky themes with a sweeter vocal, and it makes a nice break from the longer brooding moments of the disc.

Seventies David Gilmour-style bluesy wailing, sprinklings of nimble-fingered jazzy electric piano, hard driving drumming and relentless bass powers through the infectious `St Guy', one of the best instrumental tracks to appear on a progressive album in 2015. The sad beauty of `Tu n'es Pas Seul' holds a carefully pleading and insistent chorus, with reflective chiming guitars and fluid bass all building in urgency with restraint. The twelve minute album closer title track `Coma' hits with epic power, built around lengthy instrumental builds of everything from thrashing metallic riffing runs, jazzy interludes, blitzkrieg keyboards and a soaring vocal. The piece is melancholic but not without hope, and frequently lifts to become victorious and life-affirming. If this is to turn out to be Nemo's final track, then the band went out on the perfect curtain call.

It may not be quite as aggressive or involved as some parts of their previous albums, and there are just little traces of a band starting to coast a little with a subtle melancholic weariness in a few spots, but this really holds everything fans of the group would want to hear. The harmonies and melodies are more instantly obvious here, and the album is perhaps even a little more accessible than previous works that would actually make it ideal for newcomers to the group, despite the fact that they'll likely only have a back catalogue to explore if they are impressed with by what they find here. But if this is the end of the road for Nemo, the band can be exceptionally proud of a consistently strong run of albums over their career that have held up well to constant repeated listens, a true achievement. `Coma' not only proves that the band was a winner right until the end, but they just might have delivered the best album of their career, and possibly even one of the best progressive rock releases of 2015.

Four and a half stars - Don't go, Nemo!

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

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