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Neo-Prog • France

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This little-known French band from Paris was formed in 1994 by bassist S. Fred, drummer Didier Pegues and keyboardist Philippe Benabes. In September of the same year Pascal Mocaer joins on bass and Fred switches permanently on vocals and keyboards, while Eric Savarino will complete the first line-up on guitars. The following year ADN had a good live activity, performing next to Galaad, Arkham and Cafeine, while in 1996 a sixth member was added, it was female violin player Elise Bruckert. Around this time the band members were feeling mature enough to compose material for their debut album, which was delayed several times due to the numerous line-up changes. Eric Savarino left and and plenty of the guitar parts were recorded by session musicians: Benabe's cousin Patrice Aili, SENS' leader Vynce Leff and Franck Dehaut. Among these shakes the band had also to face the departure of Pascal Mocaer, who was replaced by Thierry Le Nezet, and some serious technical difficulties. Eventually the album was finished with Bruno Vercelli on guitars and saw the light independently in 1999 under the title ''Prelude'', having a sound close to compatriots SAQQARAH, CAFEINE and HALLOWEEN. Unfortunately ADN dissolved soon after the release, while Didier Pegues and Philippe Benabes moved on in a similar vein, forming Eye 2 Eye a few years later.

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3.62 | 23 ratings

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ADN Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Prelude by ADN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.62 | 23 ratings

ADN Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The art of patience is a delicacy that can only rear its presence when a certain sense of maturity prevails, which of course requires time. Which is why the two words, time and patience, are often intertwined. Being unfamiliar with ADN, I relied on our own apps79's sterling review, which whetted my appetite, at least enough to set out 'tiger hunting with an elephant gun' for this French one-shot wonder. Lo and behold, the Prelude album was no longer printed and my prog provider had sold the last copy, a situation which certainly discouraged my exaltation and put this on my 'maybe one day' list. Well, I didn't have to wait long as I was informed by my supplier that he found some copies. Greg, you rock!

French prog has an incredible preciousness, as proven by a multitude of magnificent releases since the very birth of prog, never disappearing even during the dark and somber days when all was glum in progland. ADN is an outright hidden masterpiece, a perfect gem of expressive theatrical rock of the very highest order, with three scintillating epics and a few shorter escort tunes to keep the balance and the spice always appealing. Most vocals are in French but some also are sung in English, a rather unique twist. I happen to be educated in French, so I luxuriate in the expressive depictions, wordplay and inferences that make French art, music and literature so universally lauded and applauded. France and Italy are not countries, they are theaters, which reflects strongly in their effusive styles that only serve to enrich our progressive landscape!

"Le Guide" has typical prog intro with space craft countdown and ignition, (corny but it works), quickly shooting into the dark skies with a melodic lament, the warm vocals up front and center, charmed along by an accomplice violin, slinging along the lines of classic Atoll, unleashing that 'echo in a tunnel' guitar barrage, the hushed mid-section adds that typical Gallic 'touche', swirling keyboards and solid drumming from the mighty Didier Pegues. Nothing earth shatteringly technical but simply loaded with emotion, feeling and passion. Though neo-prog, there is also strong symph and space rock tendencies with a brash bass leading the way , menacing and nasty the way a good bass should be. The sultry violin does wonders, one is reminded of Silver Lining, a stellar French one shot symphonic wonder from 2004.

Switch to English for the sweet piano-led delicacy "Dreams of a Line" (no, not a song about cocaine dependency!), which has a high-pitched wail to die for, a glance back at classic Tai Phong, another great French group. Elize Bruckert's violin waltzes once again with bravery and seduction.

"Here is my Soul" is much more hyperactive, with contrasting rhythms, stop and start calibrations and masterful vocals, once again expressed with profound theatricality. Keyboardist Philippe Benabes does wonders on a variety of organs and synths, prepping the terrain for a wicked lead guitar solo, all torture and pain. Though vaporous and impeccably romantic, this is still powerful enough to please the hard-core prog fan, as it pulses, howls and lunges with abandon.

The magnificent "Elle Tourne la Page" is a delectably romantic 14 and half minute 'chef d'oeuvre' that has all the classic prog requisites, namely bold bass accelerations, spooky keyboard colorations, raspy guitar and liquid piano , all propelled by the exquisite vocals of S. Fred. When the booming bass starts its relentless samba, the snarling Hammond kicks in like a tornado, one can only get onto one knee and accept the awe of French prog at its zenith, the breathless vocals alone are worth the price of hunting this mother down.

After such an emotional ride, the short title track is a pastoral diamond, a slithering violin leading the otherwise sunny disposition and the breezy melody, both intoxicatingly reflective. There is an overt Genesis feel mixed in with some idyllic orchestrations that may hint at Harmonium, all in all seductive and celestial.

The whopping finale "Fool or Subject" showcases brilliantly this disc, a 23 minute extravaganza that defies categorization, as it captivates right from the get-go, encapsulating all the previous stimuli and encasing it in an epic format that can only induce drool and perspiration. Another typical prog intro , a radio dial, quickly morphs into a bright Tubular Bells-like touch which then bleeds into something way darker, gothic and menacing, as if Bauhaus' Peter Murphy took over the microphone. Grand piano and baby voices (that famous combo) supply some drama and gentle hysterics, 'I swear, I swear' repeated over and over, slowly building up a frenzy, a slow cooker blending the juices, aromas and flavors with culinary artistry. Hey, if there is one absolute truism, the French really know how to cook! S. Fred grieves and growls in his lightly accented English, convincing with little doubt, then howling towards 'la lune' like some miserable madman. The screeching guitar screams its foul pain with exquisite form. There is so much going on here, never boring or pedantic, in fact it keeps expanding and searching out new directions of inspiration. It's just plain beautiful.

This incredible album does not have perfection stamped all over it, the sound can be rather thin at times, some rather obvious missteps but the playing and the melodies are simply world class jewels that beg for applause. Beautiful artwork seals the deal for me, as this has that famous 'Je ne sais quoi' that is utterly attractive. Apostolis, after the Protos now the ADN efcharisto, mikro filo mou. You gave it 3 stars and lots of love. I must give it way more and lots of amour.

4.5 Je suis Charlies

 Prelude by ADN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.62 | 23 ratings

ADN Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One-shot Paris-based French band, formed in 1994 by bassist S.Fred, drummer Didier Pegues, keyboardist Philippe Benabes, guitarist Eric Savarino, while Pascal Mocaer joined on bass a bit later to allow Fred to switch permanently on vocals and keyboards.ADN played live next to Cafeine, Arkham and Galaad and were joined in 1996 by violin player Elise Bruckert in order to develop a more symphonic style.By the time of their debut's recordings problem started to appear.Savarino leaves ADN and he is replaced by Patrice Aili and later by Sens's leader Vynce Leff.As Leff was fully commited to his group, Franck Dehaut helps the band for a short time and Bruno Vercelli was eventually the last to handle the guitars.Troubles did not stop there.By the end of the process Mocaer quits and he was replaced by Thierry Le Nezet.After so many restraints ADN's first album ''Prelude'' sees the light privately in summer 99'.

Typical example of 90's French Prog with a blink towards the 70's, ''Prelude'' is highlighted by three very long prog epics, taking up 50 minutes of music alone, surrounded by a few shorter cuts, all of them come in a Classic Neo/Symphonic Prog style akin to CAFEINE and HALLOWEEN, while MOONGARDEN, COLLAGE and SATELLITE are good reference points too.Long, elaborate tracks with orchestral keyboards, sensitive vocals and crying guitar lines, performed mostly in mid-tempo compositions full of finesse and creating a pallette of emotional colors.The violin parts do add a strong Classical flavor to the music, which is nevertheless in the more symphonic side of Neo Prog, based on stretched symphonic synthesizers and efficient thematic changes.Vocals are split in French and English, although Fred's voice is more satisfying in his native language.The music is mostly dramatic with plenty of dark-sounding segments and almost spacey, keyboard-driven instrumental preludes, while the compositions are quite tight and even feature bits of Mellotron in a pair of them.Very good electric solos in the vein of MARILLION or JADIS are also in the menu, among the highlights of the album.The 23-min. ''Fool or subject'' was the absolute bet for ADN, a very good track, where suprisingly the style of the group becomes more ethereal and positive.

ADN was not mean to live for long, as the group apparently disbanded after ''Prelude'', despite a couple of more line-up shakes.Didier Pegues and Philippe Benabes remained within the prog community, forming Eye 2 Eye a couple of years later.

Nice, well-crafted and trully obscure album, full of atmospheric textures and a couple of real goodies among the tracks.Recommended both to fans of Symphonic Rock and Neo Prog.

Thanks to psarros for the artist addition.

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