Neo-Prog • Canada

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Huis biography
Huis ("home doors" in french, and "house" in dutch) is a five member musical project from Québec officially formed by Pascal LAPIERRE (keyboards) and Michel JONCAS (bass) at the end of 2009, after an oustanding and inspiring trip in the Netherlands.

At that time, they decided to put on tape (read hard drive!) some ideas they had in mind since a long time. Over time, three other talented musicians, William REGNIER (drums), Sylvain DESCOTEAUX (vocals) and Michel ST-PERE, this last musician from the band MYSTERY (guitars) joined the band, each one bringing a special touch to Huis' sound.

The music is a well crafted progressive rock with a symphonic touch and the use of Hammond, Moog and Mellotron takes us back to the old prog rock sound of the 70's. The guitar playing of St-Pere brings a big influence of the Neo-Prog band MYSTERY and many others Neo-Prog bands that put the melody and vocals upfront with strong compositions skills. The band has released is first studio album in January 2014, " Desptie Guardian Angels".

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Buy HUIS Music

Despite Guardian AngelsDespite Guardian Angels
Unicorn Digital Inc. 2014
Audio CD$12.17
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3.89 | 74 ratings
Despite Guardian Angels

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HUIS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Despite Guardian Angels by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.89 | 74 ratings

Despite Guardian Angels
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A new prog act on the prog rock map - Huis (meaning as far as I know doors in english) from Canada and their first offering Despite guardian angels from 2014 issued at canadian label Unicorn Digita. Well, what we have here is a good towards great neo prog album with hints of symphonic prog all done in a beautiful and elegant manner. This is a young band with good potential, the head of the band bassist Michel Joncas gathered around him some talented musicians, some of them well known in prog circles like Michel St-Père the guitarist from another respected band in this field Mystery and on one piece is the ex guitarist from dutch band Knight Area - Mark Vermeule, so the line up is solid and tight aswell as the music offered. What about the music, I must confess I was really hooked from the first piece Beyond the Amstel, really impressive musicianship, subtil and elegant arrangements, lots of synthesisers what else a winner. Another forte tracks are the instrumentals Oude Kerk I & II (Oude Kerk is Amsterdam's oldest building), this is impressive, really tight musicianship, excellent ideas, every musicn involved here is sure what is doing and done very well in the end. The music overall is well crafted , with lots of keyboards and guitars aswell maybe in some parts they remind me of Mystery because of St-Pere guitar touch. Anyway strong compostions under neo/symphonic prog flavour. The art work and overall package is great to, digipak format. So, from me 4 stars, definatly one of the better albums of this year.


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 Despite Guardian Angels by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.89 | 74 ratings

Despite Guardian Angels
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Neo-prog done superbly? Yes, it does exist and there are many that illuminate the prog universe. Here is another fine example of getting the oft-formulaic style down to an art form. Quebecers Huis do a wonderful play on their craft, naming their band after the Dutch word for house as well as the old French word for door or room.. Bass maestro Michel Joncas and keyboardist Pascal Lapierre founded the group after an epiphanic trip to Holland that provided the spark to craft their own music. Bringing on gifted young drummer Will Regnier as well as the slick and accent-less vocalist Sylvain Descoteaux, the band started gelling quite nicely indeed. One more tile was missing and what a find that was! That revelation was the majestic presence of Neo super group Mystery's frontman, guitarist and leader Michel St-Pere, a sensational guitar slinger of the very finest pedigree. The end result is a magnificently arranged neo-prog masterpiece, a team effort nevertheless manned by incredibly talented individualists, who have combined their talents to make some scintillating progressive nuggets.

The set list begins with that initial Dutch visit spark, 'Beyond the Amstel', a glorified 8 minute+ mood piece which defines that rather special relationship between Canada and the Netherlands, the latter enjoying a strong historical bond of love and friendship for anything with a maple leaf on it, due to the Canadian liberation from Nazi starvation which the Dutch of all ages have never chosen to forget. Church bells, canal waters clapping against the loaded barges, forlorn piano pooling deep melancholia while St-Pere crystalline guitar fills the air with resonating sensations. Delicious temperament, strong rhythms and hefty beats all conspire to get the listener in the mood, otherworldly synth spirals clashing with the imperial axe and Sylvain's voice entering the fray. Oh yeah, the musical goods are quite impeccable! A fantastic introduction to a new prog kid on the block.

The really fascinating concept here is how there is a fine mix of instrumental fragments intermittent with lyrical pieces, giving the music a wide girth and profound sonic depth. 'Haunted Nights' recall some spooky event in visiting a ghostly mansion somewhere in the Dutch mountains (LOL), while the 2 part 11 minute mellotron-infested 'Oude Kerk I & II ' (The 800-year-old Oude Kerk is Amsterdam's oldest building and oldest parish church, founded ca. 1213) instrumentals are perhaps the most enthralling segments on this recording, bass prominently carving the arrangement, Regnier pounding like a true drum beast and St-Pere garnishing the whole with an effect-laden guitar tour de force, a perfect set-up for some glorious pieces like the stunning 'The Last Journey' , a 6 minute extravaganza of mood and sensation, fortified with a deeply emotional chorus that will adhere to your brain way after the last second has passed. Yes, this is melodic, accessible and immediately attractive neo-prog that features colossal waves of mellotron to accentuate its symphonic leanings, memorable singing and ingratiating pleasure.

'Lights & Bridges' focuses (oh, the nasty pun!) on more musical picture postcards, a sonic journey with twirling synths, bashing riffs and a hard core drum and bass onslaught. Prog- rock with a honed edge, dreamy sequences courting bruising parameters, never boring or worse, that horrible ' prog by numbers' attitude of expected formula that is simply non- existent here and as such, very similar to Mystery's catalog of bright and explosive neo-prog. What is also admirable is the willingness and the ability to stretch out the arrangements to include all kinds of fractal imagery in the textures and tones used by all members.

The nearly 10 minute long 'Little Anne' suggest the rather obvious, when one thinks of Anne in Holland , one can only be 'frank' and accept the inevitable, a shining example of the human spirit surviving the worst holocaust and living on for eternity! Typical prog in elevating some literary monument and then express it in musical form, 'the die is cast' indeed! Shadows in the darkness, light in the tunnel of forgiveness and remembrance of an evil chapter in history, sounds like proper premise to me! The Dutch were arguably the very first and have always been a tolerant, open 'minded society, a feat rather sadly unparalleled among its powerful neighbors. The tribute song has therefore more than merit, it also has a worldly appeal that should not be diminished.

'If By Morning' has an immediate attractiveness, an arch-typical neo-prog anthem that grabs one's attention from the get-go. It features a mid-section with a massive and churning organ furrow, evoking memories of the sadly departed Rick Van der Linden of Ekseption and Trace fame, as the remaining crew blast away with utter disdain for formulaic design. The beauty of the music is elegantly highlighted by a sense of natural expression that is hard to describe, restraint and eloquence ushered to the forefront with obvious passion. St-Pere lets one fly, simple and yet gorgeous.

The impressive 'Write Your Name' boom-boom tchaks nicely forward, a moody slice of cinematographic splendor, sparkling synth bells, square rhythms and Sylvain now emulating classic Fish vocal eruptions. This is probably the most classic sounding neo here, harking back at the Pendragon, Arena, Credo, Comedy of Errors, Knight Area, Leap Day and Silhouette style, we all know and some of us love.

'Salvation' has an angrier tinge, loaded with some sense of despair and founded rage, 'It's never too late to accomplish' Sylvain yelps with conviction, prepping a softer segment of intense reflection. The piano carves out a familiar refrain, sounding a bit like Roxy Music's classic 'Song for Europe', but shrouded with a whopping guitar solo that scales, screams and scratches as if the Devil was on its tail.

Finishing off this amazing debut album, we are blessed with another atmospheric piece, 'Garden of Dust', a sonic mesh of colliding tones, vivid hues and fragrant aromas that hide a rather arid story of solitude and introspection, and as such a fitting finale.

Mystery has a local little cousin that has all the ingredients to provide the prog fans more delightful sounds from that perennial hot bed of prog devotion, the province of Quebec.

4.5 Caretaker Spirits


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 Despite Guardian Angels by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.89 | 74 ratings

Despite Guardian Angels
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by miniphil2007

4 stars Huis' Despite Guardian Angels is a great debut album for the Canadian band. It features strong songs based on a mix of 70's and neo prog minding. Most of the tracks on the album are tied by a common guideline, which makes it easy to listen as a whole.

The guitar parts of Michel St-Pere are highly enjoyable. His sound and musicality is just as great as all the prog guitar legends. His solos remind of bands like Pink Floyd without being a copy of anything else. The bass riffs are solid and powerful. The vocal parts are really interesting. All the vocal harmonies are well thought and interpreted. The only vocal flaw that sometimes bothers me is the french accent which is apparent on some words during the album. I really like all the keyboard work throughout the 75 minutes of the record. The sounds are well chosen. They enhance the prog sound of the band in a really good way. Finally, but none the less, Will Regnier's drum parts are a blast !! His playing contains lots of tasty ghost notes like Gavin Harrison and Phil Collins's 70's playing. He also plays lots of powerful fills and some of them ending over the barline. The drum parts sometimes remind the square feel of Bill Bruford's drumming style.

Overall , the whole album inspires me in many ways. It's a great mix between old and new prog. It's a great album to buy! I can't wait to see and hear how good it will be live !!


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