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PENTACLE

Symphonic Prog • France


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Pentacle biography
PENTACLE

Another one off band, Pentacle was formed in 1971 in Belfort, France. Their one album "La Clef des Songes" was released in 1975, and was produced by Ange's Christian Decamps. The lineup consisted of Claude Mentrier on keyboards, Michael Roy on Drums, Richard Tribier on bass and acoustic guitar, and Gerald Reuz on guitars and lead vocals.

The music is described as elegant, avoiding the bombast of some of their contemporaries. There is also a spacey component. That does not necessarily mean completely soft.

The vocals are emotional, and there are bits of guitar lashing. Passages evoke early King Crimson, and Moody Blues. There are the trademark symphonic tempo shifts, but complexity is not a hallmark.

The album was re-released by Musea, and includes three live bonus tracks.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

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La cléf des songesLa cléf des songes
Musea 2010
Audio CD$21.99
$94.24 (used)
Under the Black CrossUnder the Black Cross
IBEX MOON RECORDS 2007
Audio CD$11.00
$1.00 (used)
The Fifth MoonThe Fifth Moon
EP
Displeased
Audio CD$19.99
$21.99 (used)
Fifth Moon Beyond & BackFifth Moon Beyond & Back
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$29.99
La Clé Des Songes (Japanese Papersleeve)La Clé Des Songes (Japanese Papersleeve)
Belle Antique
Audio CD$56.24
Trana MoodsTrana Moods
CreateSpace 2008
Audio CD$11.99
Under the Black Cross by Pentacle [Music CD]Under the Black Cross by Pentacle [Music CD]
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PENTACLE shows & tickets


  • Pentacle + Outrage + Heretic + more at Little Devil, Tilburg on 28 Feb 2015

PENTACLE discography


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4.08 | 83 ratings
La Clef Des Songes
1975

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PENTACLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Like many one-album wonders from the seventies' progressive rock scene, the music of French symphonic prog act Pentacle didn't receive very much recognition until fairly recently. A CD reissue from Musea Records and a legion of prog fans expressing their love for the album through internet forums have all helped Pentacle finally get some of the attention they deserve, but their sole effort La Clef Des Songes still remains pretty obscure over 35 years since its release. A real shame, as I consider this one of the best French albums released during the golden age of symphonic prog. As history would prove, this rather short album would end up being the only work ever created by Pentacle, but at least the band has left us with a half hour of splendid music. La Clef Des Songes is a forgotten gem that deserves to be heard by every progressive rock fan.

La Clef Des Songes opens up on a high note with its powerful and downright haunting title track, and the rest of this 34 minute album is every bit as good. "L'âme Du Guerrier" is another highlight, with its chilling builds and excellent synthesizer melodies drawing me in from the very beginning, and the epic "Le Raconteur" is a perfect way to close the album. Pentacle definitely took the saying 'quality over quantity' to heart, as all six tracks on La Clef Des Songes are superb - it's a real shame that the band didn't go on to release more albums in the coming years. If this debut is indicative of anything at all, these guys would've had a very bright future ahead of them.

La Clef Des Songes was originally released in 1975, and in many ways the album sounds like it couldn't have been from any other time period. The heavy use of synthesizers makes it feel different than many early seventies' symphonic prog albums, but the rather raw production and very progressive compositions means that it doesn't sound like a typical late seventies' album either - in many ways, Pentacle's pastoral and spacey approach to symphonic prog sounds like a combination of Genesis, Premiata Forneria Marconi, and Pink Floyd with a heavier dependence on lead synthesizer tones than any of the aforementioned acts. The keyboard palette is also made up of plenty of organs and mellotrons, but it's really the chilling synthesizer that sets Pentacle apart from many other progressive rock acts from the mid-seventies'. The band's unique arrangements make this a pretty original album in many regards; it doesn't sound specifically like any single other band, but instead like a mix of the very best sounds that progressive rock has to offer.

Although La Clef Des Songes was only Pentacle's debut effort, this is a mature and all-around exceptional album that should be heard by every symphonic progressive rock fan. In spite of its rather obscure status, this is one of the most essential French prog albums from the 1970's, and deserves to be regarded as such - this can only be described as a beautiful, haunting, and compelling journey.

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by Life Line Project

5 stars They don't have a five star guitarist, they don't have a five star drummer, they don't have a five star bass player, nor is their keyboard player among the world's top virtuosos, but all the same the French band PENTACLE have succeeded in producing a five star album. All on "La Clef De Songes" is pointed at making beautiful symphonic rock. Their unselfish way of only serving the band's need to create beautiful music has been the true key to reach a five star album.

The music is never pushed forward, the arrangements are well taken care of. Every song, no matter if it's short or long, is supplied with the necessary guitar and keyboard solos, to emphasize the lyrics' needs.

Right away title song "La Clef Des Songes" has a beautiful and well executed Moog solo, while the following solo, played on a Gibson SG fits in with the song perfectly. The song starts with a majestic symphonic rock theme by the complete band, soon joined by the excellent vocals by Gerard Ruez.

Contrary to most French bands from this period who all have very theatrical vocals, the vocals in the songs of Pentacle are more restrained and have a more dreamy and poetical character. The lyrics are all well written and fit to the music perfectly. It's hard to believe that this album was produced by Ange front man Christian Decamps, hysterical and theatrical singer par excellence. "Les Pauvres" is the shortest, but it's also one of the most poetic and beautiful songs.

Again in a song like "L'âme Du Guerrier" the interplay between synthesizers and guitars is well chosen. Despite its compactness (the song is only a bit longer than six minutes) the song contains many beautiful themes. The added acoustic guitar parts contribute to the subtlety of the song, which is well supported by the drums and bass.

Highlight on the album is undoubtedly the over ten minutes lasting "The Raconteur", another very melodic song full of warm harmonies. There is a huge number of beautiful themes, full of tempo and character changes, to be enjoyed between the several vocal segments. The song ends with beautiful solos on the Gibson SG of Ruez, alternated by the subtle and very melodious Moog parts supplied by Claude Menetrier. This chain of solos is ended by a beautiful acoustic guitar solo in a fade out, putting a worthy conclusion to a very beautiful album.

The early seventies showed an outburst of creativity in the French progressive music scene with bands like Ange, Mona Lisa, Atoll & Metabolisme and Pentacle have added their bit with their alas only album.

"La Clef Des Songes" is a must for everyone who likes French symphonic rock from the seventies and I think it's one of the best albums in the genre. It's obvious that I can honour this album only with five stars !

Erik de Beer

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Pentacle: La Clef Des Songes [1975]

Rating: 7/10

La Clef Des Songes was the sole album from French symphonic progressive-rock band Pentacle. This was one of the first discoveries I made during my initial journeys through the obscure realms of ProgArchives. I remember this as one of the first albums that expanded my perception of the progressive-music world beyond my Yes, ELP, and Dream Theater horizons. This is an odd album to hold such a position, considering how obscure it is. Regardless, I have been familiar with this little-known release ever since I was a rookie prog-fan. I'm glad that I stumbled upon Pentacle those few years ago, because this solitary album is a real gem. Pentacle explore the lighter and more folk-oriented side of symphonic-prog, with melodic guitar and ethereal synths being the primary instruments here. The guitar work ranges from light acoustic strumming to Gilmour-esque melodic wailing; both styles sound fantastic. The keyboard playing is centered on superb Moog tones. Unlike other folky symph-prog bands (such as Harmonium), Pentacle's music is somber and melancholic. All of these factors combine to create an excellent piece of symphonic grandeur.

The title track opens the album with an epic synth motif that slowly builds along with the understated vocals. "Naufrage" is a dark piece with excellent guitar work that manages to be both melodic and dissonant at the same time. The abrupt ending adds to the unsettling atmosphere. "L'ame Du Guerrier" features some righteous Moog drones that work perfectly within the context of the groovy middle section. The guitar work also shines here. "Les Pauvres" is a completely acoustic folk piece that fails to fully keep my attention. "Complot" is the album's brightest highlight. The synths are in prime form, but the unforgettable guitar solo is the greatest thing about this track. The 10-minute "Le Raconteur" is a grand closer. The synths are monstrous as usual, and the guitar work is top-shelf as well. The flamenco guitar conclusion ends the album on a fabulous note.

La Clef Des Songes is yet another gem from the treasure trove of obscure 70s prog. Each of these six tracks features a well-developed melodic framework and spectacular (yet subtle) musicianship. Although a few of the tracks are slightly lackluster, the excellence of the better moments evens things out. I wish that the synth presence was more cemented; even though there is some fantastic Moog work here, I often feel like the instrumentation is a bit too restrained. This is not an album without its fair share of flaws, but it is still an immensely enjoyable listen that showcases many of the things I like most about progressive music. La Clef Des Songes is not a masterpiece, but any fan of light symphonic music should find a lot to appreciate here. The melancholic atmosphere is strangely haunting.

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Driven by the excellent Gilmour-like guitar skills of Gerald Reuz, Pentacle's sole album is an intriguing product of the French prog scene which manages to attain an intriguing balance between indulging in symphonic prog complexity and maintaining sufficient accessibility to give the music broad appeal. It's precisely this sort of balancing act which five to six years later would give rise to the neo-prog scene, and there are points where the music does drift into territory reminiscent of early recordings by Twelfth Night and The Lens (the band who, in case you don't know, eventually evolved into IQ). That isn't to say this is a full-on neo album, but it is a fascinating reminder that even before the punk wave hit there were still plenty of bands producing prog in an accessible manner that was open to mainstream audiences, if they but had the inclination to listen.

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you have read some of my reviews, you might be aware that I quite liked the French scene from the seventies. Not only because of the French lyrics (French is my mother tongue) but mainly because the quality of the music combined to great and often irreverent texts were a perfect combination and marvelously highlighted the symphonic feel one could get while listening to so many great bands.

This "Pentacle" one and only jewel is not different from its great predecessors (and followers). The music they proposed was a brilliant combination of Crimson / Yes & Genesis in terms of instrumentation. As far as the vocal department is concerned, I have to say that they don't show too much to share with the usual and theatric French style.

Gerald Reuz is much more discreet but very effective though. And he is surrounded by a bunch of excellent musicians. Just listen to the gorgeous guitar solo available during "L'Âme Du Guerrier". Brilliant, really.

The "naked" emotional "Les Pauvres" is a great example of this French style I praise so much: simple, moving and featuring some great musical skills (guitar here is superb again: both acoustic and electric). A passionate moment indeed (but French knowledge is an add-on).

When you listen to the intro of the epic from this album ("Le Raconteur", - the story-teller) there is only one word to use: splendid! Vocals are sweet and passionate, keyboards are outstanding, melody is strong and the song quickly evolves into superb territories. Instrumental parts feature a great fight between the lead guitar and the rhythmic section: the result is absolutely wonderful.

On top of this, there are some extraordinary melodic moments available as well! What a great track this is. This song is THE highlight of course (but most of the songs featured on this album are excellent). The closing guitar solo is fantastic.

The bonus live tracks are quite interesting as well (even if the sound is rather average). This is quite a good album in my standards. Just shy of the masterpiece status but four solid stars without any problem.

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by Thiago Hallak

2 stars 2.5 stars actually!

Pentacle is a french symphonic band and it really has lots of symphonic elements like vocal in native language, melodies on keys, some space themes, etc. But it is quite simple: There are no ecstasy moments, unusual instruments or great solos.

The band reminds other frech symphonic bands like Taï Phong or Carpe Diem and also reminds Novalis.

"La Clef des Songes", "Naufrage" and "Le Racounteur" are nice songs but haven't any highlights. The others are just disposable.

I've got to admit that its climate is nice and delightful, a really coloured music. But it does not provides a worth listening, unfortunately.

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Somebody already know, I struggle a little bit with French language (in music of course), after all, I state it almost in all review of album sung in French language. Seems like a lot of Canada bands and almost all French ones are singing in this French language, as they can be proud of it. Actually, they can, it can be beautiful language (even sometimes unbearable, depending on speaker / singer in this case). There, just pleasant voice, lyrics (that I don't understand, but still it makes me happy) and sheer optimistic energy shining from it. In this point, "La Clef Des Songes" is making success. As many other one-wonder band from this era, they're in strange situation of being debut-final album, so they have no time to be mature, only fresh. And it's recognizable here.

4(+) is the least I can do to express my impression that this album made. Maybe it came little bit late, but year or two doesn't matter much (to me at least). Live songs are even better by my opinion.

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by Area70

4 stars A solid release that does what it says on the tin. Not a wildly original outing, but one where the songwriting has a strong flow from beginning to end and the musician's stick to their strengths. The main ingredients are haunting keyboards and biting guitarwork. The guitarist is somewhat apart from his six string cotemporaries in that he doesn't altogether abandon blues based phrasing.

The vocals are not what I would consider the typical theatrical style that's familiar to a lot of other French bands, more subdued and melodic. Overall the album is distinctly French with its dark undertone, but as other reviewers have noted, there's a drop here and there of space rock.

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by tmay102436

4 stars This is a truly enjoyable album. All of the beauty and power of the traditional French groups of the era, plus a bit more melody in the softer/English styling. There's been so much written about this from other proggers, I won't go into detail, but there is just something very unique here that transcends what one might expect. Yes, wonderful French language sung beautifully, great string (non mellotron I think) backing to fine percussion/bass work, but the guitar - that's the key here. It's more in the American/English style. Which, in my opinion, gives the strength to this type of music that is lacking in some other efforts.

In fact the only complaint I have is the added tracks - poorly recorded "live" performances. The performances seem fine, but the quality is unacceptable - so the answer - don't listen to them. I wish there were no added tracks on most of these re releases, as they just tend to detract from the listening experience - again, just my opinion.

So, overall this is what the 70's era French progressive rock is all about.

Buy this one - got mine from the wonderful Greg Walker - Syn-Phonic Music site.

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 La Clef Des Songes by PENTACLE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.08 | 83 ratings

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La Clef Des Songes
Pentacle Symphonic Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This French quartet's only album is paradigmatic of what was happening to rock musicians faced with both overwhelming odds and the astounding musical breakthroughs of the 1970s. Like many, the group probably figured this whole art thing would last forever. Rock would surely continue to expand into even greater areas previously unrealized. I mean, how could things go back? The public seemed to agree as evidenced by progressive rock's impressive chart listings and perfect storm of inspiration and timing. And it would be all but over by the end of the decade.

Pentacle's music is both intracate and humble, and the material here seems to have been composed in a flurry of activity during 1974/75 when the band - founded by friends Michel Roy (drums) and Gerard Ruez (guitars) - had after several years of gigging found the right line-up of gifted keyboardist Claude Menetrier and the rare talents of bassist/composer Richard Treiber. Evidently so turgid were the compositions that producer Jean-Claude Pognant [Ange] asked that they be shortened, a request warily agreed to by the band. But on stage they were able to expand their work with three of those live versions added to the Musea reissue. The opener starts unremarkably and the Ange comparisons are fair though the sound may also remind of Italians Le Orme with wafts of Bo Hansson in the background. Trieber's bass parts are the star along with Menetrier's synths supported admirably by founders Ruez and Roy. 'Naufrage' is better, ending solidly with a nice keyboard/drum exchange followed by full-powered symph rocker 'L'ame du Guerrier'-- 6 minutes of thematic development, good vocals and a great sense of soft-to-hard dynamism, Ruez's minstrel acoustics, and plenty of feeling. 'Les Pauvres' is French romance at its most poignant featuring Gerard Ruez's whispers of longing. Menetrier's elegiacal organ leads plodder 'Complot' and it wraps with eleven-minute 'Le Raconteur', a piece with good moments as well as disappointing ones.

The band deserves the love, of that there is little doubt, though this album's legend may only grow so large. Pentacle are a band that causes all weepy-eyed prog romantics to warm to them, and to want to extend a hand if 35 years too late.

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