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Arrakeen - Mosa´que CD (album) cover





3.32 | 32 ratings

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3 stars Arrakeen had built a good relationship with Marillion and in 1991 at a sold-out concert at Theatre Dunois in Paris Mark Kelly and Steve Rothery joined the group on stage.However they struggled to find success in hard times for Prog music, especially by singing in French, preventing them having international recognition.Sylvain Gouvernaire left for England to form Iris with the help of Marillion's Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley and the rest of the group hired Cyril Achard, a guitarist with a metal background.Gauthier Mejanel was the new drummer and Arrakeen recorded their second album ''Mosaique'' in 1992, released on MSI.

Achard's presence gave Arrakeen a harder edge in the lead guitar parts, but generally the group maintained its style of cinematic Neo Prog with delicate symphonic orchestrations and fabulous, theatrical female vocals provided by Maiko.Through a collection of both short and long tracks they offer elaborate arrangements with interesting melodies, romantic lyricism and extended instrumental workouts, based on Eric Bonnardel's flashy synthesizers.Some of Gouvernaire's monumental solos are absent, but new guitarist Cyril Archard was overall an excellent fit with some great guitar moves and a number of nice solos also in his armour, although a STEVE VAI virtuosic influence is evident in a couple of cuts.Maiko's voice remains the absolute trademark of Arrakeen, combining her majestic chords with passionate, symphonic-inclined musicianship.MARILLION, IQ and RENAISSANCE are the strongest reference points: A nice bunch of Classical inspirations and the lead female voice recall the later, the melodic guitar lines along with the bombastic synthesizers are elements of the first.However ''Mosaique'' was sort of a personal album with non-pop leanings and often a very orchestral sound, twisting from theatrical Progressive Rock to melodic Neo Prog.

After the mini-tour following the release of the album Arrakeen sadly disbanded.Cyril Achard followed a good personal career in the Prog Metal field, while Gauthier Mejanel and Maiko remained involved in the music industry, although far from their progressive roots.

Hail to one of the most underrated Prog bands of the 80's/90's.''Mosaique'' is another nice example of solid, non-commercial Neo/Symphonic Prog, definitely a must-have for fans of the style, albeit a touch weaker than Arrakeen's monumental debut.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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