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Univers Zero - The Hard Quest CD (album) cover

THE HARD QUEST

Univers Zero

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.75 | 86 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This was their first album in 13 years, and it seems to be a return (in part) to their old sound. The returning Michel Berkmans is mostly responsible for that as he brings with him the aboe, english horn and bassoon. These instruments had been absent from UNIVERS ZERO's sound since he left after the "Ceux Du Dehors" album. Reginald Trigaux the son of original member Roger Trigaux and member of PRESENT plays electric bass and acoustic guitar on this one. The songs are shorter and less oppressive than past records. I was disappointed with this release overall. It's like there is something missing, and maybe it's just that unrelenting tension that kept me so attentive to all their previous records.Their music has to be listened to with ones full attention or it just doesn't work, this isn't background music folks. This is still a good album just not a great one in my opinion. Co-production:ART ZOYD.

"Vieux-Manants" is one of my least favourites on here. Not a good way to start from my vantage point.This is a fairly slow moving track that sounds like a funeral march.Boring is the word. "Civic Circus" is better. It has a classical feel to it with the harpsichord being prominant. Percussion and keys are also well done. "Affinite" has some tension on it with the eerie violin helping out in that area.There is a darkness to this song as well. Organ later on is a nice touch. "Rouages" comes alive after 2 minutes with heavier drums as the clarinet comes and goes. Eerie sounds after 4 minutes before the song comes alive a second time with keys and drums leading the way. "News From Outside" is dark with some cool drumming from Denis.He then offers up some spoken words, as we get dissonant sounds to follow. Harmonium on this track as well.

"Rebus" features an interesting array of intricate sounds. Not a big fan of the melody though. "Kermesse Atomique" is better, it's slow and dark with different sounds coming and going. I like this one. The next two tracks are Berkmans compositions (Denis composed the rest) and he plays piano only on these two songs. "Succes Damne" has a lot of piano and violin on it. The piano and drums 3 minutes in are good. "L'Impasse Du Cholera" features lots of dark piano melodies. "Xenantaya" opens with vocal melodies from Trigaux in a haunting atmosphere.The song changes 2 minutes in as we get a catchy melody.Yes I did say catchy. An actual beat you can move to makes me think the apocalypse can't be far away. Acoustic guitar as well on this one. "L'Oubli" is a short slow paced song with clarinet, drums and keys leading the way.

I don't know if i'd say this was a triumphant return, but i'm glad they are back. This one is growing on me.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |

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