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Ange - Par Les Fils De Mandrin CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.47 | 149 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Par les Fils de Mandrin" is the last Ange studio album with the classic foursome (the two Decamps brothers, Brézovar and Haas) and the first one with drummer Jean-Pîerre Guichard. It is a concept- album revolving about the way of life and pursuits of a group of bandits, and you can tell that there is much room for folk-rock sonorities, as well as a refined handling of not too complex ambiences in many places: these two items are inherited from the days of the previous studio effort "Emile Jacotey". But also, there are many signs of a refurbishment of the old Ange style (as delivered in their first 3 albums). "Par les Fils de Mandrin" is, stylistically speaking, a convincing recapitulation of all that Ange had given so far to France's prog rock scene at the time. The album kicks off with the namesake piece: it has an atmospheric intro, eerie yet agile enough as to fluidly segue into the rocking main body. 'Au Café du Colibri' is another rocker, solid as the oponer although not as aggressive: the use of some Cabaret-like moment as a sort of interlude helps to enhance the sarcastic nature of the lyrics. 'Ainsi s'en Ira la Pluie' goes to a far different place. It starts with a long, spacey section dominated by cosmic synths, random soft percussions and a few lovely lines on harmonica as Christian Decamps goes reciting a ceremonious soliloquy; the latter section is a dynamic exercise on symphonic rock in the same trend of the "Cimetiere" and "Délire" albums. 'Autour de Feu' is an acoustic ballad (featuring plenty of acoustic guitars) that sounds like a bunch of guys sharing a moment of reflecting while camping in the desert under the moonlight - the partying climax is quite catchy and contagious, at least to me. 'Saltimbanques', once again, finds the band twisting the road toward a very different direction: this time we have a circus-meets-Renaissance dance framed as a celebratory litany: this makes sense after the festive closure of the previous track. The second half of the album is the most ambitious one in terms of progressiveness. 'Des yeux Couleur d'Enfants' pretty much follows the pattern of 'Aujourd'hui C'est la Fête chez l'Apprentice Sorcier' (from "Cimetiere") and 'Les Longues Nuits d'Isaac' (from "Délire"): powerful guitar, calculated mood shifts and soaring keyboards. 'Atlantis Les Géants de la 3e Lune' states a somber atmosphere based on sinister keyboard layers that go floating like dark clouds: the full ensemble's Entrance gives way to a majestic closure, but I feel that the fade- out comes too soon. I wouldn't have minded if this track had taken a longer expansion. But length is OK with 'Hymne à la Vie', the fabulous closer that has become a real timeless Ange staple. The first two parts of this mini-suite heavily rely on pastoral folkish moods, pertinently adorned by synths and mellotron; Brézovar's plethoric flute lines on part 2 are simply delicious. The last part is pure symphonic splendor, very much in a Genesis-meets-Moody Blues vein, of course, with a typically French flavor. A great album this is - another excellent effort by Ange tha tshouldn't be missing in any good prog rock collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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