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Robert Bériau - Selfishness - Source Of War & Violence CD (album) cover


Robert Bériau


Symphonic Prog

3.24 | 15 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars A multi-instrumentalist a la Oldfield with an apparently Hammill-esque voice, delivers a message that could have easily fabricated another angry Roger Waters album; but it lacks the power of our Floydian friend. And unfortunately, the music doesn't save it.

Vocally, Beriau has an unnerving skill, but his timbre is hardly unique. And the extensive vocal treatments used on this record actually make it rather difficult to hear the lyrics. The occasional sentence comes through, and it's usually phrases like "fucking politician" or "rising sea levels"; issues which, in my opinion, are already dull and depressing (if not clichéd in the music world). But nevertheless, I looked forward to the prog itself, having read about Beriau's skills on multiple instruments. I was somewhat disappointed in this area too though.

It is prominently modern-sounding keyboard 'scapes with drenchy guitar melodies, but neither are played to an impressive standard. And I can hear you saying "It doesn't matter how impressive it is if it has emotion and power!"- this is true, but emotion and power are also lacking here. Maybe that's being harsh; there may be a maximum of ONE emotion present, but this emotion is the frustration or bitterness that you would expect from reading the album's title, and it grows boring after the first 3 or 4 songs. It's the same problem Waters' had after he abandonded the rest of his band; single-minded albums with mediocre players and little dynamic or harmonic variation. Sometimes saxes, flutes, and other exotic keyboards threaten to join in the mix, but they stay for a mere phrase or two and leave again. There are tinklings of percussion and and effects which are also used sparingly, a shame.

This album also has a huge range in it's production quality. Some songs are way over-produced, drenched in over-the-top effects and literal decoration, while others sound almost like a rehearsal, especially in the drum department (I can't tell if it's an incredibly complex time-signature, or if the drummer is simply out of time). Both extremes diminish the quality of the songwriting, which isn't all that bad. It just suffers from lashings of melodic cliché and a far too overbearing concept. And the murky, deep sound does represent the concept well, but that doesn't make it automatically good; I would prefer some variation on such a long symphonic prog album.

To conclude, this is a mediocre prize from Prog Archives (much appreciated nonetheless) with rather predictable content. It suffers from the Oldfield syndrome, as mentioned by Snobb, and is mostly lifeless. But there are moments to enjoy for someone I'm sure. Owners of Beriau's previous album will probably have more luck.

thehallway | 2/5 |


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