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Forgas Band Phenomena - L'Axe Du Fou - Axis Of Madness CD (album) cover


Forgas Band Phenomena


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.33 | 89 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Forgas Band Phenomena is a pretty interesting case in modern progressive music. Not just because Axis Of Madness is the first studio album in nearly ten years to be offered up under that title, but also because (if the amount of ratings and reviews are any indication) hardly anybody here seems to know who the hell they are. Hopefully my review will excite a few people into trying them out. Let me start out by saying that every track on this release is a gem, and it has no weak point. Tough to swallow? Read on . . .

After my first time listening to the entirety of the record, I had a sort of afterglow about me. I knew I had just listened to something very remarkable and beautiful, but I don't think you'll ever be able to realize for yourself just how special of a recording this is until you experience it for yourself. Patrick Forgas, drummer and composer extraordinaire, has brought together an elite group of musicians to create one of the finest instrumental works I have ever laid ears on.

All of the instruments featured on the record have their own role to play, and there is very little overlap. I think perhaps the album's biggest strength is the large amount of instruments against the very small amount of repetition. If you hear a new riff enter the scene, chances are you won't be hearing it again unless it's intentionally done as a recurring theme within the track. This happens once or twice perhaps, but never over long periods of time, and frankly I'm fine with that. It ensures that the music continues to press forward without lingering. The sense of pacing and flow never leaves the music despite this, and it's achieved with such grace and seemingly little effort that as a songwriter it makes me very jealous of Forgas' obviously fantastic abilities as a composer. Never a repetitive moment, yet it still feels accurate and together. I never felt like the music was veering off into left field despite the vast amount of ground each tracks manages to cover.

Something this band is impeccably good at is allowing each instrument their space. In a lineup with so many different instruments present, that is not easy to do. But they somehow pull it off time and again. Never does the music feel crowded, but always does it feel heartfelt and fresh. There is such a risk for the compositions to get carried away with themselves here, yet they simply don't. Everything is as it should be, and the perfect balance is always maintained. Very impressive, especially in current times when instrument-heavy music always seems to lead to senseless wankery and boring guitar solos. Most of the leads are handled by everything but the familiar six-stringed instrument, which is a breath of fresh air as far as I am concerned. Benjamin Violet is no slouch by any means, but his role in the band isn't to outshine everybody else. He takes more of a rhythmic role and when he does in fact solo, it's always very atmospheric and tasteful-- a concept plenty of modern guitarists seem to have no knowledge of.

What this amounts to is basically one of the most beautiful complete records I've ever heard, certainly when it comes to instrumental music. I cannot even begin to describe the way in which this moves me. If you haven't picked up this album yet, you have no idea what a wonderful experience you are depriving yourself of. You may have simply never heard of this music before. If you haven't, there are two things I have to say: 1) Shame on you, and 2) Remain in the dark no longer and pick yourself up a copy of this brilliant, brilliant album.

Just as Pink Floyd, Yes and King Crimson paved the way for forward-thinking music back in the day, Bands such as Forgas Band Phenomena are doing the same in modern times. It is a true shame that my article will only bring this album's review count up to four so far. On a site that houses such a rich variety of creative music, why is it I only see the same handful of bands being recognized in the majority of reviews I read? That tradition needs to halt, as far as I am concerned. Nothing is wrong with favoring the giants of this musical attitude we call 'prog', but to be completely oblivious of such works as this is not much short of a sin. Past artists you may know such as Mahavishnu Orchestra or Jean-Luc Ponty have a few things in common with this group, so if you like them, you should find something to love in this recording. However, make no mistake; just because there are similarities doesn't mean Forgas Band Phenomena lacks originality. On the contrary, this is some of the most original music you'll be likely to hear all year. Just know that they have more in common musically with Maneige than, say, Genesis.

Any serious music enthusiast should not be without this album in her collection, I sincerely mean that. Two five-star reviews in a row for me? Hey, when this brilliant of music is involved, you'd better believe it. Another rousing masterpiece that rivals anything else, in any genre, anywhere. I dare you to listen to this work and not adore it.

Sweet journeys.

JLocke | 5/5 |


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