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Maldoror - L'Arbre-Cimetière CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.92 | 52 ratings

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4 stars Sacrebleu! The French are back into the leading edge in terms of new good prog acts, adding to their rich history during the golden years of Ange, Atoll, Mona Lisa, Neo, Arachnoid, Shylock et all... In the last 5 years , new bands such as Taal, Silver Lining, Xang, Seven Reizh, Saens, Aside Beside, Raison de Plus and a slew of others have left powerful marks on the prog audiophile.

Maldoror come out of the red, white and blue with a stunning display of biting & complex brew of the classiest symph-prog around. These 4 gifted musicians are tight as can be, interweaving their talents to produce a masterpiece. J.C. Rouanet is a dedicated technician , more in the heavy chugging rhythm style of a Martin Barre, but with a very distinctive lead guitar style that is often awesome and creative. The keyboards weave modern patches with more conventional multi-keyboard embellishments (piano, organ, synths and tron. The real star, in my opinion , is the stellar rumbling and reptilian bass played by Stephane Descamp, who really puts on a display of your classic prog bass history, at times fat and moody, then shifting in a blitzing propulsion , always inventive. Drummer Silvain Goillot pulverizes his skins with measured aplomb, unselfishly pushing the themes to unequalled heights. The vocals are handled by keys man Christophe Bellieres in a style arch typical of classic French prog, very dramatic, verging on hysterics with a heavy sense of theatrics in the direct spirit of Descamps, LeGuennec & Balzer. The music is -guess what - an album length story about the power of dictatorship and of the struggle of the innocent and unjustly oppressed . It's a torrid affair, replete with powerful themes, sophisticated arrangements, stylish flourishes and the ubiquitous "time changes" that keep things constantly on or near the edge , breathtakingly risky and off-guard. All twelve pieces flow according to the story, with the middle Acte II of particular brilliance and sheen, with a barrage of rippling lead guitar and synth solos , each better than the other.

This is symph-prog of the very highest calibre , never sloppy or needlessly meandering, that multiple listens openly suggest at classic status. The French are showing that they can be true masters in other fields besides soccer. With the above new bands, Maldoror is another jewel to reckon with . I have been waiting since the Riverside album for another hard hitting prog masterpiece and I have been rewarded with this unexpected gift. Rank way up there!

4 etoiles

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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