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Iris - Crossing The Desert  CD (album) cover





3.11 | 45 ratings

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3 stars Iris was a project started in 1992 by guitarist Sylvain Gouvernaire,when he had already moved to England after the disbanding of Neo-Prog band Arrakeen.There he worked with many musicians like Cozy Powell,Clive Nolan (even participated in the Casino project),Mark Kelly but also Ian Mosley and Pete Trewavas from Marillion.The last two agreed to play on Sylvain's project ans so the album ''Crossing the desert'' was born in 1996.

Here Sylvain handles all keyboards except the guitars with Trewavas on bass and Mosley on drums.This is a whole instrumental effort based on melodic lines, dreamy soundscapes, virtuosic solos and special effects.The style is quite close to that of ARRAKEEN's, split between keyboard-piano driven mellow passages and guitar-dominated parts with deep emotional content and comes as a cross between Neo Prog and Symphonic Rock with a touch of New Age music.Bands like DOGMA and CHANCE are great reference points.Complexity and power are not absent,a couple of tracks feature great breaks,a pounding rhythm section and challenging guitars.Unfortunately not everything is great.The keyboard work of Gouvernaire is very safe almost hypnotic at moments with an actually supporting than major role,while there are lots of smooth moments that work more as fillers between richer passages rather than as parts of the instrumental project.The production and mix though are absolutely fantastic and help the more demanding moments of the album sound very atmospheric and even bombastic.

Sylvain would return back to France after the recordings and completed a five-piece line-up with double guitars (but without Trewavas or Mosley) to perform the album on stage.He almost immediately begun writing material foe a second Iris release,but for unknown reasons this would never see the light.

Having in mind who are these guys playing on ''Crossing the Desert'',someone would expect a memorable and high-praised release.The album contains plenty of moments of confirming the talent of the trio but also parts with no deep inspiration.Good and recommended album,no more or less.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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