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Fromage - Ondine CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.06 | 15 ratings

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3 stars A Japanese group from late-70's, formed in Kyoto and featuring later Gerard's leader Toshio Egawa and Pageant's guitarist Ikkou Nakajima in their early line-up.However the band did not release anything around the time and we would have to wait for 1984 when the Fromage quintet debuted with ''Ondine'' on Belle Antique.By the time female musician Manabu Higashizawa was handling the flute, Yoshie Shimamura was the keyboard man, Yoshihiro Kondo the guitarist, while the rhythm section consisted of Hirozaku Taniguchi on drums and Tomohisa Hayashi on bass.

The album opens with ''Extermination''.Interesting flute work,careful use of synths,some great breaks but also a cliche groove and ultra-cheesy vocals complete a fine but rather uneven track.The following ''Inspiration'' is pretty awful.Sort of bluesy Pop Rock mixed with 80's synths and unbearable vocals,a total failure.''Ultimate'' is a winner to say the least,instrumental keyboard-driven Symphonic Rock with a slight commercial edge, headed by the fantastic flute work of Higashizawa,the nice synths of Shimamura and the STEVE HACKETT-influenced guitars of Kondo.The eponymous track is actually a long symphonic ballad with good electric solos and decent synthesizers in a very grandiose mood,not unlike early GERARD.''Color Vision Night'' is the worst track by far,absolutely uninteresting Synth- Pop with distorted guitars and horrible poppy vocals.The band however decided to save the best for last,the 17-min, grand epic ''Tsuki-ni-hoeru'',a composition with a fair amount of diversity.Melodic symphonic Rock with hints of CAMEL on the flute work, pretty nice use of synthesizers in a GENESIS vein and a touch of FOCUS on the guitar lines.And the only track along with the eponymous one,where vocals are pretty bearable.

Two CD reissues followed by Belle Antique in 1994 and 2007 respectively,I would definitely recommend the second one,which features the decent 10-min. bonus track ''Kishibe no nai umi''.Pretty commercial but certainly well-played Neo/Symphonic Prog with some nice breaks,fiery hard rock soloing but also very interesting keyboard and piano parts in the vein of QUASAR,surprisingly the forefront bass work is also very good.

Not an excellent album,but ''Ondine'' holds a fair amount of interesting material to satisfy the Progressive/Symphonic Rock fan.Typical Japan product of the time,if you skip a couple of embarassing tracks,the rest of the album is easily recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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