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D'AccorD - Helike CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.15 | 40 ratings

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4 stars Issued on the Scandanavian Karisma imprint, the second release from Norwegian outfit D'Accord finds itself appearing at very much the wrong time, buried as it is under a plethora of high-profile progressive rock releases from the likes of Squackett, The Flower Kings, Rush, Asia and Van Der Graaf Generator. Although this glut of new material from some of the genre's big boys has made 2012 one of the best and busiest prog- rock years for some time, it has also seen inventive newbies such as D'Accord struggling to make themselves heard; any other year and 'Helike', an album bursting with retro prog flavours, might just found the attention it deserves. Led by multi-instrumentalist Daniel Maage D'Accord have two feet unashamedly buried deep in the early 1970s, reeling off an intense sound that blends King Crimson's discordant art-prog flourishes with Jethro Tull flutes, powerful proto-Sabbath guitars and Maage's wailing vocals. Basically one enormous composition spread out over two sections(helpfully titled 'Helike Part I' and 'Helike Part II'), this is an album that pays no concessions to modern prog, instead focusing their considerable energies on replicating progressive rock's glory days in a way rarely seen(or heard) these days. Some critics and fans have accused D'Accord of simply providing a derivative facsimile of the music they love - 'Helike' has garnered a surprisingly sub-lukewarm response - yet this is very much one of those difficult albums that takes more than a few listens to truly grasp. Daniel Maage has obviously used 'Thick As A Brick' and 'A Passion Play' as a kind of sonic blueprint, and the album is layered with elements of jazz fusion and symphonic rock, making for a continuously fascinating listen that never mulls on one section for too long and rarely repeats itself. In creating an album like 'Helike', Maage and 'D'Accord have obviously set themselves up for a big fall, yet one must congratulate a group with such a sonic vision. Whilst 'retro' styles groups like The Flower Kings are praised for creating a mixture between the old and new, D'Accord are chastised for creating a wonderful homage to their heroes. This album isn't perfect - far from it - but it's a daring, inventive and highly enjoyable adventure into the early 1970s that few would dare to attempt. Full of ideas and instrumentally impressive, this mixture may not be the most original album of 2012 yet it is nevertheless still a great slice of atmospheric progressive rock filled with a heady selection of moods, textures and styles. Well done D'Accord. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 4/5 |


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