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Saens - Prophet in a Statistical World CD (album) cover





3.55 | 33 ratings

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4 stars Prophet in a Statistical World is the third, and possibly final, album from this French prog group. This album is a sort of semi-concept album that is broken into two parts. Part one, Dystopian Dream, is four songs inspired by book's (you can probably guess most of the inspiring books) and a short interlude (Suite No 2). Part two covers the final seven tracks and is the concept "Prophet in a Statistical World", I'm sure the title will give you a clue as to what the concepts about.

There are two major differences between Prophet in a Statistical World and the preceding album, Escaping From the Hands of God. The first is that the compositions have become a lot tighter this time around, mainly due to the greater emphasis on the amazing technical ability of the musicians here, and as a result this album has a much harder edge to its atmosphere than the previous album had. The second thing is that the band has moved away from being a Neo group into a full blown Symphonic band on this album.

The worst thing about this album is definitely the vocals. Pascal Bouquillard's singing is probably worse on this album than on the previous, though sometimes his voice does work particularly well with the lyrics in the songs, but at times, like the end of Time Machine, his vocals are really not that nice to me. Though for the most part his vocals are passable, they will never find too much favour with me. Fortunately Pascals bass playing is among some of the best I have ever heard. His ability to effortlessly move between the slap and picking techniques is astounding, its just so smooth and yet helps add an extra dimension to the music. This is one of those albums where the bass line is the driving force behind the songs, leading them to their conclusion expertly.

Keyboards are generally considered a large part of prog but on this album they are only used sparingly by Vynce Leff but they do help to emphasize the atmosphere at any given point of the album. Vynce Leff, though, is the main creative force behind Saens, having written all the tracks and given the music the direction. His guitar lines interact beautifully with those of Benoit Campedel (who also does some additional keyboard work) and plays in some stunning solos that don't overshadow the melody and rhythm of the others. The drum lines of Stephane Geille (who coincidently played Piano on the instrumental Ayanda on Escaping From the Hands of God) are not spectacular but they do what is needed and their is the occasional line of real genius, definitely a strong rhythm player.

However, this album isn't perfect. The main problems being that the lyrics can get a bit cheesy at times and parts of the Prophet in a Statistical World suite don't work as well as they could have, which is a real shame. I'll give this album 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4, as its very good but not quite a masterpiece.

sleeper | 4/5 |


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