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Harmonium - L'Heptade CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 310 ratings

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4 stars HARMONIUM's proggiest but not their prodigiest. After "5ème Saison" masterpiece we all expected "L'Heptade" to be similar or even better but the result although interesting is a bit disappointing. Some could say that masterpieces aren't done all the time however we may point a number of bands that released gems in batches and during a really short period, like Genesis, Yes, PFM, etc.

Everything concurred for a best achievement here: an experienced band, a fair production, great and ambitious arrangements, all packaged in a double disc. I guess that the album promotion at least at HARMONIUM's motherland should have been more than average with loud echoes in Europe and other parts - here in Brazil the echo arrived with some months of delay and not so loud.

Perhaps if "L'Heptade" were a one-disc album or it contained less filler or if some tracks were shorter it could achieve masterdom. Also noticeable is the darker atmosphere when compared with the previous album that kept a joyful freshness in spite its political bias.

The songs are generally fair but if someone expects another 'Histoires sans paroles' be concerned that none matches this fabulous piece. The highest points are just those where Serge Fiori's vocals sound great like 'Comme un fou' and 'Chanson noire'. Another track with fine moments is 'Comme un sage'. 'Le corridor' has female vocals that give an interesting contrapuntto and is also pleasant to hear. Other long songs are a bit dull even when one can identify neat parts here and there. Short tracks are intended to link the main songs and they sound pastoral or bucolic but even being sometimes catchy and hearable they add few.

I place "L'Heptade" below "5ème Saison" - which is a true masterpiece, and shoulder to shoulder with HARMONIUM's namesake first output, although I can listen to the later more easily than the present one.

"L'Heptade" could be a true 3,5 rating album if it weren't HARMONIUM's. However, considering their history, their background, the natural difficulty of singing in French in an ocean of English language, the somewhat tiny band's discography, the rating shall be notedly raised, since it's good and essential. Total: 4.

Atkingani | 4/5 |


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