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Eclat / ex Eclat De Vers - Eclat II CD (album) cover


Eclat / ex Eclat De Vers


Symphonic Prog

3.41 | 30 ratings

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4 stars Eclat are a Marseilles based band which was formed in 1989. They started with the name Eclat De Vers and in 1991 released their extremely short first album. They were once listed under JR/F because of their more fusion style adopted from their third album on, but now were moved to symphonic which is maybe a more suitable spot for them especially regarding their first two albums. The band is led by the virtuoso guitar player Alain Chiarazzo but it doesn't mean their music is a guitar show off, it's clearly a band effort where everyone of the members is notable. Despite the fact that Eclat have been around for almost 25 years and up till now have released 5 albums and two live ones, they can't seem to shake their obscurity bounds, and still remain in the shadows of other successful french bands. Even here they don't get any mention except for a handful of reviews covering their whole discography. Well...I hope I can slightly change that.

Their music on this album can be considered as melodic symphonic prog but it's more on the eclectic side. Very classy, very elegant, beautiful and always clever. Everything is thought out so well and effectively constructed. The playing is very tight and it's most notable on their exquisite and sophisticated breaks. Special mention to Bruno Ramousse on bass, playing some beautiful bass lines, very easy and very elegant. Vocals are good if you don't mind french. The album comprises of 9 tracks ranging from 3 to 7 minutes, still there are plenty of instrumentals, interludes and brilliant playing to choose from. Their sound would not appeal to every one, this is as far from the 70's sound as it can get, I'm not too keen about 80's sounding albums but I can still have the highest appreciation for this one. The production reminds me of bands like Minimum Vital and early Halloween, with chorused guitars and overall a clear and shiny sound, but don't let that scare you too much because it's still warm and unique.

"Le Chemin Vers Les Nornes" is one of the highlights here, it starts the album and slowly builds the tension and as you think it's gonna explode it falls into the most charming vibraphone and guitar main riff on top of an elegant bass, simply beautiful. Half way thorough it changes to the coolest medieval interlude and goes back to the main riff as towards the end Chiarazzo unleashes a three part killer guitar solo giving the song exactly what it needed to leave you wanting for more. "Vitriol" is one of the rockiest songs on this album. It demonstrates how furious Chiarazzo is, playing lightning fast solos but still remains passionate and never falls in the virtuoso trap. Good performance by all. "Se Tu An Tan" is an example of how maybe the weakest song on the album is still beautiful and doesn't detract anything from my enjoyment. "Cinq-Quarts" is another high point here, the band shows their skills of song writing and performance, demonstrating how progy they can get as they go from one idea to the next so easily without sounding too far off. "Page Orientale" is like a tribute song to Jimmy Page reminiscent of his playing in songs like White Summer and Black Mountain Side. This one brings some variety to the album's material because of its instrumentation, acoustic guitars, tablas and some silent keys. Needless to say that Chiarazzo's playing is sublime. "Tau" is a short acoustic song consisting of a beautiful bass work and vocals. I wouldn't consider it as disposable. "Opera Magique" is darker with heavy vocals on top of a slow rhythm. Half way through it breaks into a swinging medieval interlude. Nicely done, but hardly the album's highlight. "Le Moissonneur" is a platform for Chiarazzo to go wild featuring his soaring fierce guitar playing. It's a short instrumental comprising of only acoustic guitars and a soloing electric guitar. Quite a joy listening to this one, especially if you're a guitar freak.. "Circus" is another successful attempt of writing a clever and elegant progy song. Delicious instrumental, intricate interplay and a lot of ideas mixed together creating another high point in this album.

So this is another beautiful symphonic obscurity that should appeal to a lot of you. The next album would see the band develop more of a fusion kind of prog, still interesting but personally I find this album to be their strongest. Highly recommended. 4.2 stars.

Sagichim | 4/5 |


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