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Hellebore - Il y a Des Jours CD (album) cover





3.51 | 30 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Sole album from this group who made a completely unlikely album released on the AYAA label (upon which Debile Menthol also released their albums), considering the unfavourable era they were in (the mid-80's) and Hellebore is best classified as Avant- prog and related to RIO or Zeuhl and chamber rock music and only 1000 copies were pressed. The album was graced with an artwork from the American collective Mnemonist (which had released a very apocalyptic Horde album, before transforming themselves into Biota), and the disturbing illustration fit the music rather well. A fairly acoustic quintet line-up (only some electric guitars) where three members (bassist Caël, guitarist Gindt and drummer Koskowitz) composed the music fairly evenly and separately, they recorded during the winter 83/84 the album and had a few more sessions from 82 to late 84, which are now added as bonus tracks on the Musea release.

Opening on particularly grotesque financial bourgeois questions with industrial noises in the background, Introduction Végétarienne soon veers towards a certain chamber prog between UZ and AZ, but apart from the intro, the music remains largely instrumental. Although not systematically, the next few tracks seem to evolve in the same realm with a bit of variation when heading towards a bit more to Miriodor's sense of burlesque music and comes close to free jazz improv on one number on the lengthier Umanak, but this remains thankfully short. When vocals are present, they range from vocalizing, to strange scats and at times a bit of Magma-esque choirs. In some ways Hellebore's album resembles a calmer Miriodor or Debile Menthol, but reminds me as well of Pataphonie's second album and at times early Univers Zero, although not nearly quiet as sombre.

As for the bonus track, they do sound like they were not recorded during the album's sessions, because the sound production is rather different. Les Lions (dating from mid- 82) sounds generally more aggressive with the guitar much more present (only wind player Casari is missing on this track) and a slightly more nihilistic and improvised. The next two tracks are the logical extrapolation of the album, the Oarystis tapes being supplied by the famous Chris Cutler.

While a very worthy album on its own, it is not really that essential considering the mass of records that shares the same musical traits in this Chamber Zeuhl RIO realm. But if you are a fan of this particular type of prog genre, Hellebore might just be indispensable for you. I'd recommend it to anyone into that universe, but maybe not as an introduction of a casual listener or someone just discovering the genre.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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