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Ange - Guet-Apens CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 144 ratings

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4 stars When people ask me how good is French Theatric Symphonic (A term that I don't like, being that I don't believe in genres created in base of region or national reasons), I tell them to listen ANGE, probably the most representative French bands of the 70's.

But I also tell them to be careful, this band is so particular and unique that is hard to get used, it's more some kid of acquired taste than an instant love, but when it gets into your taste, you're doomed to be a fan.

Normally people identify ANGE as a GENESIS inspired band, but if we listen "Guet-Apens" opener "A Colin-Maillard" this is something hard to believe. This track is closer to KING CRIMSON than to any other band.

The complexity of the structure, the elaborate rhythm and the radical changes make me remember "Lark Tongues in Aspic", but when Rene Decamps starts to sing we can notice how unique they are, I don't know if it's the language or any vocal characteristic but this band is one in a class, a very solid song to start a very solid album.

"Dans les Poches du Berger" begins with a very strong PINK FLOYD resemblance but again when the narrative style of Decamps joins the acoustic guitar and the dreamy keyboards the impression changes, hardly can be compared with any other band.

This song flows gently from start to end but not without a strange form of simplistic complexity..Yes I know it's a paradox, but how else can I describe such an elaborate ballad?

"Un Trou dans la Case" has another calmed keyboard intro which radically changes after a percussion explosion, which leads to a weird guitar and vocals section that I can only describe as Operatic Psychedelic Prog. Again the extreme complexity makes me compare them with KING CRIMSON, but for some strange reason I like this track very much despite I'm not a fan of Fripp's boys.

"Virgule" at last a song that musically makes me remember GENESIS, but the four men era, more precisely "A Trick of the Tail", the combined use of organ and mellotron with then particular vocals are perfect for a song narrated in a style that seems like a story tale, don't ask me about the lyrics because my French is rusty, but it seems like a narration of a fairy tale. A bit too short but works as areliever in preparation for what's coming.

In "R veille-toi" without any introduction, the band hit us with everything they have, a strong keyboard and drum explosion, soon followed by guitar and the vocals that seem to be sung in a different speed than all the instruments, energetic and operatic, I you're not used to such a display of drama, probably will have a hard time with the incredibly expressive and theatric vocals, my favorite track at this point of the album.

Now. To make it really complex, how else could they close the album than with an epic that has an "a capella" weird introduction? But don't expect a warm narration, it's hard, and aggressive as if they were insulting somebody, immediately after a very fluid and Symphonic passage reminiscent of Gabriel's GENESIS, that leads to another almost "a capella" section, and say almost because the keyboards and guitar play soiftly in the background, in a style that reminds me of French Chanssoniers, and now a very dramatic passage where I honestly can't say which is more dramatic, if the vocals or the instruments.

After this long section, comes an instrumental break in which Claude Demet delights with an impressive guitar solo and after a short time.let me see if you can guess.another narrative passage almost immediately interrupted by the guitar and again narration which this time leads to an incredibly haunting and beautiful organ and Mellotron solo, simply breathtaking.

The song continues until the end with amazing and radical changes that impress me more each time I listen them, 14 minutes of pure Progressive Rock.

Now comes the hard part...How in hell do I rate this album?

It's brilliant, intelligent, theatrical, dramatic, expressive, a complete masterpiece, but I'm sure it is not essential for everybody, because you need a very particular taste or at least be used to their crazy style in order to really enjoy it.

I wish there was a 4.5 stars option, but until then, I will have to go with 4 very solid stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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