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4 stars From all those bands which are influenced by King Crimson,is this Shylock possible one of the very best.Especially in their first album 'Gialorgues' many passages are comparable to 'Red'.Guitarist Frédéric L'Epee plays with the same enthousiasm as his famous exemple Robert Fripp and the result is very convinced.A very dark and dismal powerfull guitarwork is present during the whole length of the album.On the suitable moments the mellotrons are doing what is necessary to make each track on this album great.There isn't almost any weak moment and the fans from King Crimson will be not dissapointed.This isn't one of those many bad Crimson imitating groups.This album contains material which is near as good as the masters self.
Report this review (#26519)
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Debut album released from this French outfit which has reached "cult status". "Gialorgues" has found its way onto many "best of" lists that I have seen and for good reason. SHYLOCK are from the KING CRIMSON school of progressive rock in style but have certainly their own unique style and delivery. For the most part SHYLOCK were a three piece band who brought in some guest musicians along the way. SHYLOCK deliver complex and involved prog which has a dark forboding theme and feeling to it. Guitars soar from your speakers and drumming is nice and complex with ever changing tempos. Songs are well constructed and seem to create different mood swings - from hyper driving acid laced guitar to the quiet dark atmospheric chamber-prog. If you like great speaker seperation then "Gialorgues" is just for you as SHYLOCK move from speaker to speaker creating some mind bending moments sure to make you smile. Oh yes I should also mention that this an all-instrumental piece of work. If you are looking for a real find and a very polished and professional sounding prog then SHYLOCK is just for you.
Report this review (#26520)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nowadays Shylock is one of the main references for bands like the fabulous Anglagard or the overrated Anekdoten: talking about the present debut album, it was regarded as a less harsh and more compact version than "Ile de Fievres" (dated 1978),their second one, but perhaps -according to the majority of the music critics in that period- it had never got the same peek of invention, which instead characterized this fact-as it was enriched with some dissonant and remarkable symphonic breaks through- "Ile de Fievres" was even more appreciated and complete than their debut album.But it never minds, the stuff inside "Gialorgues" (especially the main suite which is 13 minutes long!!), sounds like some complex and sometimes uneven music passages performed by groups in the vein of Cathedral, and it can be checked out at least!!Well honestly I often compare "Gialorgues" to"Stained Glass Stories" by Cathedral, cause of some similitudes,even though actually the US ensemble -unlike Shylock-is more Yes-oriented.It never minds, the experimental harmonic passages- performed by all these bands- are very interesting, especially by thinking also of the experimental material from Minimum Vital (another excellent band from France!!), which let my enthusiasm grow. I like pointing out that such jazz progressive genre or generally the experimental progressive bands from Europe, are able to let me forget almost the whole stuff from the US Progressive derivative bands,even though naturally my tastes can change according to my diverse mood...finally "Gialorgues" is not only for the collectors of the specific "clones" by King Crimson and - after all- it can complete your Collection of "Prog experimental stuff" in the seventies!!
Report this review (#26517)
Posted Thursday, May 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Around the same time that Carpe Diem was happening in Nice-Grenoble area , Shylock was also emerging from the same corner of France. While their paths most likely crossed and their sound was fairly similar (both managing to sound a bit like Genesis, but Shylock was more Crimson-like), Shylock was an all-instrumental group and did not have a wind player (as Carpe Diem did), which over the course of their two albums will not be a flaw since they were rhythmically much superior, but probably would've made them much bigger. As good instrumentalists Shylock were, there always seems to lack a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that allowed them to reach the excellent category, even if with their second album, they will come fairly close. But let's first concentrate on this one.

Their symphonic rock is always good but rarely brilliant, mainly due to a certain derivative guitar (just like in Carpe Diem, Steve Hackett's sound is shamelessly copied), but the drumming is maybe the one of their better feature, as it is often inventive (Jamie Muir's percussions comes to mind) and bringing a bit of luster in an otherwise fairly conventional symphonic prog. The album is made of three tracks, two of them lengthy epics, named after the order in which they composed them. I cannot rally accept this laziness of even finding another name for those tracks other than their working titles. Clearly, their fifth ones is the most effective and interesting due not least to a great percussive intro and the influences are shifting from Genesis to Crimson, sometimes a bit shamelessly. It is worthy of note that Shylock will be the first of a few French bands to inspire themselves of the Wetton-era Crimson, such Xaal and Nebelnest will in their respective decades. But this fifth composition (La Cinquième) is easily this album's highlight.

This album was first released as a private pressing (and under difficult conditions) before getting a CBS release the next year. Musea has released this album quite a while ago in Cd format with 5 bonus tracks which do not interfere with the album, but bring nothing new or more to the original album. Certainly not essential (and not anymore than Carpe Diem's works), but nevertheless worthy of the symphonic prog amateurs and having both their albums (especially Ile De Fièvre) in their shelves.

Report this review (#26521)
Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Shylock were a french band that played all-instrumental prog pieces in a very king crimsonesque way but still this album is not a clone of crimson and should be taken for a spin on your stereo. the re-release version (which i have) is built from the 3 original album track and 5 bonus tracks which are not essencial and therefore i will ignore in this review. shylock were a three piece band playing organ ,guitar,drums while the bass on the album was played by the guitarist frederick l'epee ,who should be mentioned as a great guitarist a la Robert Fripp from crimson. I would like to mention the drummer as well for the crazy changes and impossible structures i really love that. out of the three album tracks i would best recomend le quatrieme (it really isnt the forth track but the first- they named the pieces in the order they were written ) it just summorizes for me the whole feel of the album. I admit i was looking for the loccanda de la fate album when i bought this instead but i didnt regret it so if you give it a chance you probably wont regret it either so try it
Report this review (#26523)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars The debut-album from the French band Shylock starts very promising on the first track: beautiful harpsicord-like arpeggio's and the wonderful sound of the string-ensemble, then bombastic eruptions featuring fiery electric guitar runs. The climates quickly change from mellow to more heavy or bombastic, the drums sound very propulsive and dynamic and the guitarwork is powerful ('Fripperian-like'). The second track and third compositions contain many good ideas and some very strong breaks, shifting moods and compelling interplay between the guitar and keyboards but the King Crimson echoes are very obvious, sometimes a bit too. This keeps it from deserving four stars.
Report this review (#41473)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Marvellous piece of symphonic progrock with influences from bands such as King Crimson and PFM. But mostly one kinda way expressing prog rock in the wake of it's fall in the late 70's. Fresh, exciting, new sounding music although it's older now than i'm now. One of the seldom pure instrumental albums that i listen to. The players have a very unique taste in melodies and songstructures, the chosen sounds of the instruments here are never insipid. The Using of synthesizers and guitars are very well figured, and the whole band plays awfully together. The Drumming here is amazing! fills, beats, cymbal hits are almost perfect here. So, the total sound of the album is great and not too bright and the music is composed with apt ears. This album has only one minus so I won't give it 5 stars. Although vocalist isn't always needed in music, here i think it would've filled in some gaps better, and the album wouldn't have sounded so humdrum all the time.
Report this review (#62166)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars My personal fave of these two records of Shylock. Gialorgues one is maybe more dense compared to the mor "diffusive" Ile De Fiévre. And in my oppinion seems to be the best work of Frédéric L'Épée ever. Mellow epic jazzy progrock but not very original - three longish compositions as a whole band from original LP-recording and five bonus tracks as a duo (guitars+keyboards). My personal fave of the whole recording is Le Quatriéme and fave of these bonus tracks - Prélude a l`Eclipse. 3,5 stars really.
Report this review (#73302)
Posted Tuesday, March 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars They named the record after a mountain in France whose peak could be seen from St.Dalmas' Church (album cover). Perhaps KING CRIMSON is their greatest influence, and like Fripp the guitarist here used to sit on a stool during concerts. SHYLOCK are a three piece instrumental band from France. The original album featured three songs and it was about 36 minutes long. Apparently you cannot buy it that way anymore as 5 tracks have been added that were recorded some 5 years later without the drummer who had left by then. My evaluation(4 stars) is based on the original album tracks only. The extra 5 tracks were recorded either for soundtracks or library music and are dominated by the keyboards with no drums and little guitar. Hard to tell it's the same band actually.

I like the first song "Le Quatrieme" opening with light keys as guitar and drums come into play in a dramatic way. This contrast continues throughout the song and the guitar sounds great.

The next song "Le Sixieme" features more amazing guitar and drum work and is by far the shortest of the three original tracks. "Le Cinquieme" opens with percussion and various strange noises for two minutes until the guitar comes into play.This song is almost 19 minutes long and is all over the place.

For me this record was well worth buying for the first song alone and more specifically the memorable guitar work that is featured on it.

Report this review (#107446)
Posted Sunday, January 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars

With a dark cover and concise name SHYLOCK creeps into my ears. It's KING CRIMSON mixed with CLEARLIGHT and PULSAR (the best description I can give), and it's another classic from 70s. Pretty overlooked yet desent stuff - very well played and composed, all instrumental, with lush arrangements, unusual musical hints but never descending into avant stuff (which is so loved by French proggers). Highly recommended!

Report this review (#115545)
Posted Monday, March 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Disciplined French symphonic, both promising and frustrating

Shylock is one of French symphonic's little gems from the '70s that occupy their own little niche. They are often compared to King Crimson but I find them somewhere between the harshness of some Crimson works and the more romantic German symphonic of the time such are Novalis and Rousseau, and not quite as rich as either example. In terms of their own countrymen they are less acclaimed than Carpe Diem, less playful than Ange, less luscious than Pentacle, more powerful than Clearlight and Pulsar, and not as dark as Arachnoid.

According to their bio the band was born in the summer of '74 when keyboardist Didier Lustig and drummer Andre Fisichella left their Nice based cover band to do something original. It fell into place like a storybook tale. They saw an ad leading them to guitarist Frederic Lepee and one day after their first meeting they agreed to start a prog band, becoming instant friends and sharing musical ideals. They took summer holiday in the French alps to begin working on material. A local priest allowed them to practice in the little village church which is the one you see on their album cover. There they labored intensely in the truest spirit of progressive music and unbridled enthusiasm: each member throwing ideas forward frantically and democratically until the pieces began to take shape. After holiday and back at college they began to search for a bass player but they never found one and instead guitarist Frederic would handle bass duties. The band began to play live dates and the following summer recorded their debut in a mere 10 days. The original pressing sold about 3,000 copies but was very well received and instantly gave them a name on the French prog scene.

The album consists of two main pieces of 13 and 19 minutes with a short piece in the middle. Both main pieces alternate the melodic and flowing with occasional harsher, in some cases experimental passages (the latter particularly in the second long track which features strange percussions/sounds.) There are moments that are simply wonderful with nicely arranged melodic themes and in particular the guitar is my favorite, with some very intense riffs and fast picked progressions. I think the first track contains the best ideas. But while Shylock is an occasional spin for me they are not a favorite. I used a nice word in my opener calling them disciplined; another adjective could be "anal." This band is just a notch too tight for me. The drummer in particular sounds too often just overwound and this obsession with coloring within the lines runs through the others as well, never allowing me to get emotionally too involved. An example is between minutes 10-12 of the first track where some beautiful and nuanced guitar and piano are playing out.rather than laying back for a breather to give them some space he just plows ahead seemingly oblivious. Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough to follow his reasons but moments like this I'm ready to get the cane and start pulling from behind the curtain. Then in the second piece you get these juvenile, rather amateur sounding oddity noises and percussions sprinkled about that tell me they could have used more time crafting other bits from their repertoire which no doubt was larger than these three pieces by the time they recorded. Shylock's debut is not a disaster but nor is it a masterpiece. It has its moments of great interest but I would personally go for other French stuff first, the bands I mentioned above (except maybe Clearlight) are all more satisfying than Shylock. Oddly enough, I find the short, tacked-on bonus tracks almost more interesting than the original three tracks. They have the benefit of the band's experience being recorded after their game was essentially over, and feature only keys and guitar without drums. Without the frenzied sound of the early stuff, you can better hear and absorb some of the finer intricacies of their guitar/keyboard composition. 6/10

Report this review (#169624)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's 77, year of one particular important petition in our country's history and in Prog ? Well, it's quite late, so these guys should better sound to make any major impact. You know, when you're not in the beginning of making something (Rock'n'Roll, Prog, PA), at least do it (if not so originally) with an acquired skill, experience, you've gathered over the years. Polished, perfected, enhanced. The best of your genre, right ? Well, Shylock is doing it well. I personally don't see much references (hear) to King Crimson, or similar "weirder" bands, maybe on second track, but especially 1st and 3rd (the longest) are symphonic a lot, pleasing, classical like (you know the stuff).

4(+), very good.

Report this review (#267548)
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first album by Shylock is already quite distinctive but uneven similar to the second album. Especially with the bonus tracs included. Another complaint is about the not so good recording sound - some lows are missing and the sound is flat even when listening from a CD. The first. epic track is excellent, melodic while being clearly symphonic and progressive, a lot of variation, emotions and alternating between melancholy and more uplifting moments. It is possibly the most famous moment by Shylock to be only exceeded by the first track of the second album. The second track "Le Sixième" is quite experimental and fares well on its own as an intermezzo on the way to the next epic track, " Le Cinquième" has many mood shifts, also reflective moments. Very clear influence of King Crimson especially on guitar playing and mellotrons. Drumming is different and less jazzy than by Bruford. The bonus tracks are interesting to be heard but clearly non-essential and likely being ignored/skipped after multiple listenings. There are also some Genesis leanings of the keyboard player and he uses a lot of piano on the bonus part. "Prélude a l'éclipse" starts like "Firth of the fifth" but soon evolves into its own melody - melancholic and dark, the creepy synths suit it excellent. The remaining other two tracks are pleasant and short enough to be considered work in progress. Still enough to be rounded up to 4 stars, nevertheless hardly an essential piece of prog-rock.
Report this review (#2448021)
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unclassifiable masterpiece !

The Nice scene at the end of the 70th produced several progressive rock groups: Step Ahead, Edhels, and Shylock, in my opinion the most interesting. The album Gialorgue was initially self-produced before being accepted by a record company a year later, which excuses the poor sound quality. For the record, the Shylock trio (keyboards, guitar / bass, drums) had gone to seek inspiration in the wild valley of Gialorgue, perched between 2000 and 3000 meters above sea level, in the Mercantour park. They composed and arranged the titles in the church of St Dalmas le Selvage, the nearest village. The front and back of the cover represent these sources of inspiration. Many have compared Shylock with King Crimson, because of the fantastic guitar playing of Frédéric L'Épée and the use of multiple bizarre percussions (tubes, bells, musical saw, seized roll, etc.) of drummer André Fisichella that make you think to James Muir. On this subject, there is one that I still have not identified! A sort of noise which resembles the clicking of a freewheel on a bicycle but which is not, since this percussion is found at a given moment, thrown to the ground like a bag. Does somebody have an idea ? Well, I still only half agree with this comparison because Shylock offers rather repetitive instrumental music with slow developments where the influence of classical music predominates. This is not the case with King Crimson, sung music, more influenced by Jazz and rock. (The closest track would be The Devil's Triangle.) Another comparison comes to mind. It has not been raised by anyone so far. These long repetitive sequences with multiple variations and a rich sound register remind me of what Mike Oldfield proposed a few years earlier. Sorry if the comparison seems incongruous to you, but I want to!

In my life as a music lover, Gialorgue has established itself over the years as an essential piece in the history of French and international prog. And the poor sound quality will not prevent me from giving it a well deserved five stars! (After all, we didn't care for the Bird & Buildings albums ...)

Report this review (#2474425)
Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2020 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars One of the many French progressive rock bands that existed during the second half of the 1970s, SHYLOCK along with Carpe Diem existed around the same time in the Nice area of France and developed their own respective uniqueness within the context of symphonic prog. Unlike Ange, Atoll and other similarly minded bands that looked towards Genesis, Camel and even Yes for inspiration across the channel, SHYLOCK consisted of three top notch musicians who not only worshipped the virtuosity of Yes but the progressive workouts of King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Henry Cow, Van der Graaf Generator, and Robert Wyatt.

Although a mere trio of André Fisichella (drums, percussion), Frédéric l'Épée (guitars, bass) and Didier Lustig (keyboards), these three guys crafted music something like the French version of Emerson, Lake and Palmer with classical underpinnings brought to symphonic prog rock life with wailing guitar solos in the Robert Fripp style accompanied by Bill Bruford-esque drumming and Van der Graaf Generator styled moody keyboard darkness. The band released a mere two albums with this debut GIALORGUES having been released in 1977. The album has been a big ticket item in collectors' circles for decades but luckily has been released on CD with bonus tracks by the Musea label.

The all instrumental GIALORGUES consists of a mere three tracks, two long ones and one short intermission. The opening "Le Quatrième" goes on a classical music ride with the melodic tinkling keys providing the basis for which the Crimsonian guitar dissonance and technical jazz drumming workouts follow. Providing instantly lovable melodic hooks the light and airy nature of the motifs bely the dark forbidding cover art. The latter part of the 1970s was a pivotal period for many symphonic prog bands who were developing sounds that would become neo-prog and SHYLOCK certainly seems to have been in on that one especially with the first track.

The short middle track "Le Sixième" is basically a near 4 minute military march on percussion with a hefty guitar soaring over the bass and drums. The keys are fairly muted on this one while the guitar and bass go into a King Crimson frenzy in the vein of the "Red" album. For a short track this one packs a serious punch as the music increases in tempo and once joined in by the atmospheric keys goes full rock with hefty guitar leads. Except for a small moment of chaos, the military march percussive drive doesn't miss a beat. An extra energetic track considering it's some sort of intermission but the biggest treat is the closing track.

"Le Cinquième" sprawls on for nearly 19 minutes and begins with a droning keyboard stabbing session and various percussion workouts. This track is extremely reliant on the wild and dissonant tones and musical textures from King Crimson but has also been cited as one of the major influences for more modern bands like Anglagard who have been huge SHYLOCK fans. This track doesn't hold back and allows the three musicians to showcase their extraordinary talent. Not only do they provide some finger blistering workouts but master the art of mood swings, build ups and satisfying climaxes. This is also the track where the Henry Cow influences become clear as the band deftly walks a tight rope act between the melodic classical underpinnings of symphonic prog and the more adventurous path into the world of avant-prog and experimentalism.

It never ceases to amaze me how many brilliant bands came out of the 1970s with no end in sight! It's a bottomless well of plenty and i'm all the more grateful for it. SKYLOCK was the real deal and for those who love some meaty chops in their prog with the virtuosity of Yes, the expansive emotional rollercoaster of King Crimson and the oddball timings of Gentle Giant and Van der Graaf Generator then you cannot go wrong with SKYLOCK who crafted two excellent albums before going on hiatus. The CD rerelease adds five bonus tracks that were recorded in 1981 however they are less experimental and more like material off of Camel's "The Snow Goose." Perhaps GIALORGUES falls short of a long lost masterpiece but honestly it's not so overly far away from being one.

4.5 stars and i'm tempted to round up but i can't quite do that

Report this review (#2756686)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2022 | Review Permalink
5 stars An absolute must have for any rare prog collector / listener!

If you're into instrumentals, and not letting lyrics tell you what the song is about then this is for you! It feels like the music is taking you places once you put in on and start to listen.

I'm rating this five stars maybe because there's some personal bias as far as the good times this reminds me of, but I feel caliber of the music is well deserving.

It's just too bad the band didn't make any more recordings (after the island of fever) into the 80s and beyond, that would have been interesting to hear.

Report this review (#2965846)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2023 | Review Permalink

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