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Nemo - Présages (2018) CD (album) cover



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kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Since Nemo burst onto the French progressive rock scene with their second album, 'Présages' in 2003, they have made a name for themselves as being one of the most dynamic and important bands around. However, their 2015 album 'Coma' was the last one, and the band went on hiatus. Guitarist and singer Jean Pierre Louveton kept working and releasing some great albums, but no-one was sure if the band would ever return. The band came back together to perform a one-off gig in Madrid, and at some point, the conversation turned to the fact that 2018 was the fifteenth anniversary of their breakthrough album. How could they best celebrate that? Somehow the decision was made to completely re-record the album with fifteen years of added experience and make it available with an additional song and a sixteen-page booklet. Guillaume Fontaine (keyboards, vocals) and Jean Baptiste Itier (drums) played on the original alongside JPL, and they were all joined by new bassist Lionel B. Guichard.

For some strange reason I didn't come across Nemo until their fourth album, so actually don't have the original to which to compare this, so have to treat it as a totally new piece of work. But given it was recorded in 2018, isn't a "simple remaster", then this is probably the best way to do it anyway. JPL and Guillaume were founder members of the band back in 1999, and although they haven't been playing a great deal together recently, behind them there are the many hours of shared time in rehearsal spaces, concert platforms and studios, and it shows. The ideas bounce off each other, with a piano and acoustic guitar sometimes being even more dynamic and powerful than rock guitar, and there is plenty of that as well. Lionel has slotted right in and has a wonderful warm sound from his bass, which may not have the punch of some but contains a depth and sustain which fits in perfectly with the often-staccato approach of Jean Baptiste.

They bring in classical moments (I love the marimba on the third part of "La Mort Du Scorpion"), jazz, progressive rock and very hard rock guitar, bringing them all together seamlessly. This album may be 15 years old, but with the re-recording it is fresh, vibrant and essential. Let's just hope the band decide to record another new album, as music and performances such as this deserve to be heard.

Report this review (#2184516)
Posted Saturday, April 20, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars NEMO is a group formed in the early 2000s, dissolved in 2015, leaving his songwriter JPL recognition or hope for a better readability. This is her second baby (2003) emerges in 2018, remixed, re-refined and with an original of more than 13 minutes. The atmosphere of the album is still in its pre-disaster texts, harbinger of a world that is inevitably harmful, tracing these setbacks and featuring different adventures. At orchestration, sound longer dusted by putting different musical breaks much better value. In voice level, JPL made an effort, perhaps the age? But his voice ... which matured on some tracks still is the weak point of the album and takes some of the aura given off by the CD.

"The last wave" of piano school to start this piece with this symphony still mixing, acoustic, choirs, and neo metal explosion with beautiful solos, an angry guitar, hypnotic atmospheres with convoluted drawer looking dreamy emotions a life-size fresco, one must 15 years later. "Generator" grooviest (more energetic and nervous), more hard with a basic riff and effective, however with more vintage organ and guitar that spurt. "On the grave of the Phoenix" with its bells input xylophone, a fat riff that recalls that JPL has concocted a parallel group in his time with WOLFSPRING, title drawer with slow prog climb, then solo ZZ TOP and escape with purely enjoyable synth and complex drawer climates. 3 follows chained songs reworked into a single title "death scorpion" for an acoustic tour with clear intro causing a swirling after almost folk, acoustic guitar break may recall that of PAYSSAN brothers MINIMUM VITAL is downright always so beautiful especially as I had listened there less than a year without knowing that I was going to chronicle; 3rd party more instrumental, symphonic, jazz-prog with drift, SF with its sound effects, as nervous afterwards and that is worth seeing for its complexity. An approach to new heavy, hard, scabby, passing well to finish this triptych! "New Crusades" 5-part epic offers a room where you can get lost so many moods change with the minutes; Attention, guitar solos, synth will succeed, or mate during the 18 '; it is on the edge of jazz. As for "the worst is future" prog technique, nervous, more nervous yet it offers room also varied with a rhythmic and instrumental agree more spaces; only downside, too predictable texts (texts also beautiful!) that break a little the musical atmosphere.

Varied progressive rock, this is what always NEMO, stamped French group with different layers of instruments, showing there's talent too little known composer of this unparalleled. The duration of around 77 minutes, the compounds provide an overview of what can be done in the rock with a song verse-chorus and developments, drawers, convolutions of sometimes acoustic parts, sometimes hard, sometimes symphonic with breaks various to create separate universes. So for prog fans the French, do not hesitate and engulf you, immerse squarely in the world of NEMO.

Report this review (#2310397)
Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Given the notable buzz and acclaim herein (and I would presume elsewhere) for Nemo's 2006 studio album Si, Partie 1, I had begun there not too long ago. Then, given it's me we're talking about, I wanted to go chronologically. Glad I figured the releases out before reviewing the likely "incorrect" version of this, their second album. This is the 2018 re-recorded version of their 2003 sophomore album. "Présages" is French for "Omens". And with that... I'm ready! [Been far too long since I've given myself enough time or felt myself readied enough to even review an album. My Queue, as I call it, is far too long. Pray for me haha. Please.]

Our album begins with the open, if not lightly symphonic "La derniere vague". Definitely plenty to hear in this, from Neo-Proggy synth-padding to the very modern rolling bass. The guitar is in stark contrast to the light string pads underneath (at times, it's even a tad muddy, unfortunately). Some very cool rhythmic tension happens as the general intensity increases here. Feels like music from Sonic The Hedgehog or something (that bright neo-classical thing?). Ah yes... The French! haha. Something sort of Post-Progressive here, too, as it were. To be honest, sort of on that note, the verses are a tad wanting. Nice synth solo. Really good things here, but I'll wait... I was going to say it for the opener, but there's elements that remind me of Muse(?) with "Generateur" (that heavy guitar and the super slinky bass in the context of a Post-Prog world). It sort of reminds me, too, in tone, of Italian Prog. I'm conflicted haha. The music has really shown its age thus far.

Really beautifully juxtaposed is the soft intro of "Sur la tombe du phenix". [In all seriousness here] Light, Runescape-ready "mallet percussion" (keys, apparently) is met with strong cello(?) strikes. Nice, natural build here. And a very cool main riff! Somewhat metallic, but perfectly, harmonically ominous. Also, sort of how I view Porcupine Tree, Nemo is clearly a band that is utterly aware of many different popular musical idioms and ready to (in the most positive form of the word) exploit them. They mix the aforementioned Post-Prog of Muse and Neo-Prog of bands like Landmarq and Pallas with Alt-Metal affectations, and then here there are apparent Country influences? Is anyone tracking with me?... Regardless, very cool. Very successful fusions of all these things on "Sur...".

Then we're onto our three-parter, "La mort du scorpion", beginning with the light, introductory "Soleil". What it introduces is the bright, classic-sounding "L'oeil du cyclope". There's little guitar and piano trills that weirdly reminded me of GG, but these were quick, fleeting moments, not representative of the whole. [There goes that guy who walks into downtown past my house every day, chewing his cud as he does... Whatever it is that he's chewing, he's always chewing it haha.] Beautiful stuff, especially as it dies down to a droning, bucolic scene with a pedaled piano, its melody matched with the sheen of acoustic guitar. This reminds me greatly of the wondrous Styx track "Sing for the Day"! Interesting! And love it! Best thus far. Our third and final part to the mini-epic is "La mort du scorpion", I guess the title-sub-track of the track haha? Crazy difference in tone from the last, as the theme of death would rightly imply. Those wonderful "mallets" return and the guitar sings a sorrowful tune. Pretty fantastic, even in its quietness, really. Dramatic swells as it crescendos to the end.

Entering the original finale to the album, we have the nearly-18-minute epic "Les nouvelles croisades". This intro is literally... "YYZ" by Rush, yeah? I was a little unsure about the guitar-work on this album at the start, but like a few other tracks before this'n, the riffs are just awesome! Oooooh and the bridge section after minute 11! Very cool. A little jazzy? Anyways, epic indeed. Finally finally, we have the bonus track closer "Le pire est avenir". Very upbeat number, but still with that slight tension and ominous feeling. Oh, yeah, they're French; I forgot /s. Pretty cool track. Their vocals are pretty much definitely my least favorite element (throughout). Maybe it would mean something else, something more, to me if I knew French (or if it were in English haha)... I'm skeptical. I'm a man of melody and intrigue. What can you do? haha. The music generally does save this one for the "Good" category, though. One of the saving graces is the groovy, heavy bridge here starting around the 7-minute mark.

And that's it! Rough start, in my opinion, but a more-than-solid release overall!

True Rate: 3.75/5.00

Report this review (#2775362)
Posted Thursday, July 7, 2022 | Review Permalink

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