Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


XII Alfonso

Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

XII Alfonso The Lost Frontier  album cover
2.86 | 31 ratings | 6 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review
from partners
Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hadrian's wall overture (5:08)
2. Hello you (4:18)
3. Mist (5:06)
4. Minstrel's tale (8:27)
5. The ghost's song (4:03)
6. Lazy day in Haltwhistle (3:32)
7. Back to Northumberland (3:33)
8. Edges of empire (2:29)
9. Diving into the coal womb (2:29)
10. Breathing, scarcely (5:49)
11. Wheels of change (4:58)
12. Another day in Haltwhistle (2:17)
13. Heath (5:14)
14. Revival (3:50)
15. Thirteen winds (5:06)
16. Anthem (4:48)

Total Time: 71:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Philippe Claerhout / guitars
- François Claerhout / keyboards programming
- Stephane Merlin / keyboards
- Caroline Lafue / vocals
- Mickey Simmonds / keyboards
- Laure Oltra / texts
- Bernard Auzerol / bass
- Laurent Dupont / bass
- Dan Ar Bras / guitar
- Thierry Volto / drums
- Caroline Monteil / flute
- Laurent Sindicq / bass
- Thierry Moreno / drums, percussion

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
Edit this entry

Buy XII ALFONSO The Lost Frontier Music

More places to buy XII ALFONSO music online Buy XII ALFONSO & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

XII ALFONSO The Lost Frontier ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (55%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

XII ALFONSO The Lost Frontier reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Well, 16 tracks, performed by 14 musicians and a running time of 71 minutes, that sounds interesting. This is the debut album (1996) from the French band XII Alfonso, the inspiration is from the Hadrian Wall that was build in Northern England during the Roman Empire. Their music reminds me of the acoustic side from Anthony Phillips and the folky climates from Iona (female vocals and bagpipes), blended with delicate waves by Stephane Merlin and .. Mickey Simmonds (once from Camel fame). Most compositions are mellow but some up-tempo songs (including strong soli on electric guitar) and a wide range of instruments gives this CD a pleasant and very melodic sound.
Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 'The Lost Frontier' is the first album of the French band 'XII Alfonso', led by the founding brothers Phillippe (guitars) and François Clairhout (keyboards programming), with guest musicians among them the well known French ( Britain) guitarist and band leader 'Dan Ar Bras'.The record is a concept album inspired by the 'Wall Of Hadrien'.

The album is mostly instrumental apart from three vocal tracks featuring singer Caroline Lafue and evoking 'Mostly Autumn'. The tracks are linked by sound snippets that evoke the history of the 'Wall Of Hadrien' and it's region : riding horses,roman soldiers in a tavern (?),a descent into a coal mine, a train, evoking together with the titles more or less the history of this part of Scotland.

'XII Alfonso' plays on this record a gentle form of melodic prog with celtic influences.The melodic material is quite poor, most tracks lack tension and over the top the programmed synth layers sound thin and cheasy, especially the bag pipes 'imitation' on 'Back to Northumberland'. The best moments on the record are the acoustic tracks like 'Lazy day in Haltwhistle ' or ' Another day in Haltwhistle' for solo acoustic guitar, reminding Anthony Phillipps athmospheric playing or 'Wheels of change' with a jazz influenced solo lead guitar and nice flute playing. The weakest tracks are 'Heath ' & 'Revival' approaching new-age muzac.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars XII ALFONSO's story dates back in 1988,when they were found in Bordeaux by Francois and Phillipe Clarhout,Stephane Merlin and Laurent Cindicq.Between 1988 and 1992 they wrote exclusively instrumental music and they even recorded a concept album around Marco Polo's life.In 1993 they recorded their first single ''Costa Brava coast'',before visiting Scotland and UK and being influenced by the ruins of Hadrian's Wall in the town of Haltwhistle,they decide to create a concept album related with this theme.With the help of several musicians (among them Mickey Simmons and Dan Ar Bras) and singers and despite the line-up problems,XII ALFONSO release ''The lost frontier'' in 1996.

The music is pretty much laid back with scarce electric outbursts and mostly relaxed themes with an intense Celtic flavor.Their sound is pretty diverse and varied in these 16 short compositions,going from melodic electric passages to piano-based instrumentals and light keyboard-driven symphonic introductions.There is a heavy OLFIELD-ian atmposhere dominating the album with all these different instruments and influences mixed together in a generally soft progressive package.Actually the guitar work (and not only) reminds me of MINIMUM VITAL,though in a much more melodic presentation.What is quite clear are the strong doses of pleasant Celtic melodies (with some fine blending of acoustic parts with accordeon,pipes and flutes) and the tons of elegant acoustic guitars,trying to create a nostalgic climate.Notice also the ethereal female vocals,which are one of the highest points of this release.

Lovers of electric sounds will be pretty much dissapointed by ''The lost frontier''.However,both fans of MIKE OLDFIELD and laid-back but almost symphonic music will propably like this a lot.An interesting first step for the band.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This debut album is quite?long to listen to. It has its ups for sure, but hey! It is difficult to be fully concentrated throughout these seventy minutes of this album. After a couple of songs, I just wonder: what's the point or interest.

I can't find lots of thrilling moments in here. The whole of this album sounds quite flat, with little expression. Even the few vocal passages are not helping too much. It is just an average breakthrough. Some Hackett moments ("Lazy Day In Haltwhistle") are of course enjoyable but won't make it my day.

No great songs, no highlights, no passion. This album is just a succession of average prog tracks: decent acoustic guitar, decent keyboards, decent? you name it! But, frankly, I just expect more than decent from a professional band.

Inspiration seems out of steam after a short while and I am quite reluctant in terms of rating this album. Five of out of ten. Reduced to two stars. No more.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Almost seventy two minutes of instrumental symphonic prog bordering to new age music is far too much for me. The use of fourteen musicians also speaks volumes about the level of ambitions from this band on this, their debut album. The lyrics about the Borders and Norththumberland district in Eng ... (read more)

Report this review (#202074) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, February 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album turned out to be a lot less than I had expected from the artwork. The songs are pleasant and unobtrusive. When Caroline LaFue is singing, I am reminded of mellow Mostly Autumn and Magenta at their simplest. The music is extremely well played,mostly because the songs are quite simpl ... (read more)

Report this review (#83636) | Posted by BGrosjean | Thursday, July 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of XII ALFONSO "The Lost Frontier "

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives