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HUIS

Neo-Prog • Canada


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Huis picture
Huis biography
Founded in Québec, Canada in 2009

Huis ("home doors" in french, and "house" in dutch) is a five member musical project from Québec officially formed by Pascal LAPIERRE (keyboards) and Michel JONCAS (bass) at the end of 2009, after an oustanding and inspiring trip in the Netherlands.

At that time, they decided to put on tape (read hard drive!) some ideas they had in mind since a long time. Over time, three other talented musicians, William REGNIER (drums), Sylvain DESCOTEAUX (vocals) and Michel ST-PERE, this last musician from the band MYSTERY (guitars) joined the band, each one bringing a special touch to Huis' sound.

The music is a well crafted progressive rock with a symphonic touch and the use of Hammond, Moog and Mellotron takes us back to the old prog rock sound of the 70's. The guitar playing of St-Pere brings a big influence of the Neo-Prog band MYSTERY and many others Neo-Prog bands that put the melody and vocals upfront with strong compositions skills. The band has released is first studio album in January 2014, " Desptie Guardian Angels".

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HUIS discography


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HUIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 197 ratings
Despite Guardian Angels
2014
3.87 | 144 ratings
Neither In Heaven
2016
3.82 | 99 ratings
Abandoned
2019

HUIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HUIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HUIS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HUIS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

HUIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Abandoned by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.82 | 99 ratings

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Abandoned
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Canadian band Huis are back with their third album, and have resolved their issues with not having a keyboard player by bringing on board Johnny Maz who had guested on a number on 'Neither In Heaven'. The rest of the line-up is the same as it has been all three albums, namely Sylvain Descôteaux (vocals, keyboards, piano, vocal arrangements), Michel St-Père (guitar, keyboards, mixing), Michel Joncas (bass, bass pedals, keyboards, backing vocals) and William Régnier (drums, percussion, keyboards and acoustic guitar). This is a direct continuation from the last album in many ways, taking the styles from that one and showing just how much control they have within the genre. Lush and comforting, they provide cut through with string guitars, great bass and powerful drums.

A couple of guests have also been used to good effect, and the additional piano and female vocals on "We Are Not Alone" make a huge difference. Sylvain has a wonderfully melodic and emotional vocal style reminiscent of John Wetton combined with Steve Hogarth, and the music combines with it to tell a story which is always entrancing and exciting. The band operates on many levels, so while it can be gentle and relaxing in the rhythm section and keyboards, Michel can be really rocking out, or he could pull himself right into the background so he can barely be heard. It is one of those albums when it easy to let the music wash over the listener like a crashing breaker, but one which is warm and inviting as opposed to crushing and chilling. Follow any particular musician and you will be surprised at just how much work is being undertaken, and the variety of styles on offer. However, this is an album where each musician really knows their part and locks in with the others to provide music which is always interesting, always accessible, and just a damn fine listen.

This is the third album from Huis, and yet again they have produced something which is enjoyable from the very first note to the very last.

 Neither In Heaven by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.87 | 144 ratings

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Neither In Heaven
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars 'Neither In Heaven' was the second album from Canadian band Huis, following on from 2014's 'Despite Guardian Angels'. That was released as quintet, but in the intervening time keyboard player Pascal Lapierre departed, so for this album the guys brought in four different keyboard players to help out. The rest of the line-up is the same, namely Sylvain Descôteaux (vocals, keyboards, piano, vocal arrangements), Michel St-Père (guitar, keyboards, mixing), Michel Joncas (bass, bass pedals, keyboards, backing vocals) and William Régnier (drums, percussion, keyboards and acoustic guitar). I really enjoyed the debut album, but this album unfortunately arrived for review while I was stuck in the bowels of compiling my books, so was relegated to the "will review later" pile. That pile is still way too big, but the arrival of a new album in 2019 provided the requisite kick I needed, so finally I am writing about it some three years after I first got it. Boy have I been missing out.

I have long been a fan of Michel's guitar playing, first coming across Mystery more than 20 years ago, and following their career with interest ever since. Here he does allow himself to riff when the time is right, but never to the detriment to the music, and it is the combination of lush and sumptuous arrangements and wonderful melodies that makes this a very special album indeed. Symphonic neo prog with real balls and no wimping out, but generally carried along on a wave of held-down keyboard chords, some real in your face bass (with some wonderful diverse techniques, I could listen to a track of just isolated Michel Joncas for hours), string drums, real guitars and then at the forefront of this we have the wonderful vocals of Sylvain.

This is prog as a comfort blanket, cuddly and warming, keeping the listener safe from the rest of the world. But just when there is the faint possibility of it turning into something twee with too much sugar then Michel just opens up again to remind us that whatever style of music they are playing, at heart they are a rock band. Just listen to the instrumental "Insane" to get an idea of what I mean, only 5 ½ minutes long it is a fine example of control, passion, restraint and bombast, and then they follow it up with the far more delicate "Even Angels Sometimes Fall" which allows Sylvain to show us just what he can do, yet also contains some simply superb drum fills. There are times when I am reminded of mid-Seventies Genesis, particularly with the keyboards, and the result is a very special album indeed which is well worth investigating.

 Abandoned by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.82 | 99 ratings

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Abandoned
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars "Huis" is a Neo-prog band formed in 2009 in Quebec, Canada created by Pascal LaPierre on keyboards and Michel Joncas on bass. The band has released 3 full studio albums since 2014, including the album "Abandoned" which was released in May of 2019. The current line up consists of Sylvain Descoteaux on vocals and keyboards; Michel St-Pere on guitars; Michel Joncas on bass; William Regnier on drums and percussion; and Johnny Maz on keyboards. Jean Pageau also appears throughout the album as a guest on flute. The album deals with loss, abandonment and sorrow.

The album begins with the 8+ minute title track "Abandoned". It opens the album with a lush and textured sound with vocals beginning early with thoughtful lyrics. The vocals are supported by soft keys and guitar. At 3 minutes, there is an increase in the intensity and the track gathers power in the next verses. The overall sound, music and vocals, are quite appealing At 6 minutes, there is a move to complex drumming and some nice soloing from the synths. "The Giant Awakens" is introduced by acapella vocals after which a more upbeat track begins. The vocal on the verses is not quite as appealing as the previous track, but the short harmonized chorus that started the track repeats throughout. When the song slows a bit as it goes on, vocal delivery improves. The faster tempo returns and you get an organ and guitar solo.

"Caducee" (around 13 minutes) starts with a soft piano intro and then the entire band comes in playing the same theme, and then they introduce another theme which develops over several minutes before mellower vocals come in. There is a slight tinge of jazz fusion in the softer parts which trade places with the slightly more intense main instrumental theme. Some nice guitar work comes in later with a mid-tempo guitar solo. The last several minutes, the song becomes more ballad like with the vocals backed by a piano-led background. "Stolen" follows with another long track at 12 minutes. A march style rhythm is established with pensive guitars and a pulsing low synth. Sudden intensity comes out when the full band starts up with a progressive section led by the synth. Vocals come in after a few minutes. The sound is definitely much more progressive on this track. After a guitar and synth solo, things slow down to a pensive style with the flute playing while a new vocal melody starts. This beautiful section goes on for several minutes and develops quite nicely. A mid tempo section with piano and synth pushes things forward also allowing for some short solos that get filled with piano in between each solo. It ends with vocals and flute in an atmospheric ending.

"Solitude" follows with a shorter 3 minute instrumental track which is led by a slow guitar solo backed by synth layers and percussive effects that gains in emotional value as it continues. "Chasing Morning Glory" goes back to a longer form. Starting soft, it pushes for intensity, but calms again before a moderately slow rhythm starts with pensive vocals. Later, processed vocals against a simple keyboard backing soften things even more. After a guitar solo, keys push for a faster tempo, and processed vocal layers give the track some depth. Later, the slower tempo returns and the vocal melody becomes more emotionally charged. It wraps up the last few minutes in a driving moderate tempo pushed by guitar riffs and an atmospheric guitar solo and a final vocal section. "Haunting Days" begins somewhat heavier with guitar and synth/keyboard riffs playing in progressive, start/stop patterns before settling into a nice driving heaviness. All of the instruments get to have their say in this dynamic instrumental.

"We Are Not Alone" starts with a piano/flute led ballad style and vocals start early on. The 2nd verse brings in the rhythm section. After this verse, the guitar builds intensity with a solo. Later, as things mellow out again, soft guitar and flute bring in the last verse. This track does follow a more standard song pattern, but the melody is quite lovely and so are the themes, and it builds for a powerful guitar solo at the end. "Oude Kerk III" is the last track on the album running for about 9 minutes. The atmospheric intro builds tension using pulsing synth and wordless choral vocals, and then suddenly the band kicks in with a tense guitar riff with a non-standard meter. The feel of the track is much darker than previous tracks, even when the vocals start. The melody goes back to a more progressive feel. Things alternate from major to minor keys as the track lightens up just to grow dark again.

This album as plenty of great moments that far outweigh the weaker moments, in fact, it is strong enough that the weaker moments might not even be noticeable. There is plenty of progressiveness on the album, and even the more standard sections do not abase themselves to standard rock completely. The sound is definitely Neo-prog, yet it is also mostly accessible throughout, and it's appeal will be very apparent pretty much from the first listening. There is a good amount of depth to the sound and the tracks are quite well developed. It's a great album and I think most progressive fans will love it. There is also plenty of time for some emotional and great soloing among the keys and guitars. Great effort! 4 stars.

 Neither In Heaven by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.87 | 144 ratings

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Neither In Heaven
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Huis is a band project assembled by Michel St. Pere, the man behind the heavy neo-prog band Mystery, and "Neither in Heaven" is the band's second album. As with Mystery, Huis on this album follow the course of a heavy prog band with lots of synthesizer solos and abundant use of a heavy guitar sound. Similarities between Huis and Mystery might be easy to come by, and I wondered why St. Pere would want to run two bands of similar style at the same time. However, I haven't heard the latest Mystery album so I can't say if that band has changed at all.

There are several points worthy of mention regarding this album. First, I have to mention singer Sylvain Descoteaux who also handles piano and keyboards, one of four members in the band to have his hands on the keys! Sylvain can sing with a voice that agilely slides up to higher registers for Gillan-like howls and screams as in "Synesthesia" and "The Man on the Hill" but delivers melody and more soothing notes when required. You might soon clue into his French- Canadian accent, though this only adds charm to the vocals in my opinion.

Although many songs feature a heavier guitar with riffs that rival Arena, the album includes plenty of lighter passages either nestled within songs like "Synesthesia" or making up the bulk of the song in "Memories". I especially enjoy some of the piano with the final piano instrumental concluding the album being a favourite. "The Red Gypsy" begins with some lovely acoustic guitar and "Entering the Gallery" is a tease with a light and beautiful piano introduction that soon gives way to the heavier side of Huis. Three instrumental tracks "Neither in Heaven", "Insane" and "I Held" give the band opportunity to show off their instrumental skills free of the burden of lyrics.

This is an album written and performed by seasoned musicians, and I often find myself marveling at the perfection that has gone into the creation and recording of the songs. Still, depending on my mood, I may also feel the denser atmosphere of the heavier parts is not the best way to present the music of the album or that the same audio density is detracting from the lighter, prettier music. In general though, It's difficult to find fault with this album and at times during the day, the music may begin playing freely in my head. Worthy of four stars for certain.

 Neither In Heaven by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.87 | 144 ratings

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Neither In Heaven
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Huis - this canadian/dutch neo/symphonic prog band is present with a second offer Neither in heaven, issued at canadian label Digital unicorn in april 2016. Well, what we have here is a good towards great neo prog album with hints of symphonic prog all done in a beautiful and elegant manner. I was hooked from first listen, at same level with previous album and in places even better, and aswell little more edgy in parts, but with all that the guitar parts are excellent overall. Very nice and elegant duels between musicians, I think the forte track is Synesthesia - this is impressive, really tight musicianship, excellent ideas, every musician involved here is sure what is doing and done very well in the end - the guitar parts from the end of the tune are marvelous, remind me here and there with another canadian neo band Red Sand or with norwegians The Windmill, very well performed passages, no wonder that Michel St-Père is a teacher on guitar. and worth 5 stars alone this track. Also two instrumental pieces grace the release, Insane and I held. Insane featuring keybordist Gerben Klazinga from dutch neo prog band Knight Area, very nice tune. I also find the bass little in front then previous album, but is a good thing, everything is done with taste and in elegant manner. As I said the music overall is well crafted , with lots of keyboards and guitars aswell maybe in some parts they remind me of Mystery because of St-Pere guitar touch but with hints of aformentioned bands above. Anyway strong compostions under neo/symphonic prog flavour. The art work and overall package is great to, digipak format. So, from me 4 stars, definatly one of the better albums of this year. I like this band and for sure I will check their next releases.
 Neither In Heaven by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.87 | 144 ratings

BUY
Neither In Heaven
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars After a promising debut, the band is back with his second album. There is no less than four keyboards musicians and that should give you a idea to what to expect in the overall sound of the music. The presence of the keyboards with some nice melody lines is what we have after the intro song. The melody is building slowly with multi-part vocals. The tempo get faster with the guitar of Michel St-Père of Mystery matching the keyboards at the end. In the song "Insane", the bass has the opportunity to shine with a keyboard solo. "The Man on the Hill" is heavy and sound like a copy of Arena style, the sound of the vocals are very close to Paul Manzini. The guitar is very busy here. In "Memories", the melody is carried by the keyboards again that are shining before a David Gilmour's guitar passage at the end. The album end with another take on the Arena's epic type of song that starts like a ballad but continue with some big symphonic parts. Those who enjoy the Neo Prog bands with a heavy edge and lot of progressive stuff will have to check this one out. The album sounds heavier than the first one and the production is clear which makes this more enjoyable to listen. Only the strait forward song "Red Gypsy" doesn't have the same quality of the rest of the album,
 Neither In Heaven by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.87 | 144 ratings

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Neither In Heaven
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by shaunch

4 stars Is this a change of approach for this Canadian outfit?

I was looking forward to this second album from Huis after recently giving their first effort time to make sense. I was impressed with their mix of light and dark with the obvious leanings towards "Mystery" and possibly "Arena". I came across "Neither in Heaven" on Spotify and settled down in anticipation. This not what I was expecting!

The title track is nothing but an introduction without revealing too much but when the 13.09 "Synthesesia" kicks in we are confronted with a much more 80's style heavy metal approach. There is more of an "Arena" sound here and I would say is better than the aforementioned with more twists and turns but with the heaviness of "Judas Priest". Ther is even a Rob Halford shriek towards the end as the music picks up towards the finale. This style is continued into the next track which is instrumental but it never reaches the heights of "Oude Kerk 1" from the previous album. It seems that the guitar playing from Michel St-Pere is not the driving force this time. This could be intentional to take the sound away from his main project.

If that was all a surprise, Track 4 takes us into sugary sweet territory. Not sure what to make of this effort, it kind off reveals itself in the second half of the song with some melodic guitar playing behind the voice of Sylvain but not quite. The next two tracks run into each other to make an 11 minute epic "The man on the hill", and once I had resigned myself to a totally different album to the one I was expecting, it is possibly the best part of the album. The Judas Priest sound is back again, the voice of Sylvain now sounds more like Paul Manzi of Arena (I thought he was a guest at one point) except with more depth and the riff that keeps creeping in takes me back to Black Sabbath in the Dio era. Not bad actually, I would give this 9/10. This is followed by another low point, the track "Red Gypsy" which although played well , reminded me of Madonna or Gloria Estefan, not my cup of tea. The album then moves back to the sugary sweet with the track "Memories" which is superior to track 4 and could be a grower. The album moves into more recognised territory on the final track "Nor the earth" which builds up slowly with a melodic feel to an epic lush sound and strong vocals, this is another high point

In summary, I wanted to give this 5 stars but I probably should settle for 3. It is a departure from the first album but once you take it for what it is, which I and possibly even the band haven't figured out yet, it has some enjoyable moments, melodic, epic and at times makes you nod your head and stomp your foot. 4 slightly confused stars out of 5.

 Despite Guardian Angels by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.87 | 197 ratings

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Despite Guardian Angels
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars Here's your typical Neo-Prog band with a emphasis on long symphonic developments. We can find plenty of good melodies, nice arrangements and nothing very complicated. The sound is in the mould of bands like Moria Falls and Mystery. In fact, the guitarist of Mystery is playing here. The vocals are just as enjoyable as the music. There's a nice balance between keyboards and guitars with a lush production and the use of some vintage keyboards sounds. The song "Little Anne" is a nice ballad that shows a different atmosphere than the rest of the album with a strong influence from the legendary Harmonium. It's not for the most adventurous listeners, but for those who enjoy melodic progressive rock music that offer strong compositions without getting in the excess of a pure symphonic album. For a debut, it's pretty impressive, let's hope for some more music from this band in the future.
 Despite Guardian Angels by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.87 | 197 ratings

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Despite Guardian Angels
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars When I came across the debut album from this Canadian band I was immediately extremely interested to see that the guitarist is none other than Michel St-P're from Mystery. I have been racking my brains but can't think of another band he has played with, and he is here as a full member, not a guest, so it shows just how invested he is in this. Huis ('home doors' in French, and 'house' in Dutch) was formed by Pascal Lapierre and Michel Joncas in 2009, after a trip to Holland. They soon found other musicians to make this band a reality, and as well as Michel it features William Regnier and Sylvain Desc'teaux. Musically here we have an album that is straddling the worlds of neo-prog and melodic rock, which undoubtedly will upset a lot of purists, but when it comes to listening to music for sheer pleasure then this ticks the boxes for me.

William and Michel J keep the bottom end good and tight, while Pascal is a strong keyboard player who keeps to the role mostly of providing strong rhythmic accompaniment with the occasional flourish, but the standouts here are singer Sylvain, who has a wonderful melodic voice and Michel S. His guitarwork is the strand that pulls this album together, always fluid and emotional, and these elements combined with great songs means that this is an album that non- progheads will enjoy as much as those who think that 7/8 is much more than just a mathematical fraction. This is a very strong debut indeed, and I look forward to the next one with great interest. www.unicorndigital.net

 Despite Guardian Angels by HUIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.87 | 197 ratings

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Despite Guardian Angels
Huis Neo-Prog

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

3 stars I am not a great fan of Neo-Prog. You know, bands that tried to imitate Genesis with some success. Marillion have produced some very pleasing stuff, but then in turn, they themselves were being copied, or imitated as peers. Just how far can we stretch the same musical piece of rubber? Neo-Neo- Prog? (I guess, we've already being at it for years without making a clear distinction?)

The album title here "Despite Guardian Angels" was very close to put me off in the first place. Being a spiritual person, I felt that if one failed to honour those guardian angels, then one could not complain about them going elsewhere. Had it not been for the odd, positive review, I would have given a complete miss to this effort.

Now, onto the music - if only briefly. The album starts off very strongly. Both the instruments and the voice are pleasing and convincing at the start. Powerful playing that holds promise. Close to Genesis, even Camel at times it appears to be credible work. Till you feel that there is something missing. It's called, subtlety. You know, those fleeting seconds where you'd be tempted to add a couple of half notes - if only in your mind - that would make the piece more whole. The effort is worthy of encouragement, but far from what I would be pleased to hear too often. The second half of this piece is less impressive. Short of calling it filler material, the band has just lost me there.

Pretty good stuff, probably worth a listen, but not something I'd miss in my collection. Many missed opportunities tend to spoil my fun. Nearly a 4, but not quite.

Thanks to psarros for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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