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Machiavel - Jester CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.76 | 99 ratings

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4 stars Machiavel - Jester (1977)

Late Belgian symphonic prog of early neo-prog? We'll all agree on the W&W-era Genesis influences in the keyboard department, probably on some Supertramp (though not so jolly) influences and I myself sense some David Bowie influences when hearing vocalist Mario Guccio.

Machiavel has a modern electric progressive rock sound, actually not that different from most neoprog-groups of today. Actually, when it comes to style is sounds way more modern then the Marillion debut. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Marillion and Saga took some spins of this record.

But this is a reviel about Machiavel. The sound is abstract, yet theatrical. Mystical and adventerious, dark and sometimes happy. It was however recorded earlier and with a slightly imperfect mixing (the record could have sounded a bit havier), giving it an obscure feel. Take that in - obscure sounding early neoprog. I fell for it in the vinyl store and some passages just got me. The couplet theme of opening track 'Wisdom' and the vocal/guitar duo on 'Sparkling Jaw' are amazing. With a more carefull listen at home these passsages still impress, but the record also starts to show some cracks. The vocals are intense, but also a bit non-human and the lyrics just strange. Sometimes they are almost hidden behind symphonic layers, I myself like the artist and his performance having a central place in the mix. The ballad 'Moments' is just a Genesis ballad by another band, though still enjoyable. As the record progresses the band becomes more playfull, adding even some wind- instruments. I'm not blow away by the title of the fourt track 'In the reing of queen polution'. The track has a nice low-pased Eloy-like opening with proportions of seriousness that you'll only find in symphonic and neoprog. During the song the atmospheres change and the band finds simple ways of making music very enjoyable.

On side two 'The Jester' is perhaps the happiest tracks, with a lot of Supertramp-like Fender Rhodes passages. The instrumental section is however a classic example of symphonic prog. 'Mr. Street fair' has an interesting exciting atmosphere and I can't help to hear some Queen influences. The changing between melancholy and playfulness works out well on this track, resulting in an ending section that has both. The last track ''Rock, sea an trea' is the longest track and a sum of everything that made this an enjoyable album.

Conclusion. This is a very interesting record falling between two era's of symphonic progressive rock. Recommended to fans of the bands mentioned, symphonic prog, neoprog and people interested in genre development. I'm giving it four stars, this record deserves more listeners and recognition in my opinion.

ps The artwork is really nice and the inside of the foldoutcover has lots of boobs, though portrayed consistent with the style of the front cover.

friso | 4/5 |


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