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Seven Reizh - Strinkadenn' Ys CD (album) cover


Seven Reizh


Symphonic Prog

4.15 | 96 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars While many talented Celtic bands exist with a smidgen of prog in their sound, Seven Reizh is an out and out symphonic progressive band from Brittany with a sound charged by electrifying Breton currents. Playing this card is riskier than one might think, given the possibility of being labelled too melodic and simple by the progheads and too snobby by the 15th century Breton purists. I am happy to report that the experiment has been highly successful.

They kick off the 10 minute "Selaou" with some pretty heavy riffs, allowing the more hypnotic segments to appear later, the opposite of how arrangements might appear if Seven Reizh were simply playing safe. But the expressive voice of Bleunwenn is a sure bet, recalling a Breton Sally Oldfield more than anything, and the occasional mixing of male vocals appears here and elsewhere to add to the haunting maritime feel of this disk. Then, Mike Oldfield's influence is also apparent, especially on "Naer galloud" with its hypnotic mixed keys, earthy lead guitar licks and gruff male vocals. "Kan Kr'Ys" offers plaintive piping by Konan Mvel to imaginative percussion, and shows that the band does just fine when out from under the voices. Some of the songs, like "Linvadenn", seem to trade the windswept shores of Brittany for the still sands of the Sahara, with perhaps even more impressive results.

The highlight is "Tad ha Mamm", which starts with a phone call by the sea and rocks the rest of its 9 minutes, featuring a stunning melody introduced on flute before the singing tosses it above stormy waters. The lead guitars carry the theme in new directions before handing off to much more lively pipes than previously heard. This is a masterful prog rock track, and a few more of these would have been needed to balance out some of the general mellowness of much of this album and raise it to the level of masterpiece, rather than simply a highly enjoyable and impressive debut. With Strinkadenn Ys, Seven Reizh seems to have effected a big fat wedding of two or more genres that is more perfect storm than compromise. Highly recommended for fans of symphonic prog and/or folk prog and/or Celtic rock.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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