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Ange - Au-delà du délire CD (album) cover

AU-DELÀ DU DÉLIRE

Ange

 

Symphonic Prog

3.97 | 310 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Third album of the now well-established group, Au-Delà Du Délire is the album where Ange sets free from their influences and become a band with their own sound. With a textbook example of fantasy artwork, the music has become so theatrical that playing the album alone seems like something is missing. If this album had come out in the new millennium, we'd expect this to be a DVD with videos and concert footage to soothe the thirst for illustration. Considered by Ange fans as their apex, I personally think it is heavily flawed, because the vocals have taken over advantage over the music, sometimes at the disservice of the music. To appreciate this album in its full, it does help to have a good mastery of the French language and culture though, otherwise you'll miss the small tidbits, much like most non-British might miss the full finesse of Battle Of Epping Forest. Otherwise, the classic quintet is in full form and delivers what is considered their best album.

The first side is made of short tracks where Ange shows their theatrics and tightness, but not leaving much space for musical extrapolation or meanderings. The opening track descending chord Godevin (with an extra violin in the intro and outro) and the following Longues Nuits are indeed pushing the French lyrics in a very literary way, taking an overall importance to the expense of the music, sometimes buried. Sometimes it seems that the music is little more than keyboard layers (the two Descamps brothers are on organ, but mellotron and synths as well), and despite the occasional outburst of Brezo's guitar and the discreet excellence of Hass and Jelsch on bass and drums respectively, but it's all about the Bros. Messie is mostly a recitation against organized religion where the text is most important, but the repeated listening make it average. The lyrics were so overpowering on this album, that I remember the vinyl came with a two-page fill of lyrics slid inside the sleeve. Ballade Pour Une Orgie is probably the only place where you can still feel the genesis influence (with the acoustic guitar arpeggios. Closing up is the 5-mins Exode that starts slightly Yes-ish, but once the first verse arrived, they sound like full-blown Ange with finally the group escaping Christian's stranglehold.

The flipside only has three tracks and you would easily find it more enjoyable, with much more space for the instruments. Well almost, because La Bataille Du Sucre despite its 6:30 duration is again dominated by Christian's theatrical vocals and include a subsection. Actually more interesting is the shorter Fils De Lumière starts out like Exode did, with a large instrumental intro ala Yes, before jumping in the heart of the song, but the musicians are breaking through the Christian's layers of vocals. The track is the most instrumental one so far and slowly segues into the 9-mins title track, which sort of returns to Godevin's descending chord with a slight twist and having a certain medieval feel (present throughout most of the album, though), Christian's vocals start out more relaxed, but gradually get excited as the music sort dies out midway through the track, only to be reborn in a grandiose triumphant symphonic manner, with Brezo's most thrilling guitar solo dying out in the farm court among the birds. That superb ending does not resemble the rest of the album, though, as if Ange wanted to re-equilibrate the balance in-extremis before the needle lifted off from the wax.

I can't think of an album that would typifies what was called theater rock or theatre prog more than this one. This album sent a whole bunch of Ange imitators on orbit (the most famous one would be Mona Lisa with "le Violon de Mr. Gregoire") but it is very much irrelevant to most of us nowadays and this was very original back then.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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