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(46 min, MALS)
TRACK LIST: 1. Martha 3:12 2. No Message 3:33 3. Sophie's Legs 4:47 4. Tenera Lupa 6:02 5. Mad Wedding 7:16 6. Egyptian Matter 5:30 7. Keep In Contact 3:50 8. Martha-2 10:57 All music: by Ceccotti, except 2 & 5: Bastianelly. All lyrics: by Ceccotti. Produced by L. Caillaud. LINEUP: Marc Ceccotti - guitars Jean-Marc Bastianelli - vocals, keyboards Jean-Louis Suzzoni - guitars Yannick Chavatier - drums Paul Mayan - bass Lionel Routier - bass
Prolusion. Edhels's 'lost' masterpiece, "Universal", is finally released officially (by Moscow's MALS Records) and will soon be distributed worldwide, above all via Musea Records. Related reviews.
Analysis. Made up of all new compositions, written especially for this album, "Universal" was recorded live almost entirely, and, thus, for the first time, the incredible mastery of the musicians, who can work on stage as effectively as in the studio, became obvious at last. Now, after many repeated listens to all their albums, I think that Edhels is one of only two or three dozen bands of all progressive genres, whose albums are musically so different one from another. At the same time however, all of them were created in Edhels's own style, which is a great factor for a truly progressive band. By the way, "Universal" is the first and the only Edhels album with a strong vocal presence throughout. All the vocal parts on the album were performed by Jean-Marc Bastianelly, whose strong voice sounds very appropriately here. But while all the vocal parts on the album are excellent, the instrumental palette of "Universal" is one of the strongest for the band. Also, "Universal" contains some raw yet positive power, which I previously haven't heard in their music. Mostly hard-edged Classic Art Rock with a slight fusion feel that Edhels use in the arrangements on this album look refreshing in general and after the rather predictable "Angel's Promise" (1997) in particular. A unique combination of various styles, "Universal" sounds way different than any of the band's previous albums and brings forth a positive energy that is easily comparable, for example, to Deep Purple at their best, unceasing (no matter, is Bastianelli singing or not).
Conclusion. I really like Edhels, which is certainly one of the most underrated bands in the history of Rock Music (among many others - of course, but anyway). I am still unable to decide, which of these three albums: "Still Dream", "Astrological" and "Universal" is the strongest. Top-1998
VM: Agst 16, 2005
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