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(49 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. King of Silver 17:49 2. The Dreamscape 9:30 3. Open the Gate 10:16 4. Farewell Goodbye 11:32 LINEUP: Gines Jimenes - guitars Cristophe Goulevitch - guitars Georges-Marc Lavarenne - keyboards Julien Fayolle - bass, Stick Frederic Lacousse - drums Christian Creven - vocals With: Julie Hoffbauer - additional vocals
Prolusion. ENNEADE is a young band from the French city of Lyon. "Remembrance" is their debut album.
Analysis. What pleasantly amazes me is that these young people try their very best to avoid sounding stylistically monochromatic from the very beginning of their musical activity, bravely touching on various progressive directions, playing mostly with genuine inspiration and taste. Well, they could not avoid some 'ubiquitous' influences (their teachers in absentia to be named in due time), but nevertheless much of the music on "Remembrance" sounds surprisingly fresh. One lengthy suite and three semi-epics, which form the content of this 49-minute album, are differentiated from each other on many levels. King of Silver is a multi-sectional composition with an approximately equal amount of purely instrumental and vocal-based arrangements, the latter featuring repetitions of previously sung themes, but not many. The singer Christian Creven, who possesses a strong and flexible voice with a huge range in timbre, is someone whose performance doesn't remind me of anyone else's. When he takes the low pitches, which occurs rarely though, he somewhat approaches the so-called extreme vocal styling, but never steps over the border of truly brutal intonation. A female session singer at times joins Christian here, as she also does on the last track, on which her appearance seems to be more justifying, and her singing much more satisfying. During the first three or four minutes, events develop rather smoothly, with no unpredictable turns or instrumental outbursts, which are yet to come. All the following movements reveal essential progressive features in abundance, the band jumping from dark and heavy to more serene arrangements, exquisite melodies adjoining eclectic jams, symphonic textures alternating with those related to the harshest manifestations of Prog-Metal, and more. The names of Sieges Even (at the time of "A Sense of Change"), Anathema and Dream Theater may come to mind, but not necessarily, as the resemblance exists only on the general structural level. The only band traces of whose influences are at times really obvious here (as well as on most of the other tracks) is King Crimson. To be more precise, it's not King Crimson as such, but is the guitar technique invented by Robert Fripp and which has become an integral part (if not trademark) of the sound of his primary band since their "Discipline" album. In short, the influences manifest themselves only in some guitar solos, but in the case of the second track, The Dreamscape, it turns out to be enough to make it sound much less original than the others. No, this song isn't a mediocrity and is good overall; only it's less diverse than the others, both compositionally and stylistically, besides which it develops mostly as a 'Crimsonic' guitar-laden Art-Rock. So it would be my least favorite track here. Open the Gate is an instrumental piece (there is only a brief narration, in the middle) and is the most diverse and original, at least. The music is full of mystery, and much of it is a bass-driven atmospherically eclectic Space Rock, the other genre components to be named in descending order, according to the role they play in the overall sound. These are progressive Doom Metal, symphonic Art-Rock and Jazz-Fusion, whose elements are provided by a synthetic, yet quite believable-sounding trombone. Farewell Goodbye combines all the styles and qualities typical of the preceding tracks, though there is also an episode with an amazing oriental-like female vocalization, while the third section sounds like a dedication to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon".
Conclusion. Enneade's "Remembrance" is a very good album, to say the least - despite the presence of derivative features here and there. I see I was too keen on generalizations this time out, having not paid enough attention to the virtues of the material, which it possesses in abundance. Recommended.
VM: March 9, 2006
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