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(37 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Apotres Et Martyrs 15:25 2. Tempus 3:08 3. Khoros 6:24 4. Nadia 6:28 5. La Dance des Automates 6:18 All tracks: by Durantet, except 2 & 4: Scaduto. Produced by J-P Pognant. LINEUP: Robert Durantet - guitars; vocals Thierry Scaduto - keyboards; vocals Jackie Poillot - bass Carmine Versace - drums
Prolusion. METABOLISME is an obscure French band, which was in the ranks from 1969 to 1979. Here is the CD reissue of their only album, "Tempus Fugit", previously released on LP in 1977.
Analysis. Unlike many of those issued by then-new outfits at the decline of Prog's heyday, Metabolisme's effort is notable for a highly original sound and doesn't have even the lightest traces of anyone's influences. I am inclined to think it was created in the first half of the decade, when hundreds of bands had been working in the field of symphonic Art-Rock, and yet, all like one produced unique, genuinely inspired music. Overall, the contents of "Tempus Fugit" fully correspond to the canons (I'd even say unwritten laws) of the genre, and the only problem I have with the album concerns guitarist Robert Durantet's technical skill. Robert is in his best form when riffing or playing acoustic guitar, the passages of which run all through each of the three songs here, being inventively interwoven with electric textures, but his solos on electric guitar don't match those by his band mates, all of whom are masterful musicians in every respect. Thankfully, he usually concentrates exactly on the acoustic guitar. The songs: Apotres Et Martyrs, Nadia and La Dance des Automates are entities of classic symphonic Art-Rock in its pure form, and as is typical for the style, the number of instrumental sections on each exceeds that of vocal-based ones. The 15-minute Apotres Et Martyrs is a multi-segmented composition with the entire set of hallmarks of the genre, but I wouldn't say I find it a winner. There is very much in common between it and the other two songs: the alternation of vocals (lyrics in French, of course) and picturesque two-voice vocalizations, the solid amount of large-scaled instrumental arrangements with frequent changes of theme and tempo, the magic sounds of Hammond and Wurlitzer, etc. Each is remarkable, but instrumental pieces: Tempus and Khoros are more emotional, particularly the first of them, representing a pretty heavy and unusually sounding Prog with exclusively fast and intense arrangements. The band managed to squeeze so much music into this 3-minute piece that I was forced to revisit it two times running to unite all the threads that it's woven of. Featuring two-voice vocalizations, Khoros is musically something average between Tempus and the shorter songs.
Conclusion. Although there are some flaws in the performance department, "Tempus Fugit" is a strong album overall, essential for lovers of vintage Art-Rock and related styles. Metabolisme was definitely a very promising band, and it would've been interesting to see where they would have gone in the future if they had luck to release at least one more LP.
VM: June 8, 2005
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