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1. La Faulx 2. Jack the Ripper 3. Vous le Saurez en Temps Voulu Daniel Denis - drums & percussion Roger Trigaux - guitars, keyboards (organ & piano) Guy Segers - bass, vocals (1) Patrick Hanappier - violins & cellos Michel Berckmans - oboe & basson
Prolog: Belgium’s Univers Zero is a chamber rock/Rock-In-Opposition band, which, though, was formed by jazz-musicians. "Heresie" is their second album.
The album: La Faulx was "Side one" of the “Heresie” LP. It is the ensemble’s longest composition ever (26 min), and is the only one of its epic tracks that feature lyrics. I hear with difficulty a mix of Latin, French and English, but probably I'm mistaken, and there is only Latin here. Guy Segers's voice is really sepulchral, transformed later into a brutal roar. I understand now where the real roots of Doom/Death vocal style are. La Faulx is generally one of the doomiest and sinister compositions of all time, although there are no heavy, drawn-out guitar riffs here. The sound of early Univers Zero is very progressive, and also entangled, based predominantly on chamber instruments. A unique, dark, gothic-like atmosphere, full of mystical phobies, overwhelms all around, even hopelessness in the face of the everlasting flight of life. "Not of the death we're afraid, but of immortality". In accordance with its title, Jack the Ripper (13 min) is even a bit more sinister than La Faulx. The music is basically slow, too, but is still intricate, full of surprising twists and unusual electric guitar themes. The piece was written by Roger Trigaux, while the majority of the band’s future compositions came from the pen of Daniel Denis. After "Heresie" Trigaux left Univers Zero and formed his own band Present, motivating this by a desire to have a tighter control over composition. Vous le Saurez en Temps Voulu (again 13 min) is very symphonic, yet it also has a poignant nightmare feeling. The door is closed, and there's no way out of here...
Summary Univers Zero is one of the most innovative bands in the history of progressive rock. "Heresie", its second album, is outstanding as regards the RIO genre as well as the ensemble's own work. Unlike their next production, which has a more modern sound, as well as their debut, which has in turn a strong neoclassical feeling, this one is original in its own way of ghastly, gothic music-evoking, psychedelia alongside intricate arrangements and a bit less prominent role for chamber instruments. A rare masterpiece of prog, but I wouldn't recommend to listen to it with the lights off. Also, don't play it loud: this is a strenuous type of music for very specific listening occasions. A true contemporary classic – a classic for the future.
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