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(64:30; Sonicbond [2018 Edition])
Okay, pay attention as there may be questions later. French prog quartet Weend'o released this their debut album in 2012. From 2013 they performed four new arrangements created by Los Angeles-based International Prog Award nominee Stephan DeReine, producer and keyboardist for many international artists worldwide. These arrangements were reflected in a second version of the album, which has not previously been made available until now. But even this is still unusual, in that it starts with two radio edits of songs which are available in totality later in the album. This isn’t a practice I’ve come across prior to this, as generally edits are put at the end of the disc when the listener has had the opportunity to listen to the song in its entirety as the band originally intended. Strange. The band is built around somewhat unusual arrangements and layering of heavy prog, combined with the wonderful vocals of Laetitia Chaudemanche, who also provides keyboards. The line-up is completed by Terence N'Guyen (guitar, arrangements), Maxime Rami (bass) and Nathanel Buis (drums). Having not heard the original version of the debut, I am unable to comment as to whether there is much audible difference, but whoever felt that the arrangement to close “Experience” was the right one needs their bumps read. The Gathering are an obvious reference point, although to me Weend'o is more progressive and not as metallic and symphonic as that band can be. Some of the songs feel direct and have purpose, while others seem to meander along before they finally get to the point, and one wonders what would have happened if they had been able to get a strong producer working with them. While this shows promise, and there are times when they definitely fire, this often feels more as a work in progress of a band somewhat unsure of their direction. That they felt they needed to address the arrangements within a year of releasing the album the first time only cements that view. It is interesting, and the vocals are very good indeed, but it needs to be more concise with an understanding of what they are trying to achieve.
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