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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Les nouveaux mondes (2022 version)

Review by Gary Hill

I've not heard of this French band before, and this release sure makes a great first impression. The music here is inventive, creative and unique. The lyrics are in French, so if you must have lyrics you can understand and (like me) don't speak French, you might want to steer clear. I'd say do so at your own risk, though, because this is powerful progressive rock. This is a newly recorded version of album that was originally released in 2002, and it has two bonus tracks added. As good as this is, I'm interested in hearing more of this band's catalog.

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Track by Track Review
Powerful atmospherics open this. Then piano rises up. From there powerhouse prog rock jamming ensues. This thing is works forward with some great twists and turns into some killer melodic prog that at times turns heavy. It shifts to a rhythm section movement after a time. Then the cut grows outward with style and charm. There really is a lot of drama and style on this thing. There is a classy melodic movement later in the tune that has an almost fusion sound at play. Then a killer guitar solo movement explodes out from there. That crescendos and ends. After a short bit of silence, a mellower guitar part rises up, and we're taken into a fusion-like jam as that builds upward. That instrumental movement eventually ends it.
Dr Fergusson et les caprices du vent Vol.1: Au dessus des toits

An intricate bass and guitar movement serves as the backdrop for the first vocals at the start of this. This cut grows upward and evolves from there. It eventually gives way to a hard rocking guitar based movement after a time. Around the half-way mark another scorching hot guitar section takes over, and the number builds around that in a rather fusion-like way. It explodes out into some fast paced prog jamming from there as it continues. This continues to work through with some great style from there.

Danse du diable
Fast-paced bass jamming brings this one in. The fast-paced jam is joined by other instruments gradually. I love the unusual timing and powerhouse jamming on this thing. It turns quite heavy at times. This instrumental is short in comparison to other tracks here, but it's no less compelling or powerful. It's quite a ride.
The non-lyrical vocals that come over the top of the fast-paced introductory music here work really well. This track twists and turns on this introduction, really creating a lot of prog magic as it does. The song eventually turns to an almost metallic jam later for the entrance of the vocals. There is a rubbery bass line that runs underneath that delivers so much drama and magic. The instrumental movement that takes over from there works through some different movements, getting rather fusion-like at times. The vocals return after a time, and once they run through a smoking hot, fast-paced jam ensues. That gives way to a different fast paced prog jam. That doesn't last long, dropping off and leaving just keyboards behind. This moody keyboard section holds the piece to its closing with some weird effects in the mix.
Dans la lune encore
An exploratory bass line starts this. The voice comes in over that as it continues. This eventually becomes a full band arrangement that is a powerhouse prog treatment. There are some symphonic angles as it drives forward. It drops back a little in a dramatic section with an intriguing rhythm to it. This gets into some killer melodic prog zones as it continues, and it's quite a great piece of music.
Dr Fergusson et les caprices du vent Vol.2 : Au dessus des pyramides

Symphonic and metallic concepts are on display on this piece. This instrumental has so much drama and style. It's majestic, bombastic and potent.

The following tracks are a multi-track suite, presented as separate tracks. Apparently they were done as one track on the original release of this album.
Départ / Europe
A hard-edged guitar dropped way back starts things here. As it comes to the front, the rest of the instruments join in a powerhouse jam that's part fusion and part hard rocking prog. Other than some non-lyrical vocals near the end this is an instrumental piece.
Les fleuves sacrés
A mellower number with tuned percussion and a bit of an Asian feel to it, this has a slightly more organic texture. There are some gong bangs later. A mellow section further down the road gets some vocals.
Coming out of the previous track, this is a powerhouse prog rock jam that is particularly tasty. The cut eventually drops to a rhythm section based movement over which a sea of voices holds court. This works out to some scorching hot fusion beyond that section. There is some cool timing as it drives forward. Percussion ends the piece.
Nouveau monde
A dramatic, but tentative vibe starts things here. Eventually piano rises up to create the melodic concepts. Some whistling joins. The track begins to grow into more of a full band treatment as it continues. There is a powerhouse fusion meets prog jam that ensues. Eventually this moves to more of  a mainstream rocking jam from there.

Tuned percussion is part of a tribal part that opens this instrumental piece. The other instruments gradually join and we're taken on a classy jam from there. I really love some of the fast paced bass work on this, particularly when it takes center stage. It gets quite involved and powered up with some symphonic elements at play. It's driving, dramatic and so strong. There is a cool synthesizer drenched movement later that is melodic and tasty.

Bataille navale
A metallic rocking guitar opens this. As the rhythm section joins we got some fusion elements in the mix. An organ brings some retro stylings as this drives forward. There is some serious retro sound here. In fact, I can hear a lot of early Deep Purple and Uriah Heep in the mix. The guitar solos like crazy as this marches forward. Around the halfway mark (this piece is over 11-minutes long) it drops to a keyboard based section and begins to grow outward with a more modern fusion-like vibe from there. A section later seems to merge the two sides of the piece and the vocals come over the top of that. This feels like a live recording in terms of the energy and vibe, even before you hear the audience at the end. 
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