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Tracklist: 1. Indian Summer 4:28 2. Sign 4:02 3. Drunk 3:50 4. Running 4:15 5. Looking For 4:51 6. My Social Insanity 4:17 7. Free 4:35 8. Flake 5:37 9. Come Down 4:45 All music written by Lepretre & arranged by Hajro. All lyrics by Zeppili, except 1, 6, & 7 by Zeppili & Duboc. Line-up: Gregory Lepretre - guitars; backing vocals Nelson Zeppili - vocals Cyril Duboc - basses Nicolas Dulong - drums Franck Dhotel - guitars Guest musicians: Jean-Benoit Tetu - bass Yvon Lucas - guitar Fabien Senay - guitar Recorded & mixed by J-B. Tetu. Mastered by Guillaume Lecreux.
Prologue. As you can easily guess, the eponymous Hajro album is their debut album.
The Album. Doubtless, "Hajro" should have been released by one of the Metal divisions of "Musea Records", "Brennus" or "Thundering", but not by "Rebel". (The latter is a new asylum for the AOR bands and performers, which was formed within the precincts of Museum of Muse last year). Structurally, the music of Hajro in many ways reminds me of Black Sabbath circa "Dehumanizer" (1992), though the singing of Hajro's vocalist is distinctly original. And I love Black Sabbath, the real Godfathers of Progressive Doom-Metal and real Prog-Metal as well. The opening track Indian Summer is the only song on the album, the contents of which are rather simple. Most of all, they're suitable for Heavy Metal hits, like Paranoid, for example. Looking For and Come Down (tracks 5 & 9) sound slightly different than all the other songs on the album, including the aforementioned Indian Summer. Stylistically, both of them represent a blend of Doom-Metal and Art-Rock. Although the vocal of Nelson Zeppili isn't that powerful on Looking For and Come Down, it, however, is very rich in emotions. Both the instrumental and vocal arrangements that are present on these songs are probably the most impressive on the album, and Come Down is undoubtedly the best song here. The instrumental arrangements of these songs consist of contrasting interplay between the slow, heavy and dark, riffs of rhythm guitar, fast solos of lead guitar, and mid-tempo passages of acoustic and semi-acoustic guitar. All of this is accompanied by the slow yet powerful and diverse work of the rhythm-section. All six of the remaining songs contain the arrangements that are rather typical for a Prog-tinged Doom-Metal of a high quality. Each of them features at least three different vocal themes, all of which are accompanied by strong, tasteful, and diverse riffs of electric guitar. In the middle of each of these six songs is located quite a long instrumental part that, most often, consists of diverse and contrasting interplay between the slow riffs of rhythm guitar and varied solos of lead guitar. The work of the rhythm section often abounds in complex time signatures.
Summary. Overall, I can't recommend this album to the traditional Prog-Metal lovers, regardless whether they're into the Classic or Neo manifestation of this genre. As for me, however, I can hardly tolerate the so-called Neo Prog-Metal, which is most often full of sugary melodies, stamps, etc. Instead, I'd better listen to a strong, tasteful, and truly hard-edged Metal of any sort. Of course, the debut Hajro album is of the same story.
VM. June 3, 2002
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