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Nebuleyes - 2008 - "Divine Revolution"

(55:10, ‘Nebuleyes’)


TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  Revolution Divine 32:15
2.  Endorphine et Placenta 8:34
3.  Digitaline 4:55
4.  Elixir 10:06


Xavier Boscher – guitars, bass; keyboards; programming; vocals
Benjamin Masson – guitars; vocals
Sandrine Millet – lead vocals

Prolusion. NEBULEYES is the result of a musical collaboration between Benjamin Masson and Xavier Boscher, who first met and started experimenting with their musical ideas in 1999. However, it wasn't until 2002 that the collaboration really took off, which eventually resulted in the band's debut album "Digital Enfant" being released in 2004. "Divine Revolution" is the sophomore release by this French outfit, made in 2006 and released in 2007.

Analysis. The core members of Nebuleyes both enjoy their metal, which is obvious at once when you start listening to this album. The guitar is a central instrument, with drawn-out chords, riff patterns and guitar solos given central roles in all compositions here. The epic opening track, clocking in at 32 minutes and some seconds, reveals quite a few of their influences – galloping riff patterns similar in style to Iron Maiden, powerful and majestic guitar and keyboards mixed in a manner quite similar to Dream Theater, atmospheric and dreamy guitar solos with both pace and technical skill showcased not too dissimilar to Joe Satriani’s as he sounded early in his career. Nebuleyes goes for a warmer, softer sound than their influences generally do though, rather than enhancing the metal sound of the guitars and the quite heavy soundscapes of their peers. The guitar tone is dampened slightly and placed a bit further back in the mix, and it sounds like this is a very intentional move. After all, their goal is to "try to wake up a little humanity in the metal galaxy". On the opening and title track, Revolution Divine, the musicians showcase another approach to their songwriting as well, which to some extent separates them from many other bands in the genre – besides the length of the tune, that is. Like most groups exploring progressive metal, Nebuleyes too write quirky compositions, with more changes in style and pace than you can shake a stick at. But in this case quite a few of the sections visited are atmospheric and mellow in nature, and there are even a few instances of segments close to space rock in style. Thus the musical output on this release is a bit less generic than many other acts exploring this particular type of music. Of the remaining three tracks, Endorphine et Placenta, Digitaline and Elixir, the first two are both of a slightly more mellow and atmospheric nature than what you might expect from a progressive metal act, and although the last number, Elixir, is a bit more traditional in approach, it also contains that slightly warmer and gentler sound in some segments. Nebuleyes is clearly a talented outfit and their approach to the creation of music has a lot going for it. Based on this album, there are basically two factors that will limit their appeal: the quality of the songs and their choice of language. None of the songs here are weak as such, but apart from nuances in style and approach none of them really stand out either, always good but rarely outstanding. The choice of French as the language to convey lyrics is one that will limit their international fan base, with so many music fans used to English being the chosen language these days.

Conclusion. Although this album as such doesn't really impress, it doesn't disappoint either. And anyone who'd like to investigate a prog metal band exploring a sound with more warmth than the norm might want to check this one out, in particular if French vocals are seen as an asset.

OMB: July 14, 2008
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