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(67:44, Quadrifonic Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ldi 9:40 2. 19:59 6:48 3. Le Film De Ma Vie 7:33 4. L'Armee Des Ombres 9:59 5. Faux Semblants 7:45 6. Barbares 25:59 LINEUP: Guillaume Fontaine – keyboards; vocals Lionel B. Guichard – bass; vocals JB Itier – drums; vocals JP Louveton – guitars; vocals
Prolusion. French outfit NEMO was formed in 1999 and became active as a live and recording unit three years later. "Barbares" is their seventh full length production and was issued at the start of 2009.
Analysis. France is an active nation when it comes to the number of artists exploring the genre(s) of progressive rock, and Nemo is among the more highly regarded bands hailing from this part of Europe. And this latest venture of theirs should see to it that this continues. The foundation of their explorations seems to be a variety of the heavier aspect of art rock; heavy drawn out riffs and riff patterns verging on and at times crossing over to metal territories are a central aspect of the sound they explore this time around. However, this aspect of their work isn't dominating nor is it present on all compositions. It is used more often than the other stylistic expressions Nemo serves its listeners on this occasion though, hence the aforementioned conclusion. And indeed, change is the keyword for this album, closely followed by diversity. The compositions are constantly building up to or in the middle of transitional segments, with a vast number of different themes explored and revisited as a general tendency throughout. Mellow, gentle passages are followed by majestic and rich textural sequences; light and melodic flavors by heavy and powerful excursions. And incorporated as something of a red thread are elements from jazz and fusion, albeit not to the extent that they can be deemed a core expression of this release, but they're certainly a musical embellishment that is a constant factor. The first five tracks stay mostly within the art rock segment in terms of different sonic flavors, with some brief visits to more metal-influenced territories besides the fusion touch already mentioned, but for the grand finale of this production, the title track, Nemo ventures into folk-tinged territories for inspiration as well. And although slightly yet not overly repetitive, this close to 26 minutes long epic showcases most of the musical flavors this band has to offer in one go, be it gentle mellow explorations or harder hitting, metal-tinged ventures, all the time with a clear and concise grasp of the melodic theme at hand.
Conclusion. More quirky than complex and advanced yet not overly challenging, this is a fine piece of work for those intrigued by the more eclectic side of art rock, and the diversity at hand should also give it a pretty broad appeal in general. A fine effort all in all, and personally an album that is among the top 10 of the releases I've checked out so far this year.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 4, 2009
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