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(53 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Autres Jungles 11:25 2. Escales 4:37 3. Quartiers Perdus 8:23 4. Extreme Orient Express 4:37 5. Le Reve d'Omer Spliter 12:21 6. Le Repli des Ombres IV 12:15 LINEUP: Jean-Paul Dedieu - keyboards Michel Dedieu - electric guitar, e-bow Pim Focken - percussion, drums
Prolusion. "Le Repli des Ombres" is the second album by the French formation SOMBRE REPTILE, following "In Strum Mental" from three years ago.
Analysis. Sombre Reptile performs an instrumental progressive rock with space-rock and jazz-fusion influences. The album's musical palette is full of anxious and sad themes, with elements of improvisation introduced into their textures. It makes the pieces both dynamic and expressive. The thematic development takes place on almost at all of the program's tracks; the timbre colorations are diverse enough and are done tastefully. Despite the noted virtues, the electro-pop oriented rhythm section is an essential failure in this release. The music of the trio would've been much more flexible and unpredictable in the case they were using odd meter changes. Autres Jungles, the first composition, opens with guitar solo in the manner of Pink Floyd. Then some interesting chord progressions and original melodic themes lead the listener away in another direction. The sound acquires its individual character without any analogies. The monumentally slow guitar and keyboards parts transform to speedier ones. On the other hand, it's necessary to notice the over-flat emotional line as a shortcoming of this opus. There is a distinct lack of mood changes here. In its first half, Quartiers Perdus leaves the analogous impression, but the lucid fragment's appearance in the middle of the track comes in useful very much. Jazz-fusion influences are evident in some leading guitar parts. In evaluating Escales, one of the shortest compositions on the disc, it would be true to say that its fast movement makes the solo parts more virtuosic. The melodic lines are rather more diverse than intricate, and the taste of South-European motifs is obvious here. The general mood of this track is more peaceful in comparison with the others. The fourth opus, Extreme Orient Express, also is well suited to the direction the musicians have chosen, but its chord progression is pretty predictable. The powerful and anxious atmosphere is the basic attraction in this composition. Any progressive rock lover has to recognize that the value of a musical work can't be measured by its duration only. There must be an original idea as an energetic message. Without it we'll simply get a set of more or less pleasant sounds. Saying so, I don't want to diminish the quality of the group's musical material, performed on the album, but I must notice the over-measured prolongation of the next two tracks. Neither of them are bad, and the number of interesting episodes takes place there certainly. Le Reve d'Omer Spliter can be described as the most exotic-sounding opus in the program. Its texture acquires its originality because of the presence of Far-Eastern perfume. The basic theme isn't complex in itself, but some tasteful improvisations make it elegant and attractive; the space-rock oriented meditative fragment is also on the right place. Concerning the final composition, Le Repli des Ombres IV, I'd say not many good words, especially about its development. The powerfully sounded pieces periodically transform into sad and quiet ones, jazz-fusion inserting flow down to Eastern melodies. But despite all the signed positive qualities, the multiple repeats leave the sense of monotony and sear coloration.
Conclusion. Sombre Reptile's second, "Le Repli des Ombres", is a good album, although far from a classic. It can be recommended to many progressive-rock lovers, but above all to those who have no habit to dive into depth of the genre's researches.
VF: December 22, 2005
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