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(68 min, Brennus)
TRACK LIST: 1. The World of Emoceans 1:43 2. Fears & Hopes 6:17 3. Mission to Earth 5:57 4. Legasea 5:19 5. The Druidesses of Oya 7:35 6. Survival 7:09 7. Silence of an Angel 6:29 8. In the Abyss of Sorrow 1:26 9. A Deep Breath 7:40 10. The Awakening 4:40 11. The Start of a New Story 5:47 12. July '69 6:01 13. The Other Kingdom 2:39 All music: by Sirens Call. All lyrics: by Paul. LINE-UP: Valerie Paul - lead vocals Frank Manier - keyboards Stephane Thurier - guitar Thibaut Coisne - guitar Eric Serre - bass Sebastien Paul - drums With: Big Mixed Choir
Prolusion. Grasped by the wave of Progressive Rock, the interest in which hugely grown in the mid-nineties thanks to the Internet, five French guys and one girl decided to form their own band. As a result, SYRENS CALL was born, in 1997. Three years later, the band presented their debut album, "Fantasea". Quite surprisingly, its first pressing was sold out within a few months, and the CD has been reissued under license in several countries, Russia included. Here is Syrens Call's second album, "Emoceans".
Analysis. The garden of progressive music is monstrously vast now - it covers practically all the globe, and there is no one who would know everything about it. Some people do always contest the 'rights' of pronouncedly heavy music to be considered Prog, even in its most intricate forms (like in the case of Voivod, for instance), but not I, as I know I would have hardly become, say, a full-fledged Prog lover if there were no Heavy Metal at the time of my youth, in the '80s. So I always consider the role that the messengers of the genre play for many potential Prog-heads, especially appreciating those of them who, like Syrens Call, tend to saturate their music with features of the other musical forms and, thus, complicate it. "Emoceans" (no parallels with "emotions") is a concept album with the lyrics where the future, the past and the present are boldly, shamelessly and oddly, interlaced with each other, which is so typical for fantasy stories etc, but has almost nothing to do with sci-fi. Musically, it is also rather coherent, though the contents of its first one-third are less impressive. This remark, however, does not concern the very first track, which is good despite its brevity. The World of Emoceans presents a mixed opera-like choir singing to the accompaniment of lush orchestral arrangements. The choir is absent on the following three songs: Fears & Hopes, Mission to Earth and Legasea, each representing Symphonic Power Metal, often bordering on NWBHM. Although singer Valerie Paul tries her best to diversify the music, the band turns to Prog only when she is silent. There is no contradiction in the last sentence, but I fear you have to hear the album to fully make certain of the verity of my words. If you arm yourself with patience and reach the fifth track, you'll get to know the essence of the album and, thus, the band's potential as well. The choir returned, a keyboardist recalled that there is also piano in his equipment, and a guitarist often switches over to acoustic guitar. Some high-speed arrangements still can be found, but overall, the music is slower, yet, is more solid and more diverse than before. Most of the remaining songs: The Druidesses of Oya, Survival, A Deep Breath and July '69 are a blend of Power and Cathedral Metal with many progressive features, the appearance of which there doesn't seem to be accidental. All are interesting enough, but the absolute winners are Silence of an Angel and The Start of a New Story, both largely instrumental and pronouncedly symphonic, with passages of acoustic guitar and piano more and more often coming to the fore. Unlike its track list counterpart, the album's closing number, The Other Kingdom, does not contain vocals, but musically it's much in the same vein. In the Abyss of Sorrow is a classical guitar-based piece, and the remaining track The Awakening (also instrumental), is a real melodic Neo Prog-Metal, reflecting the band's latent romanticism.
Conclusion. The absence of true originality and any derivativeness alike is kind of a hallmark of Syrens Call's creation. Is that bad? No, this is a rather positive factor. In the field of such an ancient genre as Heavy Metal, it's very difficult to avoid influences. Although most of their music isn't intricate enough to interest those into classic Prog-Metal, not to mention the staunch defenders of the genre's purity, personally I perceive "Emoceans" better than any of the albums by Rhapsody, Sratovarius, Royal Hunt and the like. Well, all these fantasy themes in lyrics have really set my teeth on edge already, but musically this band is worthy of respect.
VM: January 20, 2005
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