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TRACK LIST 1. Argos 5:35 2. Drone Attack 6:10 3. Pentagram 6:43 4. Bohemian Reel 6:28 5. Pavillon Noir 6:18 6. Lotus 6:37 7. La Montagne Magique 6:58 LINEUP: Yves Corvez - guitars Martin Henry - bass Patrice Barreau - drums Jean-Marc Gobat - keyboards, samples
Prolusion. French band TRANSBOHEM was formed sometime in the 2000's, but according to the band biography didn't stabilize until 2010. Two years later they self-released their debut album "Deserts", and a few line-up alterations later their second album "Samsara" appeared. This latter album is their most recent one, and like their first album it was self-released.
Analysis. Transbohem are clear about the fact that they mix and blend influences from different sources and regions, and that due to this their music is somewhat difficult to classify. Some of the core features are recognizable however, with compelling and easy to like melody lines, strong grooves and a certain affection for blending Eastern and Western music traditions. Add in some odd synthesizer sounds, and it isn't too far fetched to namedrop a band like Ozric Tentacles. Transbohem does venture a bit beyond those particular boundaries though. For starters, they are fond of guitars and guitar riffs, which at times gives the music a sound and intensity bordering metal. And to follow up, they aren't quite as fond of eerie, weird and funny electronic noises as Ozric Tentacles are, nor are they as invested in adding in trance elements, dub and other details that may find their way into the sound of the aforementioned band. The amount of cosmic sounds isn't as prevalent either. A kind of a toned down, more metal oriented take on the Ozrics sound is a pretty good comparison I guess. Furthermore, Middle Eastern influences sounds, tonal scales and vocal modes is very much a part of the package here, and especially early on Ozrics also played around with some of those elements. The vocals on this occasion (which are not given credit on the album) aren't always endearing, some of them will be an acquired taste, but they do most certainly add a world music and Eastern vibe to the proceedings. That Transbohem also adds in bagpipe and flute sounds on a track expands the palette somewhat too. In this particular case not all that appealing as a standalone element, but it fits the totality in the track where they are featured. Mix and production isn't quite at the level required these days, some of the songs do feel slightly rough around the edges due to that. Some of the synthesizer sounds also strikes me as sounding a tad dated and out of place. But as a total experience this is a pleasantly compelling album, using and blending the sounds and tones from different musical traditions in a good and efficient manner.
Conclusion. While perhaps not an album with a vast and broad appeal, those who enjoy a band that blends traditions from Eastern and Western music should find this album to be an interesting one, and then in particular those who fancy a wee bit of the Ozrics and a liberal amount of metal-oriented riffs and guitar soloing thrown into the mix for good measure.
Progmessor: July 23rd 2019
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