Written by: Kev Rowland
Four years on from their last album and Jérémie Grima (guitars, voice, programming) and Sébastien Bourdeix (guitars) are back with the sixth studio album. They are the only survivors from the line-up that recorded ‘Ghosts & Memories’, and here they are joined by Tommy Rizzitelli (drums) and Frédéric Motte (bass). The band was originally a solo outing by Jérémie, and we were first in contact at about the time of the debut album back in 2004. I have always enjoyed their music, but this time they appear to have taken it to another level. They have always been heavily influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree, but this time I believe we need to add Muse to the mix plus a real feeling of self-awareness and control. Heavily instrumental, this is an emotional album with the guitar often at the forefront, with just a few notes plucked from the ether to create something that is very special indeed.
From the very first sounds of “Isolation” I felt that I was onto something very special indeed and decided to not listen to the album until I could sit and give it the sole attention it deserved. I decided against headphones, but instead sat quietly in the middle of a room and let the sound wash over me (accompanied just by a rather large glass of rum, just to keep me company). There is a presence and self-control in this album that other bands need to pay attention to: there is no need to play five thousand notes to the bar when every note is placed with such perfection. There is a deep melancholy within this, with emotions let rampant, and a crying guitar that David Gilmour would be proud of. I have found it hard to write the review as I keep stopping just to bask in the splendour of this release.
It may have come out right at the end of the year, but possibly that makes it the perfect Christmas present for the discerning proghead who doesn’t know what he/she is missing out on? They riff when they need to, and there is so much space within the layers that the proverbial truck could waltz right through, while the rhythm section not only when to crunch into life, but also when to sit quietly drinking their café au lait, and let the two guys at the front create some real magic. Album of the year? Well, there have been some great releases and I would have to go back and play them all to be sure. But, easily in my Top Ten and I have reviewed nearly 600 in 2017. Wonderful, amazing, indispensable, and if you enjoy any of the bands listed above then you simply have to get this.
Isolation // Memorial // Ashes to Ashes // Under a Black Sky // Absolom // Cosmic Dust // Left Behind