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Edhels — Angel's Promise
(Musea FGBG 4220.AR , 1997, CD)

Angel's Promise Cover art

Angel's Promise is the latest offering from this fine contemporary progressive band. I did not know much about this band prior to hearing this album, but for the most part I was pleasantly surprised with the audition, normally being a tad suspicious of anything remotely carrying the "neo-prog" tag. The jury is still out as to whether or not this is in fact "neo-prog," but I suppose in the end that is beside the point. Regardless of the tag,  Edhels boasts a sound that is strong, assured, varied, and at times very dramatic. Although there are plenty of synthesizers, the lead guitar is clearly the dominant instrument, alternating between quick modal runs and sinuous, thick, melodious tones. The closest comparison I can think of would be Camel, circa Nude or Stationary Traveler (but with more instrumentals than vocal pieces), or possibly David Sylvian and Robert Fripp. There is plenty to enjoy on this CD. It's a long one, and none of the tracks get boring — as long as you're in a relaxed mood. While the compositions themselves are nothing too new or exciting, the skill and thick tone of the guitarist makes this CD enjoyable from start to finish. The vocal pieces on this album don't hit as hard as the instrumentals, but they do provide needed variety, and all of them are delivered in good taste. Recommended to fans of Camel, Pendragon, Marillion, or even darker outfits like Xaal and King Crimson.

by Steve Robey, Published 1998-02-01

Edhels, one of France's more well known symphonic rock ensembles, is back after a several year hiatus. Although there have been some personnel changes, the essential line-up of the band remains the same — keys (with a variety of sequencers), two guitars, and gated drums. For those of you (like me) who have difficulty with the lead footed drum sounds, Edhels' new album isn't going to change any minds — there's a distinct modern type sound going on. Edhels have done what many instrumental bands feel they have to do after a few albums — go for the vocalist (like Minimum Vital) and the results are not up to standard, I'm afraid. "Guinevere's Regrets" with the horrible spoken vocals is a track that sends your fingers over to the skip button, thankfully there's no worse here. The other two tracks with vocals display latter-day Peter Gabriel like pop tendencies, sophisticated and sublime, yet certainly not adventurous. As usual, the high point in any Edhels album is Ceccotti's guitar playing, yet I, for one, would like to hear him play over more interesting backdrops than DX-7 sounding sequencers. All in all, not close to their early days, and while in some of the music there is less of an attempt to be obviously melodic, the results are mixed.

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1998-02-01

Filed under: New releases, Issue 14, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Edhels, Marc Ceccotti

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