Exposé Online banner

Hamadryad — Safe in Conformity
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5020, 2005, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2006-05-01

Safe in Conformity Cover artMontreal-based outfit Hamadryad’s sophomore effort finds them consolidating the gains made with their widely-hailed 2001 debut, Conservation of Mass. The band faced a serious challenge with lead singer Jocelyn Beaulieu’s departure in 2002, though bassist Jean-Francois Desilets’ assumption of those duties hasn’t dampened their creative energies (though I have to wonder how this will translate to the stage). This album is brimming with classic progressive rock vitality and panache, mostly recalling Genesis at their best, though Gentle Giant gets several nods as well, particularly on the heady closer “Omnipresent Umbra.” Guitarist Denis Jalbert chews scenery from start to finish, firing off blistering electric leads and solos one moment, charming the ear with blankets of gentle 12-string the next, and covering metal and alt-rock grunge besides. Almost as good is keyboard player Francis Doucet who is a superb player, though his role is more foundational and his choice of coloration and textures is more derivative. Rounding out the quartet is drummer Yves Jalbert (Denis’ brother) who should perhaps back off the Neal Peart act some, though with such a dynamic instrumental stew it’s better to have an overly-active player than the reverse. I found Desilets’ singing an obstacle to enjoying the album at first, though this passed after successive listenings. Besides, his bass work (not to mention bass pedals) is terrific. While not blazing any new ground, Hamadryad have nonetheless managed to produce a weighty collection of well-crafted and superbly executed prog rock that many Exposé readers will surely enjoy. Recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Hamadryad

Latest news

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Klaus Schulze - Silver Edition – Silver Edition is a limited edition of 2000 boxed sets of 10 CDs sold on a subscription basis with the unsold sets finding their way to the mail order houses like Eurock and Ultima Thule at a much...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues