Machiavel — Machiavel
(EMI 7891622, 1976/1993, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-05-01
Here, finally, is the long awaited reissue of the first album by this renowned Belgian symphonic-rock band, who would go on to release two more excellent albums (Jester, Mechanical Moonbeams) before a rapid slide to a very commercial sound. At the time of the first album, Machiavel was a four piece of guitars, keys, bass and drums – with drummer Marc Ysaye handling lead vocals (full-time vocalist Mario Guccio had not yet joined the band). The sound is keyboard dominated (keys provided by Albert Letecheur, who also had a hand in writing most of the tracks on the album proper), a style very lush and atmospheric, strongly influenced by the Genesis school, and possibly some Supertramp as well, but more moody and a bit more classically oriented, original enough to not elicit constant comparison to other bands of the time (but a few bands who were to come along later – most notably Taurus, and more recently Differences – seem to have been strongly influenced by the sound of early Machiavel).
The guitars, acoustic and electric, are handled capably by Jack Roskam, and generally not prominent until solo time. Bassist Roland De Greef adds a nice cello solo on one track. The compositions vary from longer tracks in the eight-minute-plus range, lengthy story pieces with plenty of changes, to a couple shorter tracks with a more song-like structure, and one minute-and-a-half guitar track penned by Roskam. Ysaye's voice is tempered, suited perfectly for this music, not too out-front, yet powerful enough to handle the emotional peaks within some of the longer tracks. The three CD bonus tracks are all shorter pieces in the three minute range from two years earlier, and bear some resemblance to the rest of the album, mostly due to Ysaye's voice. In all this is a good reissue worth seeking out.
Related artist(s): Machiavel
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
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
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
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
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more