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
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
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more