Exposé Online banner

Visitors — Visitors
(Musea FGBG 4106.AR, 1974/1994, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2016-04-10:

Visitors Cover art

Here is a short one-off Musea reissue that deserves some notice. Forget the tacky artwork of the alien invaders, Visitors contains some very strong music. Believe it or not, there are 20 musicians (including four keyboard players) and singers (11 to be exact) on this obscure French concept album from 1974. The music bears a strong resemblance to Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple but there are enough experimental sound effects and studio tricks to keep the music out of the seventies rock idiom. The Gregorian singing that pops up in several places anticipates the gothic bands of twenty years later. The music works on several levels but it may take several listenings for you to get into it. But at 30 minutes, who cares? Visitors is definitely a Musea release to buy, if not for the music, then for Didier Lockwood’s pre-Magma performance.


by Peter Thelen, 1995-03-01:

The brainchild of producer Jean-Pierre Massiera, Visitors was his project "band," intended to be a one-shot affair and go no further. Massiera utilized an expanded lineup featuring several lead vocalists (including himself), multi-guitars, multi-keyboards, basses, Fender Rhodes, violin, and multiple backing vocalists, somewhere between eight and fourteen members, with a lot of extras standing in. Musicians of note include Bernard Torelli (guitar) who later turned up in Atlantide, and most notably the Lockwood brothers Francis and Didier on Rhodes and violin respectively, the latter who would go on to Magma, Zao, and a prolific solo career. "Dies Irae" opens the album, a haunting progressive hard-rock opus with Gregorian-like chanting, heavy organ with Leslie, and vocal harmonies that sometimes recall early Blackmore era Deep Purple or Vanilla Fudge with heavy reverb applied — a powerhouse of invention, ripping guitar, violin solos and all-around heavy jamming. Throughout the album, the vocals (mostly in French) are arranged in a typically early seventies rock style, with the addition of Massiera's low-pitch, often demented ravings — no more so than at the beginning of "Terre-Larbour," where the multi-synths and effects grow out from behind his frightening introduction. The Lockwood brothers seem to bring a jazz element to the music, although it rarely overpowers the rock base. There is plenty of experimentation here as well, especially with vocals, as evidenced in "Nous" or the title track. I must admit that I wasn't overly impressed with the album on first listen, mainly because of its dated elements, although certain things did stand out. By the end of the third listen I was completely sold, this is a brilliant album, extremely inventive, with top-notch musicianship throughout, and one that I'm sure many would enjoy.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 6 , 1994 releases, 1974 releases

Related artist(s): Jean-Pierre Massiera / Visitors / Atlantide, Francis Lockwood / Volkor, Didier Lockwood

More info

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...

Fred Frith - Nowhere. Sideshow. Thin Air. – As one might guess from the title, this is a three-in-one – in this case three commissioned dance pieces by three different choreographers (one recent and two a bit older) that coexist together...  (2010) » Read more

Anekdoten - A Time of Day – Anekdoten’s first release in three years finds them on familiar ground. In the 90s they pioneered combining alt rock grunge with the heavy prog of 70s King Crimson. They’re back at it here, though...  (2008) » Read more

Timothy Pure - The Fabric of Betrayal – It's refreshing to hear new bands that sound like they've never heard a Marillion record in their life, in fact in the case of Atlanta's Timothy Pure, my impression is that they may be strangers to...  (1995) » Read more

Finnforest - Finnforest / Lähtö Matkalle – At the core of this classic Finnish prog-fusion unit were two brothers, Pekka and Jussi Tegelman, on guitars and drums respectively. They recorded three albums in the mid-late 70s; the first two are...  (1996) » Read more

Toccata - Circe – The first thing that occurred to me when listening to Toccata was their similarity to Matraz. Both are relatively new progressive bands that aren’t really neo-prog; both have strong female...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues