Shylock - Ile de Fière

Year of Release: 1996
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4177.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:41:00

Back in the mid to late 1970s, the French group Shylock issued two albums, the first of which was poorly recorded and unexciting (although it does have a few good moments). Ile de Fière (1978), the second album, however, is a progressive-rock lover's dream, featuring sophisticated arrangements, inventive improvisation, and lots of cooking King Crimson-like grooves. If you like the band Anglagard, you'll be crazy about the first and longest song on Ile de Fière, as it sounds bunches like that well respected Swedish group (who wouldn't, by the way, record their great albums until over 10 years later, so who sounds like whom, eh?). The title track is definitely Shylock's masterpiece.

With the second composition on the album, you'll swear that you've found a long-lost King Crimson session. The Fripp-like guitar sound and almost avant-garde arrangement sounds reminiscent of the Larks' Tongues in Aspic album. ("The Talking Drum" comes to mind.) A choir keyboard patch playing a decidedly classical passage that comprises the album's second and appropriately titled song, "Choral," leads the way into the mostly improvisational piece, "Himogène." This piece is still in the King Crimson vein at first, yet sounds less derivative as it goes on due to the funky groove that provides the framework for a fusion-style guitar solo unlike anything dear Robert F. ever played.

The short track, "Lierre D'aujourd'hui," again treads near the avant-garde with piano, guitar, and bass vying for the most discord, before the 10-minute "Laocksetal" brings the album back into King Crimson territory, with howling guitar and pulsing bass laid over an impressive drum performance that sounds a lot like Bill Bruford's genius. This song goes through the requisite prog changes -- including a loud and annoying synth chirp that I could do without -- before the noise relinquishes the album to a laid-back keyboard and guitar theme that builds over the course of the nine-minute final piece. This final piece is a bonus track that sounds like it was "rescued" from a bad tape. There are a lot of drop-outs in the high-frequency range that, unfortunately, make this decent track barely listenable.

The bonus track notwithstanding, this is enjoyable stuff. Anyone who digs the darker side of prog rock -- especially King Crimson instrumentals -- will want have a copy of Shylock's Ile de Fière on their shelf. Keep it within easy reach; you'll be playing it often.

Ile de Fière (12:59) / Le Sang Des Capucines (5:37) / Choral (1:52) / Himogène (5:15) / Lierre D'aujourd'hui (2:19) / Laocksetal (10:27) / Le Dernier (9:12)

André Fisichella - drums, percussion
Frédéric L'epee - guitars
Didier Lustig - keyboards
Serge Summa - bass

Giarlogues (1976)
Ile de Fière (1978)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FR

Added: December 1st 2000
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Hits: 1240
Language: english


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