Lest are a progressive rock band from the Strasbourg-area in France. Many things happened since they started in 1995. However, they never had the possibility to record an album until lately! The progressive rock community could recently welcome their debut Odysseus. The trio Sebastien Mauve (lead voice, synths, guitars), Kickers (drums, synths) and Pascal Rameix (bass, synths) managed to come up with a rather strong album. The seven compositions on Odysseus really have something to tell. Sure, you can hear that it's a debut album on which not everything sounds perfectly. For example, singer Sebastien Mauve has a clear French accent while singing the English lyrics. I think it would have been better if he had sung them in his native language. That would have suited the music better since Lest have a rather French style of playing that was very common for progressive rock bands in France and other French speaking countries in the seventies and eighties. In that way you can compare Lest to bands as Atoll, Pulsar, Galaad and Eclat.
However, on their website on Facebook they mention to be influenced and inspired by quite another number of bands like Genesis, Camel, Eloy, Barclay James Harvest, Rush, Marillion, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Kansas, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Caravan, King Crimson, Queen and Blue Oyster Cult. One way or another you can hear certain elements taken from these bands on the seven tracks. Maybe they should have mentioned a band like Muse as well, because Mauve's singing is quite similar to the singing of Matthew Bellamy. In general, the musicians of Lest play rather strong on their instruments. Especially the guitar and keyboard solos are very tastefully done. Therefore these tracks never get boring or contain dull moments.
I'm afraid that Odysseus will not be bought by many lovers of progressive rock, because Lest is still an unknown band. Those who ignore this album will certainly miss a number of strong tracks with music strongly related to the aforementioned bands and the progressive rock made in the seventies. My advice is: check them out on their website. Maybe you'll discover another unknown, but great band just like I did!
***+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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