During the 10th Convention of Prog-Résiste held in Verviers in Belgium, I met one of the band members of Belgian outfit Madelgaire. They had performed at the festival on the opening day I didn’t visit; I’m not familiar with this band, or with its music. Therefore I was curious to learn how they would sound. The band offered me a free copy of their debut album (Im)Patience, but in return they wanted me to write a positive review. I guess that must have been a joke! Our readers know that you have to earn a good review and not getting one by giving away a free CD. Background would be very untrustworthy if we did.
When I got home from the festival, I put the disc in my CD-player without having any expectations. Wow..! It appeared to be very good prog music sounding very professional! This Belgian band certainly knows how to play strong progressive rock music! Madelgaire’s line-up consists of two guitar players, two lead singers and a keyboard player showing they are able to achieve a lot music wise. The first track Gimme A Light immediately proves this statement. The music on this piece has a very high quality level! The influences of the early seventies progressive rock bands as Genesis, Yes and Camel are obviously present in many ways. Especially the keyboard parts played by Bertrand Vanvarembergh show that he must own the early albums of Yes and Genesis. The many Hammond, Mellotron and Moog-sounds reveal that both Rick Wakeman and Tony Banks must belong to his favourite musician s. The band has the disposal of two lead singers with strong voices also in close harmony singing. The voices of Dominique Lossignol, who plays almost all acoustic guitars and some electric guitars as well, and Pascal Rocteur (drums, sounds effects) are quite similar to the way Jon Anderson sings in Yes. Also the guitar parts on the first track are very tastefully done. Sometimes Stéphane Letertre uses some distortion in the guitar sound, but it never gets disturbing. Sometimes his playing reminded me of Steve Hackett on the early Genesis-albums.
The second track shows a different, but a pleasant side that I enjoyed a lot. On Les Banquets d’Equinoxe the music of the band moves towards the musical style of Ange. In the seventies, this famous French band was very popular in France and in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium. On this track all lyrics are sung in French. I enjoyed it a lot because the emotion and the passion of the voices are more evident. That’s not so strange if you know that the band hails from Wallonia. The song is divided into three parts and contains many moods and changes. Sometimes mellow, sometimes mid-tempo and at other times up-tempo, but you can always enjoy the fabulous playing on the keyboards and guitars. The bombastic Mellotron-parts are a real treat for every prog head. Apart from the many Ange-influences it may be a good thing to tell that the music also strongly refers to the so-called neo-prog bands like Pendragon, IQ or early Marillion.
Seul Le Fou Reste Silencieux is the shortest track on (Im) Patience and was – according to the reaction of an audience at the end of the song – recorded live. The song title might indicate that this piece is sung in French, but that’s not the case. It’s an instrumental piece entirely performed on the acoustic guitar. In a way it reminded me a bit of Horizons of Genesis. On the last piece Regrets, the band returns to the musical style of the opening track. This is again a great song with many fine instrumental moments. However, I heard some other influences too. The melody and the way they played the Mellotron and the electric guitar made me think of French band Pulsar who made some name in the seventies. People who own the albums The Strands Of The Future, Pollen and Halloween might recognize these influences. I even heard some early King Crimson-influences; Robert Fripp is never far away!
Anyway, it doesn’t matter who influenced Madelgaire as long as the music is of a high quality. All the songs sound just great and offer many fine moments of listening. That’s why I can recommend this album to people who enjoy the music of all the bands mentioned in this review. The musicians of Madelgaire can be very proud of their debut album. It’s of an international quality level and it shows that the rest of the world can’t deny progressive rock from Belgium any longer! Mindgames, Neo-Prophet, Quantum Fantay and Madelgaire put Belgium back on the prog map!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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