With his band Nemo on a hiatus and I guess his side project Wolfspring isn't very active at the moment either, Jean-Pierre Louveton bandleader of both bands has been focussing on his solo albums the last couple of years. One massive challenging project he started a few years ago was the epic trilogy called Sapiens. Quite impressed by both Sapiens - Chapitre 1/3: Exordium (2020, see review) and Sapiens - Chapitre 2 /3: Deus Ex Machina (2021, see review) I was looking forward to the final chapter: Chapitre 3/3: Actum. For this final chapter, Jean Pierre Louveton gets the assistance of several guests; like his Nemo colleagues Jean Baptiste Itier on drums and Guillaume Fontaine on keyboards, but also bass player Didier Vernet and Florent Ville on drums and keyboards.
The final chapter starts with Paradis Perdu, a close to six minutes, foremostly instrumental composition, keyboard orientated with a delicate hunch of jazz. The guitar parts form a heavier, powerful contrast that brings both elements of this very pleasant opener together. Somewhere on two thirds of the track JP's vocals enter, first very smooth, later gaining on power. Like the previous track, Mon Cercueil holds a lot of virtual instruments and is built upon many layers. This smooth composition sees vocal assistance of Stéphanie Vouillot and has a very nice guitar solo. I like the tranquillity in JP's vocals during this song, which also features a nice catchy Leprous reminding segment. More powerful and organic is the ambitious Alias (La machine²). A track that contrasts against the previous more melancholic compositions, including a dark mysterious mid-section with spoken words, which perfectly suits the song. Dansez Maintenant is perhaps the track with the most modern sound, influences of Muse, a funky driving bass and an old school hurdy gurdy, combines with the outstanding drum patterns give this track a real modern sound. JP's vocals are less melancholy this time, giving this track an optimistic feel. The grand finale of the trilogy comes as a five part epic monster: Memento Mori. Twenty three minutes of impressive music. The orchestral, almost classical Marche Vers l'inconnu leads the way, to grow into Tempus Fugit, a symphonic parts with heavy guitars. La Mort Du Roi has an incredible driving bass, that paves the way for a diversity of Frank Zappa kind of elements, JP's vocal parts, delicate piano sections and an inspired guitar solo. Paria enters with a piano part that turns into a nice technical part, where jazz rules by the saxophone of Sylvain Haon. A strong point is the jazz parts are alternated with elements from progressive metal. The final part of Memento Mori is Acta Fabula Est, a smooth, growing composition with a soundscape feel, hunches of Pink Floyd, well educated orchestrations and great soloing.
Overall, Actum turns out to be the most modern progressive rock album of the trilogy. The heavy use of the virtual instruments and electronics and additional influences from either jazz or classic make the final chapter a very diverse one. The one that brings all elements from both previous albums together in a perfect closure.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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