French progressive rockers Lazuli have already released their ninth album, getting better and better over the years. Their solid dedication and a long-time steady line-up makes Le Fantastique Envol De Dieter Böhm again an interesting journey through the minds of Lazuli. Referring to a steady line-up, since 2010 the band consists of the brothers Dominique and Claude Leonetti, vocals and guitars and the Leode respectively, guitar player Gédéric Byar, keyboard and French horn player Romain Thorel and drummer percussionist Vincent Barnavol. The sound of the self-build Leode became one of the trademarks for the band.
Le Fantastique Envol De Dieter Böhm tells the story of Dieter, who represents the thoughts of the band for you, the listener. So, basically the album is a homage to their incredible loyal fans. Listening to the album I think this is the first album that did not really surprise me, the songs are beautiful, as expected. But, there is not a composition that actually stands out from the others. So steady equal quality is the power of this new album. On the other hand, where on previous albums the majority of the songs had a “happy” feeling, the overall feel of Le Fantastique Envol De Dieter Böhm is different. The tracks have a slightly more melancholic touch and work in favour of Domi's wonderful intense vocal parts. I think that is what the album is all about; musically the whole band serves the vocal parts, which I actually like very much. Nevertheless, I also prefer the dynamic instrumental passages where both guitar and leode take the lead, or when elusive percussion parts are supported by an intensely driven keyboard.
With Le Fantastique Envol De Dieter Böhm, I think Lazuli has played it safe, no big surprises, just a damn solid album with all the elements we expect. Still, Le Fantastique Envol De Dieter Böhm is more interesting than many of the average progressive rock albums, which are released nowadays. Musically again, the band convinces me with thorough craftsmanship with an album beautifully packed in an amazing looking digibook.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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