Lazuli - Saison 8

(CD 2018, 43:58, Independent Release bzz 040)

The tracks:
  1- J'attends Un Printemps(5:12)
  2- Un Linceul De Brume(6:00)
  3- Mes Amis, Mes Freres(5:45)
  4- Les Côtes(6:03)
  5- Chronique Canine(6:15)
  6- Mes Semblables(4:55)
  7- De Deux Choses Lune(4:06)
  8- Les 4 Mortes Saisons(4:45)

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Over the years, the French act Lazuli have become a very tight and solid band, where especially during their live performances the fun factor is just as important as the thorough impressive musicianship of the members. For many years now, the band remains with 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 Thorel. Besides the adventurous compositions, challenging arrangements and many influences from outside the progressive rock scene, the native vocals of Domi are the band's trademark.

Saison 8 marks the already eighth album and continues where the previous album, Nos Âmes Saoules (2016, see review) left us. Intense and emotional vocal parts combined in majestic compositions. Take the album's opener; J'attends Un Printemps. Here the subtle piano parts and adventurous drum patterns form the base for Domi's intense vocals, both guitar and leode take solo parts in this fine start of the album. The continuing Un Linceul De Brume also highlights the atmospheric emotional side of Lazuli's music, halfway thru the song, the power slightly increases, working its way towards an almost furious end, which reminds me of some King Crimson compositions. Both Mes Amis, Mes Freres and Les Côtes are songs that have a similar structure, a smooth beginning, catchy vocal parts, increasing of power, finished by an amazing solo part, either by the leode or the guitar. Chronique Canine ads an electronic touch and more intense leode sounds, which combined with the aforementioned vocal parts again makes a solid Lazuli track, ready to be played live. The happy song of the album is Mes Semblables, a pleasant up tempo tune with a catchy rhythm. The use of percussion during this song makes it one of the more cheerful tracks, certainly one we will appreciate when played live. Although the overall feeling of De Deux Choses Lune is rather dark and moody, the vocal parts are more than intriguing; catchy, recognizable and pure Lazuli. The final track on Saison 8 is a very pure one, it seems all the electronics have been left to a minimum, creating an almost acoustic setting. In a way, this does fit the band very well, returning to the basics of a song, minimal use of distractions, keeping it pure.

What can I say, Lazuli is one of the bands that I keep close to my heart. It's the intensity of the compositions, the emotional aspect in the vocals and the unique atmosphere the band has created over the years that make Lazuli who they are. Listening to Les 4 Mortes Saisons I would suggest the band record an album that is this pure, using just a minimum of instruments and I predict a brilliant album. For now Saison 8 remains beautiful and will be played over and over again.

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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