(All Album Reviews by maribor)
Vincent Hooge – keyboards
Antoine Duhem – guitars, electronics on Sons of The Empire
Matthieu Hooge – bass
Manu Delestre – drums, electronic and acoustic percussion
Guests: Sonia Rekis (accordion on 6), Alexis Therain (right track guitar solo on end of 7), Thomas Duheim (acoustic guitar on 8), Simon Godly (voice on 4)
Music by Xang, words by Manu Delestre
Xang is a French band that was started by Vincent Hooge and Manu Delestre. Later, Vincent’s brother Matthieu and Antoine Duhem would join. They already got quite a good response after their debut album Destiny of A Dream from 1999 and were thus invited to play at some prestigious prog festivals.
Xang basically have all the elements you would expect to hear in a modern prog band. They have a keyboard player that puts a lot of emphasis on playing a neo style of music, with heaps of Rick Wakeman influenced solos (I call them “Incommunicado” lines because so many neo keyboard players seem to play in a similar style as Mark Kelly did on that particular number) and tasteful piano segments. Another typical elements is a big amount of acoustic guitar work, balanced by metal riffs, which remind more of new metal than prog metal. The drummer and bass player also seem to be most comfortable playing in a rock style, but they don’t seem lost during the jazz segments.
Most of the time the band plays a neo variety of prog but sometimes they also venture into different areas. It’s quite refreshing when they move into more jazz waters or even French folk, which can primarily be heard on the track “Roommates”, where the accordion creates that typical nostalgic urban French feeling. The jazz segments are played more often than the folk ones and the keyboard player and guitarist particularly shine in those parts. There is also some sound experimentation present here and some softer, esoteric passages.
Xang create a nice album with many different hues and thus successfully display the different faces of wartime. There is joy, nostalgia, sadness, grief, hatred, aggression, basically everything that people who live through a war go through. And if I haven’t already mentioned it before, that’s what this album is about – war. That’s what links the pieces and makes it a concept. The story is also nicely presented with the excellent artwork in the booklet.
This will appeal mostly to fans of neo and prog metal.