(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
Wow! I must have listened to this CD at least ten times on the day I got it. It hasn't gone far from my player since then, either.
Formed by Donald Fleurent in Quebec, Talisma has been around in one form or another since 1993. Today the group consists of Donald on all sorts of monster basses in the 6, 7 and 12 string variety, guitars, synths and guitar synths; Martin Vanier plays guitars and guitar synth; and Mark Di Claudio on drums and percussion.
The music on Corpus is powerful yet melodic. Almost totally instrumental, they can be heavy at times but not really in the metal sense. Talisma's style is complex and dramatic but extremely easy on the ears. This is very diverse album, one song can be a fun lighthearted romp and the next one may be a moody atmospheric piece. All of the tracks are kept fairly short (none go much farther than the four minute mark) but they are full of action making the CD a very fast-paced listen. When it's all over my instinct is to just press the play button again.
Along with the very skilled guitar work, most of the tunes are augmented with excellent effects and synth patches. This is especially evident on "L'EmpalÚ" which has a wild and haunting mellotron sound that reminds me of ─nglagňrd. In most cases it's as if the band has a keyboard player, sometimes they sound too full for it to just be a trio. This must be very difficult to pull off live but I'd love to see them try someday. Although I find the band is extremely talented, they never trade interesting thoughtful melodies just for chops' sake.
Guesting on the song "Mr. Twitts" are percussionists Alain Boyer and Felix LÚroux, who give the piece a cool Latin flavor. Also featured on the album is vocalist Nathalie Renault who gets credited for being on two tracks but I hear other parts on the album with female vocals as well. She has a very infectious scat style that goes really well with the music. "Freezone" is one of the most original songs I've heard in recent times but it sounds like it could have been recorded decades ago.
Overall, this is a wonderful work that I'm sure will stand the test of time. Unicorn records has another winner on their hands here. As is the case with label-mates Spaced Out, Talisma will be a powerful force in the world of complex instrumental music.