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Strinkadenn CD Cover
Image © Musea Records 2001 

(05 May 2002) The debut album from French progressive ensemble Seven Reizh is a ten track (track 10 is the intro track 11) masterpiece entitled Strinkadenn (Musea (France) FGBG 4408.AR, 2001). Composed by Claude Mignon and written by Gérard Le Dortz, the album tells a story, the quest of Enora, a young girl looking for herself through celtic legends and mysteries.

A bevy of guest artists contribute to the project including the Mevel brothers (Kad, Tri-yann), Farid Aït-Siameur and Olivier Carole (Tayfa), le bagad pehars, and the stunning female vocalist, Bleunwenn (Glaz, Tri-yann), whose voice is similar to Annie Haslam. Characterised as somewhere between Pink Floyd--for atmospheres, keyboards, dounds--and Dan ar Bras or Tri-yann, with sometimes a progressive touch a la Marillion, the album is a masterpiece of modern music, wonderfully composed, played and produced. A splendid full colour booklet accompanies the compact disc.

While the label has characterised the album one way, the careful listener will also pull out equal doses of modern Clannad, Capercaillie and Yes with a touch of Iona as well. The pipes blend perfectly with modern electric guitar and keyboards while choirs add lovely texture to the more orchestral pieces. Even utterings of heavy metal can be heard within the tracks. Lyrics are entirely in French but it matters not, as the material could equally be Gaellic.

Bleunwenn's crystalline vocals soar above the instrumentals as she plays Enora, comparible in range to Maire Brennan, Karen Matheson and Annie Haslam in the various parts of the album. Harmony vocal layers add texture in the more instrumentally rich passages. The blend of progressive rock and Celtic-edged material works quite well throughout.

In addition to the standout epic-length opening track "Selaou," listeners will be drawn to the highly memorable keyboard and pipe melodies, lovely vocals and orchestral arrangements within the epic "Hybry'ys." Progressive textures and crisp percussion accent the Celtic traditional melody on the pipes in "Kan Ker'ys."

The upbeat "Tad Ha Mamm" includes a lovely Karen Matheson-style vocal part and blends powerful electric guitar, flute and keyboards with pipes--especially in the powerful closing solo--to be the most memorable number on the album.

The flavour is further developed in "Enora Ha Mael," a gentle Celtic-style ballad that echoes Bleunwenn's lovely vocal part with harmony layers, pipes and keyboards. A final dramatic, atmospheric and orchestral epic entitled "Mall Eo Monet Da Ys"--blending Celtic sounds with progressive rock textures--concludes the album.

Electric and acoustic guitar licks are perfectly punctuated by crisp modern and traditional percussion. The progressive metal edges of "Naer Ar Galloud" include powerful rhythm and lead electric guitar, driving bass and a growling male vocal part that drifts in and out around Bleunwenn's sweetly contrasting lead and an equally lovely acoustic guitar melody.

This album will draw the listener into it from the first play, but repeated experiences are necessary to reveal the innermost beauty of the masterpiece. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order this stunning album from amazon.com here. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, Seven Reizh's Strinkadenn is a must listen!

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