Big Hairy Monster!
Arachnoid was my first taste of French progressive rock, and what a great taste at that! As of the writing of this review, the only other French prog that I can compare this album with would be Pulsar's The Strands Of The Future, which in my eyes doesn't hold a candle to Arachnoid's self-titled release.
During prog's 1970s heyday there were numerous bands that released one masterpiece and disappeared from view...and this disc is one of them. This Musea release originally saw the light of day in 1978, and is sung in entirely in French. This is not really a problem, as the music tends to be more instrumental than vocal--however, when Marc Meryl's vocals do kick in they can be a little abrasive. Think of Il Balletto Di Bronzo's vocalist singing in French and you'll get the idea. Meryl's spoken word passages are far better than when he gets to yelling...and fortunately the yelling is occasional to rare on the album.
The music can move from angular and dark Crimson-esque songs, like the opener "Le Chamadere", to the pretty E.L.P.-ish piano movement that opens "Piano Caveau". The overall mood this album conveys to me is haunting foreboding. For comparison, I would place this album side by side with Il Balletto Di Bronzo's YS, Island's Pictures, a certain amount of King Crimson's Lizard to Starless And Bible Black period, and perhaps Van Der Graaf''s Godbluff, in terms of mood. Banco also comes to mind as well as certain passages that remind me of Hatfield & The North.
The playing throughout is fantastic yet not quite virtuosic. You won't hear many Wakeman like keyboard runs or Neil Peart drumming...however, all the pieces fit so well together that it makes the songs sound more difficult than they really are.
I highly, HIGHLY recommend this disk.
Marc Meryl, lead vocals, tambourine
Nicolas Popowski, guitar, vocals
Patrick Woindrich, bass, guitar, vocals
Francois Faugieres, organ, Mellotron, vocals Pierre Kuti, acoustic and electric pianos, synths
Bernard Minig, drums
Philippe Honore, flute, saxophone
Yves Javault, vocals
Christine Mariey, voice
Martine Rateau, voice
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