2021 (Anesthetize Productions)
Beauce is a geographical region in central France. This area also is referred to as the granary of that country because of its agricultur. Enough of master Dick, over to your blinking prognaut.
We write October 26, 2019. In the concert hall of the French town of Pierres, all the progfans from the wider Beauce area come together to enjoy the music at a small festival with an international line-up for the seventh year on a row. Respectively on the stage there is room for Nine Skies (France), Clepsydra (Switzerland), Albion (Poland) and Mystery (Canada). Quit a lot to swallow.
On June 4, 2021, the CD “Live @ Prog En Beauce” is released with the performances of Nine Skies that afternoon. The album, which sounds like a kind of official bootleg, shows an incredible amount of adrenaline. Music is not a sport otherwise you would say Les Bleus played a home game. The passion drips off, it is for flag and country so to speak.
The album contains ten tracks, eight actual songs and two speeches. The songs are from the two studio albums of the band at that time and they are played in a mixture. The debut “Return Home” is represented with four songs and the strong successor “Sweetheart Grips” as well. These eight songs clearly show Nine Skies is an excellent band despite the poor sound quality. Anyone who can listen beyond the bootleg-like sound will hear some great prog. However, it is difficult not to be blown away by the vocals of Aliénor Favier. She delivers quit a lot.
In addition to a number of excellent musicians, it is very nice Nine Skies has access to two leading multi-talents: Eric Bouillette (guitar, keys) and Alexandre Lamia (keys, acoustic guitar).
As on the studio CDs, their actions are neatly framed by the moody keyboard chords of Anne Claire Rallo and for the main part lead guitar playing of David Darnaud. Everyone asserts himself emphatically and bassist Bernard Hery and drummer Fab Galia are having a great time as well.
The first two songs, Burn My Brain and Return Home, radiate unvarnished the adrenaline level of the music. Many music lovers will be confronted with an inner split between sound and music.
A major instrument change takes place when Season Of Greed presents itself. Eric Bouillette starts playing keys and Alexandre Lamia takes up the acoustic guitar. David Darnaud still plays fantastic lead guitar. What follows next are the instrumental Catharsis and the over ten-minutes Sweetheart Grips, which unfortunately allows the overpowering vocals to dominate a little too much. With her nasal voice Aliénor Favier has enough qualities which will suit better in a gothic or metal band. In any way, she has the looks for it (on YouTube the entire performance can be seen).
The band continues strongly with Soldiers Of Shame and Fields Of Perdition. As closure there is the beautiful A Way Back (Return Home Part II).
All in all, “Live @ Prog En Beauce” is a turbulent album that will evoke the necessary mixed feelings. Well, who doesn’t want them to come up with a fantastic double CD with a DVD added to it?
© Dick van der Heijde 2022