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Atlantide - Atlantide CD (album) cover

ATLANTIDE

Atlantide

 

Eclectic Prog

3.18 | 25 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars More a studio project comprised essentially of session players for French producer and musical engineer Jean-Pierre Massiera than a full-fledged band, Atlantide released a reliable self-titled symphonic-prog album in 1976, but unfortunately, for all the skill offered by the musicians involved, the album holds a somewhat negative reputation for being a frequently blatant Yes imitation, something instantly noticeable right from the first play. Careful listening reveals some teasing little original ideas of dreamy interludes, warm male/female vocals, hard-rocking intensity and psychedelic spacey passages a world away from the more well-known prog band, but they are frustratingly fleeting compared to the hero-worship on display throughout the majority of the disc.

Running a lean 32 minutes and sung in French, the album opens with the title-track `Atlantide' that instantly calls to mind Yes from the very first second, a blistering bass and guitar line that almost completely rips off their classic opening attack from `Heart of the Sunrise'. Thankfully vocalist Patrick Attali's voice has its own distinct charm, and there's also some delicate middle-eastern percussive flavours and restrained sitar droning woven to the first half as well. Despite a melody that drifts a little close to the verses of `I've Seen All Good People', `Le Regard Des Dieux' is a lovely ballad with gentle male/female voices singing in unison, it's just a tragedy that the piece stops dead at just before the three minute mark when it could have done with an additional verse or even a closing solo. `Images', a solo acoustic piece, ends the first side, serving exactly the same purpose as those charming Steve Howe performed interludes do on so many Yes albums, and despite sounding alarmingly like `Mood for a Day' in a few spots, it's still a skilfully performed track.

The twelve minute `Soleil Noir' opens the second side and is the showcase piece of the album. Look past the opening stolen `Relayer' moments and chiming guitars playing the melody of a section of `Yours is No Disgrace' and listen out for the dramatic thrashing drumming, murky murmuring bass and a melancholic yet romantic lead vocal. But best of all, and it's absolutely the best part of the album, an instrumental break in the middle unleashes a battery of pummelling mucky guitars that wouldn't have been out of place on the dirtier RPI albums, leading to a splintering spacey passage that sounds like a cross between the more jagged King Crimson moments and the classic albums of fellow French band Pulsar. The reverberating opening of `Reverie' that will make every single listener straight away think of Yes' `Roundabout' introduction proves to be a distraction from an eerily shimmering acoustic acid folk lament, which thankfully ends the album on a more original note (with an echoing fragility not unlike Pulsar again), but it's also tragically brief and seems incomplete.

Some Seventies groups like Blakulla and Chameleon had undeniable traces of Yes-like sounds, while more blatant bands such as Starcastle are often instantly dismissed as being an outright clone of the defining symphonic band. With Atlantide, we have another of the latter kind, a band you'll have to decide whether you can simply enjoy, influences and all, or whether you think they might not be worth the time. There's undeniable talent involved in the album, but it's a little disappointing that the hints of original ideas and styles are mostly pushed to the background in favour of Yes-like sounds, making it something of a missed opportunity. Still, it's convincingly performed, well composed and easy to enjoy with lovely vocals, so maybe that's enough?

Three stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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