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Machiavel - Mechanical Moonbeams CD (album) cover



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4 stars A real good, quite surprising effort by this belgian band. Genesis influences are evident here, but they never sound like a clone. "Beyond the silence" is a great song but I regard the whole album as one of the best released in 1978. Recommended.
Report this review (#4584)
Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Their peak period but I always thought that this was overdone but it got carried away in this so-called eurock along with Kayak and Eloy which never did much for me. Somehow I always thought that Machiavel was too derivative of Genesis , Camel , Supertramp and to a lesser extent Yes . However Machiavel did a lot of good stuff to the Belgian music industry bringing a rock credibility and made a lot of people realize that Belgian bands could aldo make it big - later bands like DeuS owe a great deal to Machiavel if not on the musical inspiration at least in the possibility for existing.
Report this review (#4586)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent classical progressive rock with some real meat behind the bones. MACHIAVEL offers complex keyboard driven prog in a vein not unlike later GENESIS ("Wind & Wuthering"). Vocals are in English and and quite solid with some real nifty vocal harmonies and juxtaposition. Songs are very well written and performed with the highest of musical talent. CD transfer is nice and clean and has been remastered with careful precision. "Mechanical Moonbeams" offers a wide range of moods, breaking out in a few spots with fairly radical rock moments to gentle and harmonic ballad-like structures. This is an excellent progressive rock recording and deserves the labels as a classic.
Report this review (#4587)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars The first track "After the silence" is one of the most sumptuous compositions I've ever heard, what an exciting changing climates, exciting use of the choir-Mellotron and spectacular Minimoog flights, if this CD only consisted of this composition I would have bought it anyway!! But of course there's more: enjoy the very melodic and harmonic 24- carat symphonic rock compositions featuring wonderful shifting moods, ranging from mellow with moving vocals, delicate piano and warm acoustic guitars to bombastic with great keyboards (organ, piano, strings, Mellotron) and sensitive electric guitarwork. The music has echoes from Seventies Yes and Genesis but in general this is unique progrock, the best Belgium ever offered. A MUST FOR EVERY PROGROCK AFICIONADO AND DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THEIR TWO PREVIOUS ALBUMS!!!
Report this review (#39272)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Carrying on in the Genesis-oid prog rock style of JESTER, with wailing electric guitars, chimingh 12-strings, harmonic vocals and layers of symphonic keys. This one has a bit more of a lighthearted feel than the dark and brooding JESTER album. Also, a hard-rock feel starts to surface on "Summon up your strength" and live favourite "After the crop". On these songs, Mario Guccio sounds unnervingly like Bon Scott of AC/DC, a very weird effect when pitted against choral Mellotrons!

Apart from the artwork, which is every bit as twisted as that included with JESTER, the urge for surrealism seems to have been tempered here; apart from the latter part of "After the crop" and the tongue-in-cheek reference to the tunes from the JESTER album on "The fifth season", these tunes seem to be more or less Genesis-like story songs.

Report this review (#46476)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the first Machiavel album I've heard. It's serviceable late-70s symphonic. There are some strong points- the English vocals are mercifully unaccented and the lyrics aren't bad, although a bit non- descript. The singing is excellent, if a bit twee. A good area of keyboard sounds, el-piano, mellotron and synth are used, and the production is excellent. The guitar playing, especially the acoustic playing, is pleasant but unobtrusive. The band's sound at this point was a mix of Camelish soft prog with a Supertrampish pop sensibility. There seems to be some attempt at Gallic high drama, but it pales in comparison to more histrionic French contemporaries like Ange and Mona Lisa. All in all, a good CD, but not one which left much of a lingering impression. B-grade late 70s European sympho which you'll enjoy if you are a collector of that genre.
Report this review (#52473)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ok. I don't want to repeat all those stuff already written... A bit Genesis, a little bit Yes, Supertrampish, Camelo´de, ProgEurockSymphonic and so on. Machiavel sounds only Machiavel. Plug me Machiavel in my right ear and Genesis in my left ear (or reverse) I can always find where Machiavel is. You can do that also hearing Mecanical Moonbeam. It isn't the best ever album of all the time of course, but it's a good effort. Anyway, I give 2,5 stars. Because I don't like so much slow songs, and the weakest part of this album is that, once again, one can ear the poor english accent of the singer Marc Ysaye on "Mary" and that one of Guccio on other songs too.

Rope Dancer, is 'le slow qui tue' (killing slow), and to take a comparison (yes, it's my turn now), it tastes like any 10CC slow song. So, not so bad to any lover of that kind of song.

The best tracks are : "Beyond the silence" (very fantastic speeded piece), "Rope dancer" (if you want to murmur something to your girlfriend or more...), "After the Crop" (really, really good) and the "5th Season". Listen carefuly to the drums section. Ysaye is a very huge drummer. All those songs bear the signature of Machiavel, the sound of Machiavel.

Report this review (#58457)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is probably their most symphonic album. A very good introduction to their catalogue if you want to discover this side of their work (which is the more interesting).

The mood is set with "Beyond The Silence". A very strong opener featuring bombastic keyboards and a very dynamic rhythmic section. Great song, indeed. "Summon Up The Strenght" is a bit more hectic. Machiavel will release several songs of this genre. Theme and rhythm changes are nice, but in this song it is a bit loose. Sounds as a collage of different short tunes. Keyboards are Supertramp-oriented (this was already to be noticed in the song "Jester"). The song ends up almost hard-rocking (which is not to dislike me).

Now, "Rope Dancer". The first Belgian hit from Machiavel. They will release several popular songs (amongst the Belgian fans). Each of them will have a good airing on Begian radios; and even if some of you might be irritated; I just like them a bunch. I guess that the very melancholic mood, some souvenirs from dancing parties... make this song special to me. So, you'll either press next or listen to it again after the first hearing. I hope the latter will be your choice.

"Rebirth" is not so pleasant. After an almost folkish, medieval intro for over two minutes, the song finally kicks a bit. But the melody is not strong, at times Machiavel will get an ELP-ish sound which is not convincing. The Banks-oriented finale ("Cinema Show) is very pleasant though.

"After The Crop" is probably the heights of their prog production. Again, the typical Machivel structure is there : complex rhythm changes thoughout these 7'52". Crescendo construction etc. It is just a beautiful song. Emotional and gentle during the intro, sounding as "Rope Dancer" a little later, and finally a true rock song during the second part. Another highlight.

Machiavel remains in the Genesis territory with "Mary", a sweet ballad full of romanticism. Nice acoustic guitar and some flute will automatically bring you back to "Trespass". But, that's fine with me. A tranquil moment. An apetizer for the closing number : "The Fifth Season" which has the classic Machiavel signature described earlier on. Another very good song to close this album.

This album is on par with "Jester". Although I prefer "Jester" by an inch, I will rate this album with four stars as well. Both works are recomended. Give them a try, you won't be deceived. That's a promise.

Report this review (#132825)
Posted Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Third album of Machiavel and again an excellent one. Mechanical moonbeans is from 1978 and is in the same vein with the predecesor Jester. Machiavel plays a symphonic prog not far from Genesis (Wind & wuthering era), some Supetramp and Styx ideas and a little bit of Queen , specially on choruses. This is a great album and by far among the best in Machiavel catalog along with Jester. The music has some very fine and intelligent keybords arrangements, specially on mellotron, and strong voice of Mario Guccio, the rythmic section is also great and deed a great job again. Some pieces are really a pleasure to listen , like opening track Beyond the silence, the smooth and very attractive slow one Rope dancer, and Rebirth, the rest are also good. All in all Machiavel last great album in my opinion, the next release are more pop with prog leanings. This album along with Jester might be considered among the best from Belgian prog music, and desearves 4 stars without hesitation.
Report this review (#182908)
Posted Saturday, September 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars MACHIAVEL are from Belgium and most feel that this album or the previous record "Jester" were their best works.This was released rather late in the game in 1978 but they used lots of mellotron which sort of saves it for me actually. Only one track doesn't have it.

"Beyond The Silence" opens with outbursts of sound with mellotron in between. It goes downhill for me when the vocals arrive before a minute.The tempo proceeds to shift quite a bit. I do like the sound before 5 minutes with the vocals and mellotron standing out to the end. "Summon Up Your Strength" opens with synths and mellotron as reserved vocals join in. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes with aggressive vocals that remind me of Roger Daltry. "Rope Dancer" has a pastoral mood with reserved vocals. It's somewhat fuller before 2 minutes.

"Rebirth" is also mellow to start with laid back vocals.The tempo starts to pick up some.Things turn into a fast paced affair including the vocals. Mellotron before 4 minutes then it calms right down before rebuilding. "After The Crop" opens with acoustic guitar and fragile vocals. It gets fuller before 1 1/2 minutes then it gets really full 4 minutes in. A pulsating beat comes in after 5 minutes joined by aggressive vocals. "Mary" is pastoral with acoustic guitar as soft vocals join in. "The Fifth Season" opens with piano and drums as spoken words join in. It picks up with vocals.The tempo picks up even more before 4 1/2 minutes.The guitar is crying out before 7 minutes to the end.

A good album but not even close to being 4 stars.

Report this review (#356396)
Posted Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permalink

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