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Symphonic Prog • France

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Halloween biography
The French group HALLOWEEN was one of the first new progressive rock groups to emerge from the late 80's. Heavy Prog band with strong influences from the 70's classic bands in general. Very orchestrated sound with a nice violin giving the final touch. "Part One" in 1988, a dark and mysterious symphonic sound with H.P. Lovecraft (the author) influence. "Merlin" is a superb third production from this French band. Vocals are in both English and French.

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Halloween: Scary StoriesHalloween: Scary Stories
Bci / Eclipse Music 2001
Audio CD$1.90
$1.31 (used)
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HALLOWEEN discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

HALLOWEEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.54 | 20 ratings
Part One
2.78 | 15 ratings
3.20 | 21 ratings
3.95 | 18 ratings
Le Festin

HALLOWEEN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 10 ratings dernier rang

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Laz by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.78 | 15 ratings

Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars 1989 and Halloween arose as a regular band with the addition of Philippe Di Faostino on drums in the place of Thierry Gillet and Yann Honoré on bass.They entered again the Studio Bleu in Bevern to record their sophomore album ''Laz''.This time though the producer was Francis Grosse, the boss of Musea Records.Originally the album was released in 1990 in LP format, followed by a CD reissue 4 years later with the extra track ''Suburb'', coming from the same sessions of the original album's recordings.

The formula used was about the same with ''Part one'', a challenging, deeply atmospheric Symphonic Rock with light Fusion overtones and plenty of dramatic moments, either offered through the irritating violin plays of Jean-Philippe Brun or the orchestral choirs and keyboards of Gilles Coppin, particularly strengthened by some theatrical vocal lines.Play by play Halloween start to remind of the more haunting and occult French Symphonic Rock groups like SHYLOCK, ATOLL or CARPE DIEM, though their sound suffers from this 80's-styled production and the heavy use of synthesizers.The first side of the album is the strongest with a couple of impressive, rich and powerful tracks full of violin moves, soaring synthesizers and deep orchestrations, having a depressive and haunting atmosphere.The second side is a bit excessive and largely instrumental, based more on atonal textures and experimental synthesizers, flirting at moments with Avant-Prog, although there are still moments of pure pleasure with the soaring violins, the Classical interludes and the bombastic rhythm section in the forefront.Unfortunately a few moments appear to be rather uninspired with long instrumental but quite monotonous movements as in the pale ''Blue Nightmare''.

The good thing with ''Laz'' is that the moments of interest are too interesting to surpass the album.It sounds a bit uneven and too ambitious for its own good, but this is very original and often trully captivating music.Recommended.

 Le Festin by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.95 | 18 ratings

Le Festin
Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In my opinion this is HALLOWEEN's best album and one i'd certainly recommend to anyone wanting to check out their sound. The Gnosis site also rates this one the highest of their four studio albums. It's interesting that every issue that I had with the previous album "Merlin" has been addressed here.The Classical flavour is all but gone, this is a much more powerful album and the female singer takes an even greater role over the male vocalist.This was a pleasure.

"L'autre" is fairly relaxed wih female vocals, drums, violin and more. Synths come in in place of the violin. It kicks in suddenly before 3 1/2 minutes. Nice.This instrumental section is incredible. It settles back late with reserved female vocals to end it. "Le Retour Du Bouffon" builds as male spoken words join in. It starts to pick up after 2 minutes with vocals and violin as that powerful sound continues. It settles right down before 4 minutes with a beat then it builds again. A nice heavy sound is the result 5 minutes in.

"Neurotic" opens with piano as reserved female vocals (English) come in.Violin then drums follow as it gets fuller. It settles back.This is dark with vocals. Piano only before 4 1/2 minutes then spoken words and violin join in to end it. "Sheherazade" begins with a beat and intricate guitar. Some atmosphere joins in until that's all we hear. Vocals and percussion then lead before it turns heavier. Spoken words and an urgent mood before it kicks back in before 7 minutes.The violin rips it up after 8 minutes followed by a calm. It picks back up late. "Come" has these almost spoken male and female vocals followed by violin. It gets heavier and the violin starts to light it up.

"Araignee" opens with laid back keys and bass as relaxed female vocals join in. "Le Festin" has this intense atmosphere with powerful spoken male vocals. Female vocals take over then it picks up before 2 1/2 minutes. A little dissonance before 4 minutes then it kicks in heavily with guitar and drums.This is amazing ! It becomes mellow before 7 minutes with vocals. "Carnage" is probably my least favourite although I really like that intro with drums. It picks up after a minute with spoken male vocals. It changes before 3 minutes and eventually synths and drums dominate. Guitar 5 minutes in and the violin.

A very solid album and worthy of that 4 star rating.

 Merlin by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.20 | 21 ratings

Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars HALLOWEEN are a French band who have changed their style over the years.This is their most Symphonic up to this point and it's a concept album although the lyrics are all in French so I can't follow along. Both male and female vocals on this one with plenty of strings and a very Classical flavour to their sound. "Le Conseil Des Demons" opens like a funeral march really until we get a change after 2 1/2 minutes with reserved vocals.It turns fuller quickly but the tempo will shift back and forth.Piano before 5 minutes followed by organ. A good start. "Le Proces" features spoken words, percussion and strings early then it settles until the vocals stop then it picks back up 3 1/2 minutes in.This is a really good instrumental section. It settles after 5 minutes then kicks back in a minute later with vocals. "Apres La Bataille" kicks in with guitar before 2 1/2 minutes then settles back with strings as contrasts continue. "Le Sacre" is very Classical sounding with strings leading. Not a fan of this. A change a minute in but it's not that much better until before 2 minutes when it picks up with prominant bass and guitar. "Table Ronde" opens with violin that actually reminds me of KANSAS. Great sound before 2 minutes with drums and guitar leading. It settles back with violin after 3 minutes. "Morgane" has these reserved female vocals that are the focus throughout. "Arthur Contre Morgane" is bombastic early then it settles with violin then vocals. Contrasts continue. Female vocals before 3 1/2 minutes. "Viviane" is a short acoustic guitar piece. "Dragon Rouge Dragon Blanc" is Classical sounding with strings, loud drums (kettle drums?) and other sounds. "Derniere Bataille" has horns that blast on and off before it gets heavier.This is good.That changes after 2 1/2 minutes as the strings start to lead. "La Morte De Morgane" is experimental to start then it kicks in around 2 minutes.Female vocals join in as well. "Foret" is dark with strings as it turns Classical sounding. It changes after 2 1/2 minutes with soaring guitar,bass and drums standing out. A low 3 stars for me, I just can't get into this album at all to be honest.
 Part One by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.54 | 20 ratings

Part One
Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One of hidden secrets of the 80's prog rock scene lies in France,named HALLOWEEN.They were formed in Brest in 1983 by five musicans,among them were drummer Thierry Gillet and keyboardist Gilles Coppin.They were soon joined by violinist Jean-Philippe Brun,but this sextet was not meant to be.By 1987 HALLOWEEN reformed as a trio featuring only Gillet,Coppin and Brun on the line-up.So Coppin handled also the vocal section along with Brun,who also took over the guitars and bass next to his violin.The trio recorded the album ''Part one'' to be released originally on Musea in 1988,while in the 1994 re-issue two live tracks were also added.

STYLE: As guitars and bass were not Brun's main instruments it is reasonable the album to be heavily based on keys,pianos and violins.While one expects ''Part one'' to sound deeply symphonic for this reason,that's only partly true.The album has a mysterious atmosphere in the instrumental parts,dominated by dark synths,violin passages and in a second role come the surrounding guitars.There is also heavy doses of lonely pianos in this album.There is an attractive blending between atmospheric parts based on guitar solos and symphonic synths and more complicated material with some great breaks,which make the album quite personal.Strangely, vocals come in English (except for Jester's dance) with some French spoken pats next to the sung lines.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: Hard to compare,the album ranges from Dark Prog to Symphonic Rock with a theatrical taste.So if you combine the violin-based KING CRIMSON motives with some ANGE thetrical taste and some JACULA's dark atmospheres,the picture is about to be completed.

PLUS: The overall atmosphere sets the listener into the general mood quite easily.Despite not being a guitarist,Brun delivers some really interesting solos.The violin work holds a lot of Classical influences and is very well executed.Most of the keyboard work is also quite exciting.I find the theatrical side of the band to be among the best to be heard around.

MINUS: Vocals are not that good,although non-accented.The production is also weak with lots of uneven parts.Keyboards sound very plastic and cold at times.Why I have a feeling that this album would be much better if lyrics were delivered in French?

WILL APPEAL TO:...Fans of the darker side of prog,anyone into Theatrical Prog nostalgia and of course lovers of symphonic keys.

CONCLUSION: Clever enough,HALLOWEEN placed the disadvantage of not having a gifted bassist or guitarist aside by basing their sound on a fascinating atmosphere which I loved on first sight.The year of the release makes the album even more worth owning,yet the vocal section holds the album a step back among my first preferences regarding the 80's.Warmly recommended,''Part one'' deserves no less than 3.5 stars.

 Part One by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.54 | 20 ratings

Part One
Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars The French symphonic prog scene is not like any other symphonic prog scene. This is why I regard this scene as one entity, far remote from any other scene.

The most important difference between this scene and the scene in England & anywhere else is the French scene's operatic, melodramatic type of symphonic prog. Ange is the most typical example of this scene and the forerunners of this scene. Halloween is not far behind on this, their debut album though.

The music on this album is concept based melodramatic music with long guitar solos, some both spoken and somehow melodic sung vocals, violin and tonnes of keyboards. It feels like this is scene or film music to an extent. The music is pretty dark and so is the vibe here.

The quality of the music is good throughout. But this album is never breaking sweat and it never takes of into greatness. The sung vocals are pretty sub standard, but the rest of the band is OK. This is a concept album which does not click into gear. But it is a good album nevertheless.

3 stars (barely)

 Laz by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.78 | 15 ratings

Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog_Veteran

4 stars The French symphonic-weird, highly creative HALLOWEEN dares to output in 1989 powerful awesome musical ideas and vocals with "Laz". Maybe for PULSAR, VDGG, or KC fans, the inventiveness can be better enjoyed (and by prog heads that do not believe "it was impossible to release outstanding prog in the eighties").

Gile Coppin (sinth and vocals) and Brun (violin, guitar and vocals) compositions borrowed to the lyrics H. P. Lovecraft weird fiction poems. Maybe because of this mood, "Laz" can annoy some. As their debut album gets good rating, I can only say I like very much BOTH HALLOWEEN first albums. But the 3rd "Merlin" (**) is missing links. I agree with Fishy review when he says "Laz" " turned out to be a far more ambitious project than the debut album."

If you consider "Laz" lyrics kind of trash horror bizarre comedy, you may not creep. As I'm not English speaker, I can focus on the music. To me this is a prog dream album, "Iron Mickey" is an incredible instrumental composition; "Waltz" and "Laz" are superb. I remember I was present at by 1991 in a reunion with about 10 progheads to enjoy some music, where these tracks (plus EZRA WINSTON "ancient afternoons"- 1990 *****) were played and some guys got desperate wanting to know what incredible band were playing ?!

"Blue Nightmare" shows a more experimental with virtuoso drums by Di Faostino. The "just for you" shows that Honoré is a tremendous bass player (fretless). The bonus "suburb" is at 1st album vein with theatrical French lyrics and "Yule Horror" is the only track that remind an horror soundtrack. The keyboards work are great to create atmospheres and walls to the incredible violin solos. My only critic is that I miss more killer synth solos like the one in "laz" track.

If you like or is curious about Halloween (or even if you don't), Ezra Winston, Kerrs Pink, Rousseau, North Star, Vermilion Sands, these bands composed especially for "Seven Days of a Life" MUSEA team concept CD : the cycle of the journey through Life. The result is GREAT, believe this cosmopolitan project woks ! "Seven Days of a Life" is a ****1/2;1993 CD with only unpublished material, except the SAGRADO "the central sun of universe" which was also composed to this CD, but due to long delay was allowed to appears at SAGRADO 1991 3rd CD (the project idea was old but only saw the light of day in 1993) . The Halloween contribution for this concept is called "march" and runs 9:30. Please, take a look at my "Seven Days of a Life" review.

 Le Festin by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.95 | 18 ratings

Le Festin
Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This French band has already released three albums and they produced very weird music. Very dark, intriguing and scary. Almost each of them could have been a soundtrack for some sort of horror movie, really.

This one is no exception. As soon as the opening number starts, you are brought into an extremely gloomy atmosphere. Vocals also add to the feeling. This time, it is an almost childish female timber which conveys the scary side. The use of violin is extensive on this album and if one would believe that it could bring some sort of joyful feeling: just forget it. It only adds to the flavour.

This album is a long descent into darkness. Lyrics are terribly bizarre as well (most of them are sung in French). One of weirdest of all is certainly Le Retour Du Bouffon. Very much Ange oriented in terms of vocals and theme (it plunges us into the medieval world). It is actually a re-work of Jester's Dance which was available on their debut album, but with other lyrics.

Some English lyrics for Neurotic, but no change of direction here. The frightening doesn't stop (but will it ever do so with Halloween). Even if there was a seven years period of hiatus between this album and their previous one; their ideas and style haven't changed.

The oppressive atmosphere is going on with the Middle-Eastern Sheherazade. I guess that with such a title, it is all too normal. Don't expect a sweet cover from the great Renaissance song. You won't get the same treat here. Only the title and the quality of the songs have something to share. Needless to say that Coma is of same calibre. Again, the Crimson atmosphere is highly felt.

Actually, I wouldn't recommend to listen to the four albums from this band on a row. You could be so terrorized than you wouldn't want to be never left alone.

Le Festin is also quite Ange oriented in terms of lyrics. A description of a medieval feast. The music is typically Crimsonian: complex and tortured. Especially the beautiful and chaotic guitar. Explosive! It is my favourite song from this album. Bon appétit, mes amis! This is how the song closes.

The closing number Carnage (which means slaughter, what a programme!) is almost a normal song! It features Banks oriented synths and a jazzy mood.

In all, this is a good album from skilled musicians. Géraldine Le Coq has a very special voice as well and she perfectly fits into the spectre. The minus point would be that the listener could be tired with so much gloom. But I have had the same feeling with their two prior releases. The complexity of this album could have placed it perfectly in the eclectic genre.

Three stars.

 Merlin by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.20 | 21 ratings

Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars First of all, the band was sent back to the Symphonic genre (from Heavy); which is truly were they belong. Their music is very dark and oppressive, but at no moment did they ever play heavy music. This is only justice.

The second remark is that all the lyrics are sung in French this time. I have experienced their poor English efforts in this department during their first two releases, so I can only be thankful to the band to have opted for their native language to express their feelings.

The third one is that the band has brought a new female vocalist on board. This is also a good news, since J.P. Brun was not the best of them. But she will only share the bill. Two additional ensembles also appear: strings and brass. They are mostly noticed during Le Sacre and Forêt (but not only).

The music that you will discover holds very much from their debut album. Lots of medieval atmospheres which induces some Ange oriented passages (but not too many.

The mood is dark and gloomy; even if the reference for this (but only this) remains LAZ, their previous effort which sounded more as a horror movie soundtrack than anything else. It is true that the music from Halloween fits a funeral party better than a wedding one.

Some parts of this album, which is mainly instrumental, are on the jazzy side (Le Sacre), and aren't really my cup of tea. Halloween is even heading Kansas while playing Table Ronde. The weird Morgane featured almost inaudible vocals. It is almost a recitation from the new vocalist Géraldine Le Cocq. Is it because the lyrics aren't quite interesting that she is whispering those?

I have to say that this album is losing its interest rapidly. The listener is confronted with little variations during this Merlin opus. A pompous effort, not very inspired music and as I have said during my Laz review, the purpose of writing dark pieces just to be scary might work for a while, but when it is repeated so often; it is annoying instead.

Two stars for this thin storyboard that goes along with little passionating music.

 Laz by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.78 | 15 ratings

Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Even if the core duo (Coppin-Brun) is still present on this album, there has been two changes in the line- up for Laz. A strange title for this work. Most of the lyrics come from the work of the American novelist Howard Phillips Lovecraft (four of the songs featured here).

The music is also strange, weird actually. This band was first catalogued into the symphonic genre which fits them better as far as I'm concerned. Halloween plays a dark, gloomy and scary music but this has little to do with the heavy genre.

This second album is also far to reach the quality of their debut. The overall feeling is of an oppressive and emotionless album. As a soundtrack, it might have worked, but when you listen to this album some sort of boredom quickly prevails, unfortunately. The quiet instrumental Just For You has definitely not a lot of great ingredients to make it an outstanding number.

The well named Yule Horror is not really recommended to listen to if you are alone, at night during a windy storm. It might well work on your nerves.Sombre vocals are not a highlight, but this was already a weak point of the band in their first release.

There are hardly one outstanding track on this album. Some fine violin parts provide some relief (Iron Mickey) but doesn't break the dark feeling. On the contrary, it sounds as if the band was willing to frighten the listener even more.

On the CD release from Musea, there is a bonus track called Suburb. Lyrics are in French but are referencing to Howard (Lovecraft). They are pretty weird and quite disturbing and refer to Yule Horror. It was recorded during the Laz sessions but never released before.

In the booklet, lyrics are translated into French (with very much imagery). You won't need the assistance of these during the instrumental Blue Nightmare (I didn't choose the title). This track was composed by Di Faostino (the new drummer) and is very much a percussion exercise which has very little to offer.

This album is quite a deception, it could have been a decent soundtrack for a B-series horror movie, but I can't really be thrilled with such work. No heavy prog here, just dark and scary music. Which is not the same. Two stars.

 Part One by HALLOWEEN album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.54 | 20 ratings

Part One
Halloween Symphonic Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This French band plays a dark but melodic music. They are one of the few who mostly sung in English (only one is fully in French). A tleast on their debut. Their work is closely related with the early Crimsonian mood: symphonic and scary. One of the most heavy tracks is the opener Outsider, but it is almost the only one.

What's In? is almost a pastoral song which holds more from the early Genesis than any heavy rock ensemble.

At times, the use of the violin reminds me Kansas, especially during the dark Beginning and the delicate Never Die which is falls under the symphonic tradition.

One of the best track from this album is Heart Beat. Fully sung in French, it is a theatrical piece of music fully in line with the early Ange. Lyrics are very dark and bizarre. They related to the middle- ages (which was a period which influenced Ange a lot as well). I would have preferred that this album would be fully in French (as they will do later on).

A good example for this is Jester's Dance. It features bilingual lyrics, but the English parts sounds really awful (I don't know if the French accent has been exaggerated but it sounds real bad). Gilles Coppin is much more convincing in this singing role than his band mate J-P Brun. But the later plays a remarkable guitar solo as closing part of this song.

The pièce de résistance is the long Halloween. It is mostly instrumental and if you like moving guitar break and lots of synths: this one is for you. The finale is truly splendid and bombastic. I am voiceless with such a beauty. Really grandiose. The guitar can only relate me to one of the greatest solo in prog music: the fabulous, the charming, the passionate Steve during Firth Of Fifth. Yes, this one is very close to this!

In all, this album is excellent during the instrumental parts (it could have been very good if sung fully in French, but this aspect will be taken care of). If the early Genesis and Crimson, Ange and a little of Kansas can please you, no doubt that this album will do a good job as well. Dark, but not heavy. This is how this work sounds like.

The live tracks are fine as well. Sound is not too bad and the most interesting angle of the live version of Jester's Dance is the violin play which has the leading role. This is probably one of the best assets from this band which holds a very good multi-instrumentalist with J-P Brun.

Four stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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