For more than three decades, the Belgium band Present has been fusing rock, jazz and classical music. With their unique style of progressive music, they are considered a vanguard in the Rock in Opposition genre.
Now two of their classic albums from the Eighties have been reissued, remastered with bonus live material added.
PRESENT Le Poison qui Rend Fou (double CD on Cuneiform Records)
This release from 2014 features the 39 minutes of the original album from 1983 and 20 bonus minutes of live material.
Present is: Roger Trigaux (on guitar and piano), Alain Rochette (on piano and synthesizers), Daniel Denis (on drums and percussion), Ferdinand Philppot (on bass), and Marie Anne Polaris (on vocals).
These instruments mesh to produce a stylistic form of progressive rock with a dark side.
The percussion is relentless and powerful, belting out complex rhythms at hyperspeed and propelling the music deep into realms of frantic euphoria. Crashing tempos cascade in each tune, communicating beats that tremble the very earth underfoot.
The guitar sears with pyrotechnic fury. The riffs cavort with wild abandon that slide into exhausting sustains. These chords carry dazzling measure with their molten sting.
A bevy of keyboards delineate threads of pulsating melodies that wind throughout the mix. The piano leads pummel with puissant verve, sweeping the listener away into territories haunted by ominous spirits. While the electronics enhance that eerie resonance with their slippery chords.
The bass rumbles like a prehistoric beast barely held at bay by the rest of the instruments.
These compositions are forceful and intricate, featuring numerous changes and variations as the songs progress. A sense of grit-teeth determination is infectious as the songs burst from dark forests to soar through cloudy nocturnal skies. The band's predilection for constantly changing tempo keeps everyone slipping from the edge of their seats.
The bonus disc offers an 80 minute concert from France in 1982 (featuring one of the last gigs with the band's original line-up) and three videos of additional live performances. The booklet contains interviews and rare pictures of the band.
PRESENT Triskaidekaphobic (CD on Cuneiform Records)
This release from 2014 features the 38 minutes of the original album with a second disc featuring 80 minutes of live material.
Present is: Roger Trigaux (on guitar and piano), Alain Rochette (on piano and synthesizers), Daniel Denis (on drums and percussion), Christian Genet (on bass), and Marie Anne Polaris (on vocals).
The percussion is brutal yet cerebral, hard-hitting and quite exhausting. The drums generate complex rhythms of a feral nature.
The guitar exhibits a tendency to blaze, producing riffs that are piercing and smoldering. A wondrous vitality shines in these chords.
The keyboards are numerous: slippery keys, moody organs, and sparkling electronics. Twinkling riffs slither in abundance, complimenting the sonic barrage.
The basslines thunder with a fury equal to none, generating a powerful undercurrent for the rest of the instruments. On occasion, the bass adopts a lead role, delivering riffs of a buzzing clarity.
The band is known for their often unexpected tempo changes, and this trait is quite evident in these compositions, resulting in delightful surprises as the music veers off again and again into deviant territory...yet always maintaining a deceptive flow. This tuneage displays an epic quality, in its emphatic delivery and in its pristine dedication to intensity.
The bonus material consists of two Univers Zero songs performed live Brussels in 1981. The booklet contains interviews with the band and rare pictures of the performers.
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