MANIGANCE - L'ombre et la lumière

Manigance - L'ombre et la lumière

12 songs
64:26 minutes
***** ****


Manigance are not only one of France's best, but also busiest prog metal bands. In the last four years, they released two regular CDs, one EP and a live record. L'ombre et la lumière is the fifth output by Manigance and they recorded it in their own studio go get their own sound. The clear and powerful production helps a lot to emphasise the great songwriting.

The album starts with a short classical instrumental intro, but the first regular track Envahisseur is an uptempo prog song with a great chorus, giving the impression that you listen to Dream Theater's Pull Me Under. Parallels between both bands are obvious due to the complex song writing, long tracks, clear guitar and keyboard solos. But the huge difference between Manigance and nearly every other prog metal band is their use of the French language. On their debut (Signe de vie, 1997), there were still some English lyrics, but singer Didier Delsaux discovered that he could express himself better in his native language. The lyrics are easy to understand and are an important aspect to their music, dealing about social themes like social isolation, injustice and greed.

The song writing is also very diverse. There's a slower approach as on Prison dorée where electric and acoustic guitars are meeting. La force des souvenirs is an acoustic ballad which shows the band's more emotional side. But there are also songs like Prédateur, Privilège, Miroir de la vie and the title track which add more ferocity to the album. An unusual fact is that the album ends with the long instrumental Labyrinthe.

L'ombre et la lumière is a superb album. Although I haven't been familiar with the band before, their catchy sound and the clear French vocals fascinated me from the beginning. Manigance have found their own sound and created a masterpiece for the prog metal gallery.

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