|......................................THE BAND AND RECORD OF THE MONTH|
Among many new releases from May to June, I really found one band and their amazing work, that came out of the music industry recently and, my favourite choice was the band called Hamadryad. After a long silence, this explosive quartet, from Canada, is on the top once again, with a powerful and energetic music inspired by progressive rock icons as "Genesis", "Marillion", "Steve Hackett" and "Rush", but injecting a kind of musical influences with a more modern and actual feel. The influences and styles come from Melodic Rock, Symphonic Progressive Rock, with soft touchs of Progressive Metal and Jazz Fusion, everything made by talented musicians. All arrangements imposes an innovative musical style, with a strong spiritual elements of a symphonic presence on the guitar sounds, as well as an ability on the keyboards arrangements, converting the complexity of heavily orchestrated Progressive Rock style, into a simple musical accessibility and very pleasant. But there is a special emphasis around the strong vocal arrangements, a little similar or, in the same musical tone from "Peter Gabriel" and "Phil Collins", but not in the same style, with this voices they created a fantastic atmosphere giving a fascinating shape for the progressive/ symphonic tracks. This second release by Hamadryad is a very tasty Symphonic Progressive album, with longer pieces and a little more adventure than the band's debut release. Brilliant and an indispensable work, highly recommendable...
musicians on Hamadryad are:
Jean-François and Denis formed their first band together and played mainly cover songs of Rush. They struggled through years of personnel changes, trying to find the right people until they met Mark McKee and formed what would become Blue Line, a classic rock band. Mark had a lot of club experience and from the start he became a mentor to the others. They did a lot of clubs for two years gaining valuable live experiences. Then Mark left for Vancouver and they needed another singer. They changed their musical repertoire, adapting to the "grunge" style of Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilot, etc. They mixed in some heavy rock classics, and changed the name to Final Project, symbolizing the fact that this would have to be the last club band project.
Not knowing what would come of their efforts, they started to play with Darren, a keyboardist who originally played with Yves. Having to exchange ideas with Darren inspired some to learn more about the technical side of music and this new combination of band members produced immediately a progressive sound that they all loved! The only piece missing was the singer.
One day Darren answered an ad for a keyboard player and ended up getting a job playing with a progressive tribute band. They all lent a hand to ensure the success of this effort. However, due to poor management, what was supposed to be a big production folded up after playing one single tribute show. All was not lost; one good thing came out of the experience as Ben, the singer of the debunked tribute band, came on to be the singer of our newly created prog tribute band named Awake. However, he was not terribly involved in the creative process and didnít want to invest more time in the band. Thankfully destiny was working for the band and every thing worked out as, one day, while rehearsing they met Jocelyn, another one of the original prog tribute band member. He came over to listen to us play and when he played for them a demo tape of an original song he wrote, the band thought, "We may have found our missing link".
So Ben left and in came Jocelyn; Darren our keyboardist, for personal reasons, soon departed which left four of them: Jean-François, Denis, Yves and Jocelyn. The music really started to develop and for the first time the band was good enough to be compared to any professional band out there. To form a really "tight" band, musically speaking, they decided to practice doing shows mixing cover songs with two or three original songs until they felt ready to assume the next big step: Record a first album.
While composing new material the sound of the band matured through experimentations and a wall of sound soon began to take shape. Each band member took his place and understood his role. Wanting to maintain the integrity of their music, they all decided to produce their own album. However, realizing the benefits of having a keyboardistís point of view, when it comes to orchestration, the band decided to hire Francis, a former guitarist student of Jocelyn who became a keyboard player. Including Francis in the line up came naturally as most of the material for the album was already composed. But Francis skills for arrangements proved to be a major contribution to the overall statement the songs would make.
Jean-Francois soon became much more involved in the recording and production of the album; along with a good friend of ours, Andy Cherna, who provided in his home studio, the engineering skills and production experience needed. The recording sessions were to last all of the summer of 2000 and the mixing of the recorded tracks took place in the autumn. Conservation Of Mass was launched on April 7th 2001, in Montreal. Already, we had many great reactions from the media, and we prepared all summer for a series of shows, including a participation at the 2002 Baja Prog Festival.
And then they were four - In the summer of 2002, Jocelyn, the lead singer, announced that he was pursuing his musician career on a different path. This brought the production of the second album to a screeching halt. The departure, however strange, was made without bad feelings; the proof being that members of Hamadryad contributed to some of Jocelynís solo projects. Once the initial shock subsided and time passed, in which the four remaining members took the time to take in the announcement; they all agreed that replacing Jocelyn immediately was not the way to go. So they started from scratch trying to find a new sound for the band.
What was suppose to be work sessions, where they would try to rework the existing songs, became, unexpectedly and unconsciously, writing sessions. Jean-François, who already sang one song on the first album, and a few covers live, took the lead singer role and everyone came up with bundles of new ideas. These writing sessions where put on hiatus in the fall of 2002 due to the necessity to play a few shows in Montreal. For these, "old" songs had to be reworked and remodelled to the new outfit. The shows confirmed that as a quartet Hamadryad was as strong as before and fans where supportive and anxious to hear the new material.
Hard at work - Now in the fall of 2003, the new album is still in the works, every weeks sees new ideas being added to songs in progress and new tunes are blossoming. Even though the pressure is on to play live, the accent is on creating their second contribution. The new "sound" is not far from what Hamadryadís fans are used to, without being the same. Itís a strange and magical feeling to hear these new songs, for you recognise some part of it while others are brand new. The new web site is also being worked on. This new Hamadryadís site will provide many audio and video samples and information on the band and itís four members.
"Safe in Conformity"
Anatomy of a Dream
by Jean-Francois Desilets and Hamadryad and was released worldwide
To get in contact with the the band, send an e-mail to Hamadryad.
For more information and every thing about the band, please visit HAMADRYAD HOME PAGEN
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