Abraxis might be seen as a Belgian super group, including Bobaert and Mauer from Pazop, Loos from Cos and Musette from Waterloo.
The duo Age utilized some of the most advanced synthesizer equipment (from PPG, ARP, Korg and Roland) available at the time. Predictably, their music was comparable to Neuronium, Zanov and Tangerine Dream. Both albums should appeal to lovers of this genre, but don't look for any original ideas here.
|1||LANDSCAPES||1980||GAMM 0022 LP|
|2||DIMENSION||1982||GAMM 0093 LP|
Their leader was Marc Hollander, ex-keyboard player of Cos.
The first album was a peculiar, dadaistic concoction of experiments - some in the style of early Henry Cow, others playing with ethnic and minimalistic music. Most tracks have a certain jazz feel with frequent use of sax and electric piano. This is an important album that shouldn't be missed by any fan of experimental music!
The second album took a step even further, featuring famous guests from Henry Cow and Univers Zero.
ALBUM AS AKSAK MABOUL:
|1||ONZE DANSES POUR COMBATTRE LA MIGRAINE||1977||KAMIKAZE 1|
|2||UN PEU DE L'AME DES BANDITS||1979||ATEM 002|
A duo who played acoustic folk-rock. Balladers were quite famous in their homeland at the time.
|1||WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FRENCH TOUCH?||1969||PALETTE (NL)|
|2||NO TITLE||1970||PALETTE (NL)|
|3||KIRSTEN & BERND||1976||PRIVATE PRESS|
Banzai's album contained high-quality symphonic rock in a style reminiscent of Fruupp, Genesis, Yes and Gentle Giant. Their enjoyable compositions were carefully segued into mini-suites with some traces of creativity and invention (including the use of vibes and marimba). Outside musicians provided tasteful brass and strings on some short parts. This is a lot better than their more famous compatriots Machiavel.
|1||HORA NATA||1974||DELTA DG 10.001|
This guy is better known as the leader of Kandahar. Two of the listed albums contained undistinguished blues-rock (only 300 copies were pressed of the 1976 demo album). By contrast, Bogard's solo album From Dusk Until Dawn was more folk-oriented.
KAREL BOGARD & CO.:
|1||BLUES FROM OVER THE BORDER||1971||BARCLAY (CANADA)|
|2||FROM DUSK UNTIL DAWN||1975||DWARF|
|3||STILL HOOKED ON BLUES||1976||PRIVATE PRESS|
They were one of the few Belgian blues-rock groups that were on a par with several Dutch groups, such as Cuby & The Blizzards and Livin' Blues. They wrote their own material, mostly long slow blues numbers augmented by electric guitars and screaming vocals.
The band didn't last much more than a year before they called it a day. Michael Heslop later formed Doctor Downtrip.
|1||BURNING PLAGUE||1970||CBS 64279 (NL)|
This rare and unsung album is vaguely similar to Ange and Atoll, but less sophisticated and symphonic and more powerful. The tracks are song-based with French lyrics, but with excellent guitar work. The members were located in Brussels - to underline their origin the front cover was taken from the legendary Brussels café Mort Subite. (RD/DEA)
|1||FUME, C'EST DU BELGE||1975||OMEGA LPZ 505 Y352|
A jazz-rock guitar player who is quite well-known inside and outside of his home country. Among others, he has played with Jan Akkerman and, for a very brief period, with Supersister. Babel (1980) contained high-quality instrumental fusion very similar to the French fusion sound of the late seventies (not surprisingly as Ceccarelli and Top made up the rhythm section). His music was also augmented by a string quartet here, in a style similar to Zao's album Shekina.
|1||SEPTEMBER MAN||1974||WEA 40562|
Hailed as the Belgian reply to Zao, Cos had their roots in Daniel Schell's group Classroom, which formed in 1966. During the early 70's, Classroom played concerts in Brussels along with Magma, Zao, Placebo and Univers Zero. Some demo tracks were recorded for CBS in 1973, but the label turned them down.
Amidst several personnel changes, Schell decided to change their name to Cos. Soon after, a record dealer was so impressed by their music that he offered to produce an album and release it on his own label. Postaeolian Train Robbery (1974) was the result, an album of exalted jazz-rock in the tradition of Zao, Magma and Hatfield & The North. Cos had a superb jazz piano player and Pascale Son's expressive use of her voice's full range (often merely singing phonemes) and Schell's direct electric guitar (absent for minutes, then suddenly pulling out a stunning, jazzy solo reminiscent of Brian Godding).
Viva Borna (1976) was an even better album, producing a more advanced group sound. Part of the reason for this was the addition of Marc Hollander, a keyboard player fond of merging Arabian music and Henry Cow-like eccentricities. Cos produced the album with Marc Moulin (of Placebo), and made creative use of studio effects on the instruments.
Schell's album with Dick Annegarn also featured Pascale Son.
|1||POSTAEOLIAN TRAIN ROBBERY||1974||PLUS 8000|
|2||VIVA BOMA||1976||EMI IBC 4C 23605|
|3||BABEL||1978||EMI IBC 4B 23794|
|A1||EGMONT & THE FF BOOM||1979||FREE BIRD FLY 05 (F)|
His album contained a wacky form of experimental jazz-rock, living up to its title. It was made up of two extended tracks on each side. De Bruyne also recorded music for movies and released other albums in a folky style.
|1||HERE COMES THE CRAZY MAN||1974||VOGUE|
After the demise of legendary blues-rock group Burning Plague, Michael Heslop formed Doctor Downtrip with other musicians. They drifted away from the restricted blues formula to a heavier brand of rock, similar to the early seventies Golden Earring or even Black Sabbath. Doctor Downtrip (1973) was their best album by far. The two later albums comprised rather ordinary rock containing nothing of special interest.
|1||DOCTOR DOWNTRIP||1973||CBS 44053|
|2||IF YOU DON'T ROCK NOW||1976||EPIC 81719|
Luc Henrion released a few hundred copies of his album on his own La Muse Gueule label. This little known poet sang the lyrics (written in collaboration with Roland Lefevre) in a style reminiscent of Emmanuel Booz. About half of the music was written by Henrion, who also acted as multi-instrumentalist (keyboards and guitars predominantly). The songs clearly belong to the French cultural sphere, ranging from nostalgic variety to more contemporary folk.
|1||LETTRE À V.||1978||LMG 001|
Their first album was released on the British Acorn label. Some years ago it was an expensive collectors item, but some unsold copies were discovered and the price dropped. On offer here is a curious mixture of spacious and progressive styles, related to Pulsar, Akasha and Amon Düül II. Opinions vary about their musical validity and, although it contains some parts with unusual and interesting instrumentation, this is certainly no lost masterpiece in my view.
The group also made some demo recordings before their demise. These were eventually released in 1988 and might be of interest for music archaeologists (but be prepared for a few false notes and tape dropouts).
|1||DRAGON||1976||ACORN CF 268 (UK)|
|2||KALAHEN (1977)||1988||FICRIVAN F 88325|
A partly Belgian partly Dutch group who played competent symphonic rock comparable to Fruupp, Alquin, Genesis and even early Roxy Music. Dawn Dancer was recorded in Belgium, but released on a minor Dutch label.
|1||DAWN DANCER||1979||DON QUIXOTE 40.002|
300 copies were pressed of their album, containing run-of-the-mill blues-rock with harmonica and vocals. The leader of the group was Arno Hintjens, later a well-known character of the Belgian pop scene, releasing records with Tjens Couter, TC-Matic, Charles and under his own Arno moniker.
Please see the Jess & James entry!
|1A||NEW EXCITING EXPERIENCE||1969||.|
This trio mixed jazz and North African ethnic music. Their approach was quite experimental, often playing strange raga tunes. They were helped on two tracks by Kandahar members Jeff De Vissher and Karel Bogard.
|1||FULL MOON||1975||DWARF 4C062 99845|
The late Ferre Grignard was Belgium's best most known protest singer and released a long string of singles.
|1||RING RING||1966||FONTANA 6443 505|
|2||CAPTAIN DISASTER||1968||BARCLAY 920 117|
|3||FERRE GRIGNARD||1972||MOTORS MT 44.011|
Only 200 copies were pressed of his Gallerie album. A solo album in the literal sense, Luc played all the instruments himself, although his main instrument was the piano. His music has neo-classical influences, often comparable to Julverne and Dominique Lawalree. Not a "rock" album by any usual definition.
They were from the Aalst area in the East-Flanders and were known as The Voodoos until the beginning of 1971. Their first single "Masterpiece" gained some recognition in several European countries and allowed Irish Coffee to make an eponymous album, which eventually sold 3,000 copies (by Belgian underground rock standards this was highly impressive). With Souffreau's powerful, screaming and soulful voice and the semi-classical electric guitar and organ lines, Irish Coffee were a Belgian equivalent of Deep Purple or 2066 & Then. The album had several hard-hitting tracks ("The Show"), but Irish Coffee were at their best on the more introspective and reflective "A Day Like Today" (6:52) and The Beginning Of The End". The album sounded a bit rushed due to the restricted studio time, but this really did the music no harm. In fact, the songwriting shows great potential and the group could have made it internationally if a major company had invested time and money (which they never did on Belgian groups). A recommended album for anyone interested in the vintage heavy progressive sound and indeed the favourite Belgian album of several collectors.
After this, Irish Coffee made three more singles, but none were up the standard of their previous material. Sadly they later split after a fatal car accident in which Paul Lambrechts was killed and two other members injured.
|1||IRISH COFFEE||1971||TRIANGLE BE 920 321|
Like Irish Coffee above, Isopoda also originated from Aalst, but formed five years later and the groups were musically poles apart. Much like their Belgian compatriots Banzai, Isopoda did a fairly good imitation of Genesis, although showing a preference for their soft and poetic songs rather than their theatrical and pompous ones. Those able to ignore these obvious facts will discover two fine symphonic rock albums filled with good tunes.
|2||TAKING ROOT||1981||LARK 3528|
Jenghiz Khan were short-lived but their Well Cut has long been in demand among collectors. This contained the archetypical heavy progressive rock of the times, sometimes similar to Zarathustra, Uriah Heep and May Blitz, but also with some more mellow tracks. The lead vocalist might be compared to Paul Rodgers of Free. In my view this album is a bit overrated, but check it out if you're into the genre. Pierre Raepsaet had previously played with Laurelie.
|1||WELL CUT||1970||BARCLAY 920 313|
|A1||NEW YORK||1973||ATLANTIC (F)|
|A3||JE SUIS MOI||1977||RCA PL37133|
The brothers Tony and Wando Lom, from Portsmouth (UK), played in various formations in Belgium and Spain between 1967 and 1972. More than ten singles and several albums were released on Palette (in BeNeLux) and on Belter (in Spain). These mostly contained a mixture of pop, beat, psychedelic rock and rhythm and blues. A more experimental approach was attempted with Free Pop Electronic Concept, adding strange electronic noises to an instrumental backdrop of psychedelic beat. Clearly this is a novelty album with a strong appeal to those who love uncommon sounds (Fifty Foot Hose, etc.). In 1972, Jess and James joined Teddy Bautista's group Los Canarios.
ALBUMS WITH THE J.J BAND:
|1||MOVE||1968||PALETTE MPB 3114 (NL)|
|2||REVOLUTION, EVOLUTION, CHANGE||1969||PALETTE (NL)|
|3||A NEW EXCITING EXPERIENCE||1969||PALETTE (NL)|
|4||JESS & JAMES||1969||PALETTE MPB 32900|
|C1||GOLDEN BESTSELLER||197?||BESTSELLER 4C 97931|
One of the Belgian beat groups. Spider 8 was a private pressing of 500 copies of instrumentais in the style of Underground Set.
|1||BIG BEAT WITH||1965||ARCADE|
Julverne offered a different perspective of Belgian chamber rock than Univers Zero, being the light and vibrant opposite to the dark, sombre and cold universe of Daniel Denis and company. In my view, Julverne were the Belgian equivalent of the French ZNR, playing slightly twisted classical chamber music with only a little hint of rock. Julverne used mainly piano, strings and wind instruments - never drums. Their music was quite unique and refreshing - highly recommended for any listener in search of new sounds! Julverne of course released many more albums in the eighties, becoming one of the most famous acts on the cult label Crammed Discs.
ALBUMS UP TO 1980:
|1||COULONNEUX||1979||EMI BEST SELLER 058 099069|
|2||A NEUF||1980||CRAMMED CRA 274|
Obscure electric folk-rock with high-pitched vocals resembling David Surkamp in Pavlov's Dog.
|1||JUST FRIENDS||197?||PRIVATE PRESS|
Only a few hundred copies of their album were pressed. The content was rather patchy - 12 short songs that were a mixture of heavy progressive and rather tedious ballads.
If Supersister had any Belgian cousins, they would have been Kandahar. Not that their sound was identical, but both groups had a strong, prevalent sense of humour. "The Wakin' Piles" on Long Lived The Sliced Ham was a strong-hitting pastiche on Magma. Kandahar favoured a versatile jazz-rock with changing textures from track to track. One track would be sub-tropical ethno-jazz with congas and guiro, the next chamber rock or maybe Genesis-influenced symphonic rock. Their more mannered, rhythmical, brassy jazz-rock facets were related to Marc Moulin's Placebo. In fact, Kandahar were one of the most interesting groups from Belgium.
|1||LONG LIVED THE SLICED HAM||1974||DWARF LP 1|
|2||IN THE COURT OF CATHARINA SQUEEZER||1975||DWARF 96846|
|3||PICTURES FROM THE PAST||1978||GIP 143.026|
Recently their album has been offered for high prices on the collector's market. It contains disappointing beat music inferior to countless bands from this period.
During the early seventies, Kleptomania were among the most important live acts in Belgium. They started working on their first album in 1971, but this was abandoned when their label (Flame Records) went bankrupt. Four tracks were completed in addition to seven rehearsal recordings. This material appeared on a bootleg album in 1979. Judging from this, a proper album of theirs would have been in the class of Irish Coffee and Jenghiz Khan with plenty of impressive guitar on the long instrumental parts. Stylistically, this is also related to Cream and Black Sabbath, but with a more improvisational and less blues-based character.
In Kleptomania's lifetime from 1969 to 1975 only singles were released - five in all on various labels (MCA, Kingdom and EMI Best Seller). Luckily the story didn't end there. In 1996 Music Emporium released a double CD containing their complete recordings. In addition to the already mentioned material this included 11 demo tracks recorded from 1972 to 1974. Lademacher and other members later played in the hard rock outfit Tush.
|A1||ELEPHANTS LOST||1979||FLAME FLP 03|
|1||KLEPTOMANIA||1996||MUSIC EMP. 210195|
|A1||WE'RE JUST BOYS||1977||EMI|
His album contains a mixture of experimental music and jazzy tunes. Krutzien has recently recorded with Finnegan's Wake.
|1||SILENCES||1979||IGLOO IGL 006|
Many experienced record collectors regard Lagger Blues Machine as the very best Belgian group from the early seventies. Listening to their eponymous album it's easy to understand why. Lagger Blues Machine combined odd elements from Soft Machine, Moving Gelatine Plates, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Magma and 20th Century classical music to a very original and largely instrumental rock ensemble style. This made them pioneers of the archetypical Belgian dark symphonic style that later evolved into groups such as Univers Zero and Present. LBM mainly used a powerful combination of electric/acoustic guitar, organ/electric piano and sax/flute playing very complex themes to a restless rhythmical backing. All tracks were written by the two keyboard players. The main piece was a "symphony" in two parts. Univers Zero later replaced most of the electric instruments with strings and woodwinds. The live material released in a limited edition many years later sounds disappointing by comparison.
|1||LAGGER BLUES MACHINE||1972||CBS S 65230|
|2||TANIT LIVE 31/10/70||1992||FRICRIVAN 88326|
Laurelie were one of the first in the wave of Belgian progressive rock bands, still rooted in the sixties songwriting tradition of Traffic, Cressida, Barclay James Harvest, Jethro Tull, Beatles and many others. Laurelie's perspective was soft and elegant, favouring condensed compositions rather than improvisations.
Lawalree employs piano, organ, string ensemble and occasional synthesizers on these neo-classical instrumental albums. Vis A Vis (1979) only featured solo piano, as opposed to Traces (1978) where he mostly used pre-recorded tapes and editing. The remaining albums fall between these extremes.
ALBUMS UP TO 1980:
|2||LE CHOIX DU TITRRE||1977||WALRUS 003|
|4||BRINS D'HERBE||1978||WALRUS 005|
|5||VIS A VIS||1979||WALRUS 006|
This easy-going symphonic pop group had considerable success in their home area at the time. Unfortunately, time hasn't treated them too well. Arguably, Machiavel were a link between the symphonic pop-rock movement of the seventies and its revival ten years later by Marillion and IQ. Fans of these groups might appreciate Machiavel but most others will deem them too light-weight.
ALBUMS UP TO 1979:
|3||MECHANICAL MOONBEAMS||1978||HARVEST 4C064-23805|
|4||URBAN GAMES||1979||HARVEST 1A064-23894|
Their album is frequently offered on the international collector's market. In truth, it doesn't contain anything of major interest - just song-oriented rock (as it sounded around 1970, that is) with jazzy saxophone and some decent organ doodlings. Westra's soulful vocals sometimes recall Julie Driscoll and she later sang with Stainless Steel.
|1||MAD CURRY||1970||PIRATE'S LP 91001|
Magenta were one of the few groups in Belgium to use Flemish (Dutch) lyrics. Their music was mildly interesting soft progressive rock influenced by Procol Harum and Moody Blues.
|1||MAGENTA||1973||PHILIPS 6451 016|
Their albums contained song-based symphonic rock comparable to Tideline but much less interesting. The flute player had previously been a member of Laurelie.
|1||LES HEURES||1979||PRIVATE PRESS|
Raw and primitive hard-rock with lots of guitar, possibly influenced by Deep Purple. Only 300 copies of their album were pressed and it has recently started to sell for a fortune.
|1||BORN AND STILL ALIVE||1977||EAGLE 0255|
Nato is a provocative artist (living partly in Paris and partly in Brussels) preoccupied by the act of sex in art. His paintings depicted naked humans in a sexual context. His music is eccentric and strange, suggesting comparisons to Dashiell Hedayat and Emmanuel Booz. Nato made another album in 1982.
Nessie made pleasant albums of symphonic rock highlighting flute and synthesizers. Both had English lyrics and are still quite obscure. Could be a good choice for those who like Flyte, Prelude and Dragon, although of a lower standard than these. (RD/DEA)
|1||THE TREE||1978||PRIVATE PRESS|
|2||HEAD IN THE SAND||1979||PRIVATE PRESS|
A kind of pop-rock opera which seem to be very obscure even in Belgium.
A group centered around Fred Bekky and Luc Smets, later members of various pop groups (including Trinity and Dream Express). For a short time The Pebbles had some international success with their hit singles "Mother Army", "Jane, Susy & Phil" and, most importantly, "Seven Hours In The Sky" in 1970. Their music was simple pop with some slight hard-rock influences (comparable to Slade and Sparks). Their albums were collections of their hits. (RD/DEA)
|1||THE PEBBLES||1970||BARCLAY 920 280|
|2||CLOSE UP||1972||UNITED ARTISTS|
Second league symphonic rock influenced by Genesis and Camel, recorded in a little studio in Brugge. As usual for this genre in the late seventies, they used a wide array of keyboards (lots of string ensemble, electric piano, etc.) and soft guitar parts (much like Andy Latimer). The album contained six tracks in all.
A short-lived electronic duo, who made one good album containing two extremely long and floating tracks in the best Klaus Schulze tradition. Rothe later found some recognition as a solo artist in the 80's.
|1||ENIGMAS||1978||MASTIC MASLP 1011|
A large jazz-rock ensemble with Marc Moulin in charge. In addition to being a skilled piano player, he also produced records by Philippe Catherine and Cos, created his own label Kamikaze and had a radio show on RTB in the mid-70's. Placebo's groovy, instrumental jazz-rock sound gained them a surprising renaissance among the "trip hop" disc jockeys in the early 90's.
|1||BALL OF EYES||1971||CBS 64625|
|3||PLACEBO||1974||HARVEST 2C064 95379|
|A1||SAM' SUFFY||1975||CBS 80753|
Their album (which occasionally appears in secondhand record lists) contained big band jazz-rock. The group is rumoured to have a connection to Waterloo, but I don't know their line-up.
This group from the South of Belgium (meaning they were French-speaking) made an interesting album, which combined the spacious sound of Dragon (the Belgian group) and Pulsar with the more poetic and acoustic facets of the Ange-sound. For 1978, this is indeed a good album. It featured a surprising rendition of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds".
|1||RY D'OXHE||1978||BEO 780101|
Symphonic progressive rock featuring the guitar player Vincent Fis, later leader of the group Now (who released albums on Musea).
This trio played instrumental progressive rock fronted by Falaise's mighty Hammond organ. Don't Open contained one side of original compositions plus versions of "Summer In The City", "California Dreamin" and "Reach Out, I'll Be There". Music Or Not Music was a better effort, written as a suite of short linked themes. This album also contains sound effects and electric guitars to balance the various dominant keyboards.
|1||DONT OPEN||1971||TRIANGLE 920 219|
|2||MUSIC OR NOT MUSIC||1972||BARCLAY 920 356|
A Flemish trio who recorded traditional folklore with sparse arrangements. Most songs only had vocals, acoustic guitar, fiddle and mandolin. Apart from the Flemish lyrics, this is like the material released on the British Topic label. Those interested in more traditional Flemish folk outfits from the period may want to check out De Elegasten, Miek En Roel and T Kliekske.
|3||GELUKKIG MA NON TROPPO||1980||BYRON|
99 copies were pressed of their demo album, which contained raw underground rock similar to The Pink Fairies with distorted lead guitars. The members were of Italian origin, but moved with their parents to Liege.
|1||S TO S||1978||PRIVATE PRESS|
Smets and Bauwer had previously played in the pop-rock formation Pebbles, while Chitschenko came from the jazz-oriented Mad Curry. All tracks on the Shampoo album were composed by Mets, Chitschenko and Cel De Cauwer. The album has some historical interest due to its unusual mixture of harmony pop (a la The Beatles and the first Argent album) and brassy jazz-rock (similar to Chicago and Colosseum). Interestingly, some very short fragments of the album predated the chamber rock of Univers Zero, indicating that their unique vision still had some roots in the general Belgian rock scene of the time. Shampoo's curious mixture fits in well in the jigsaw of Belgian rock between Wallace Collection, Waterloo, Placebo, Arkham and Pazop. Some years later this scene developed into great bands such as Abraxis, Cos and, most importantly, Univers Zero.
|1||VOLUME 1||1972||MOTORS 44 009|
|A1||WE LOVE THE POLICEMAN 197?||BARCLAY|
Quiet Flemish folk music. They were helped out by Rens van der Zaim of the Dutch group Fungus.
Their music is reputed to be closer to jazz than rock.
|1||SOLIS LACUS||1975||BEST SELLER|
300 copies were made of their album, containing folk-rock with flute, violin and guitars. Their vocalist was Viona Westra, previously a member of Mad Curry.
|1||STAINLESS STEEL||1974||PRIVATE PRESS|
They recorded one of the better Belgian private pressings in Studio Bobine, Jemappes. This is lush, semi-acoustic symphonic rock, with a slight mediaeval touch. Tideline have rightfully been compared to Fruupp and Genesis, but weren't lacking the theatrical aspirations of the latter group (read: Peter Gabriel).
|1||THE CROWDED ROOM||1979||FIELDS 001|
A group who mainly belonged to the new wave genre. They developed out of Freckleface. The leader of both groups was Arno, the future Belgian new wave rock star of the eighties.
Trol played quiet folk music comparable to various albums released on the Stoof label. They wrote their own material, but performed them much like traditional folk music. Fairly good albums, although they contained nothing extraordinary.
|1||TROL||1977||PARZIFAL 400/1061 (NL)|
|2||OSKAR II||1979||PARZIFAL 400/1062 (NL)|
This experimental outfit was inspired both by Henry Cow and the emerging punk and new wave scene. They predated the musical orientation of Belgium's well-known Crammed Disc label. With the addition of Marc Hollander they later evolved into Honeymoon Killers.
|1||SPECIAL MANUBRE||1977||KAMIKAZE 3|
Take some of the instrumental segments out of The Mothers Of Invention's Uncle Meat and combine them with the radical, early Henry Cow sound. Then to provide the right kind of tasteful academic intellectualism, add some early 20* Century classical music by Bartok and Stravinsky (more precisely their circa 1910 "barbarism" works, strongly influenced by pre-romantic Balkan, Slavic and Turkish folk music). Cultivate this strange brew for five years with prolonged Magma-influences. Then arrange the final result with bassoon, viola, violin as uncommon solo instruments over a hot rhythm section that would make Chris Cutler proud. The result is known as Univers Zero - THE most original, dark, anguished and forbidding music ever to be created in Belgium. Their music is often called chamber rock.
Many listeners will find Univers Zero's music too cynical, appealing to the brain rather than the heart. This may also explain why the group has gained a solid cult status among the younger fans of progressive rock in recent years. Fans could be accused of interacting in an advanced social game rather than searching for a pleasant listening experience. The music of Univers Zero simply isn't a pleasure and wasn't designed to be so either! If you want to dive down into murky cellars of the human mind, then this is the group for you!
Their leader Daniel Denis had played in the legendary group Arkham in 1971 (along with Jean-Luc Manderlier and Patrick Cogneaux) before he became the second drummer in Magma, albeit for a few months only. The three listed albums (of which Ceux Du Dehors is generally agreed to be their masterpiece) are much better than more recent efforts. Roger Trigaux later recorded with his new group Present and Daniel Denis also made some solo albums.
ALBUMS UP TO 1980:
|1||1313||1977||ATEM 7001 (F)|
|2||UNIVERS ZERO||1979||ATEM 7005 (F)|
|3||CEUX DU DEHORS||1980||ATEM 7009 (F)|
This trio played rough, raw-edged hard rock on their album Resurrection Of. The technical quality wasn't too good, having countless small tape dropouts (it was camouflaged as a live album but the applause was obviously inserted between tracks later). Many tracks are instrumental with the focus on electric guitar and sound similar to a fast paced live Cream in improvisational mode. One to check out for electric guitar lovers.
|1||RESURRECTION OF||1971||MAJESTETIC 1020|
|A1||LONG VACATION (1973-83)||19??||DEXON|
A marginal case for inclusion, as this must be considered a pop group who only occasionally made tracks anywhere near the fringes of progressive rock. Their hit "Daydream", based on Tchaikowsky's "Swan Lake", was a million seller across Western Europe.
|1||LAUGHING CAVALIER||1969||ODEON 2C 062-04036|
|2||WALLACE COLLECTION||1970||ODEON 2C 062-04522|
Their album is a top rarity on the collector's circuit, fetching higher prices than any other Belgian album! Musically it was mid-way between psychedelic and progressive rock with catchy short songs such as "Why May I Not Know". The only exception was the closing track "Diary Of An Old Man" (11:00).
|1||FIRST BATTLE||1970||VOGUE CLPVB 016|
Their very rare and underrated album contained fully developed progressive rock featuring rich electric guitar, mellotron and organ textures augmented by brass and woodwinds. Their vocalist was also highly talented. Recommended to all fans of this genre.
|1||A QUICK STEP||1975||SKRUUP 162210751|
|.||BELGIAN POP SAMPLER||1976||EMI|
|.||ROOTS OF BELGIAN POP||1969||MFP (B)|