Released by: Unicorn Digital Inc.
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Neo-Progressive Rock, Symphonic Rock
Sylvain Descôteaux – vocals
Michel St-Père – guitars
Pascal Lapierre – keyboards
Michel Joncas – bass, bass pedals, keyboards
William Régnier – drums, percussion
01. Beyond the Amstel
02. Haunted Nights
03. The Last Journey
04. Oude Kerk 1
05. Lights and Bridges
06. Little Anne
07. If By Morning
08. Oude Kerk 2
09. Write your Name
11. Garden of Dust
I must say I was a little bit surprised when I received this promo from my editor Denys, a pure prog album here on MGM ? Well, let me tell you first that I already love progressive rock and it’s numerous substyles for decades. On the other hand I noticed a bit of weariness for the genre the last couple of years as I more and more lacked the real progression. So I rather indulged myself lately in complete other musical territories, to seek new musical adventures. Nevertheless, prog is still one of my favorite musical styles so I was rather keen to do this review. Certainly after discovering a strong link on the album to my native country, The Netherlands. So what’s the deal here ?
Well, the band’s name for instance ‘Huis’ means ‘home’ in dutch but these guys aren’t dutch at all. Their ‘Huis’ is based in Montreal, Canada and the band was put together at the end of 2009 by Pascal Lapierre and Michel Joncas after an outstanding and inspiring trip in the Netherlands.
Over time other renowned veterans from the Montreal scene joined and Huis now finally delivered their debut album ‘Despite Guardian Angels’.
With eleven tracks (three of them feature real dutch titles !) clocking at 73 minutes you can expect a hymn on days gone by as the album is a showcase of the neo-prog sound of the early eighties (Marillion, I.Q., Pendragon) blended with the traditional symphonic rock style of the seventies (Genesis, Camel, a bit of Floyd). The early Marillion days (with Fish) shine through in almost every composition. Since neo-prog was quite popular in Holland those days it was also the time when a lot of dutch bands arose on the scene and when I personally got more and more involved in this musical style at the expense of my first musical love: hard rock and heavy metal. So when listening to Huis now I can’t help meandering back in time: nostalgia at hand !
‘Beyond The Amstel’ is the opening track where the band inmediately presents their solid approach of the chosen musical style. It almost sounds like I.Q. stole and rendered the Marillion classic ‘Grendel’. Halfway the track however the Styx-influenced screeching keys suddenly show a more rock feel. A nice start of the album. However, as the album continues it becomes clear to me that the real fire is missing here. Yes, there are some really fine moments here and there (the excellent floydian guitarsolo’s by Michel St-Père for instance) but the accomplished sound somehow lacks originality, guts and fire.
Conclusion: If you are looking for some old school melodic prog with well balanced,cohesive compositions and impeccable, lush instrumentation Huis is certainly a recommended listen.
But for the next offering though I personally would recommend Huis to throw away their Guardian Angels and try to seek more inspiration on the risky side of the musical spectrum.
Written by Ruud