[Review] Altesia – Paragon Circus

Altesia is the project of the French multi-instrumentalist Clément Darrieu, founded in 2017. “Paragon Circus” released independent on December 11, 2019 and containing 6 long-lasting songs. The theme of the album is the destruction of man by man, proposing the vicissitudes of life of the character of the story. The album begins with “Pandora” an opening song with layers of acoustic guitar and a soft vocal that pleasantly introduces us to the record. “Reminescence” opens with a piano and guitar and then get into the heart with powerful riffs and an intricate rhythm. The hammond adds a retro touch, while the theme develops between accelerated swirls and more symphonic openings. The vocal is soft and well-timed with the music. The second part of the piece features an instrumental section with keyboard and saxophone solos that take the sound to a higher level. Bass and drum create very elaborate changes and a massive rhythmic session, the song ends with a symphonic ending. “Amidst the smoke” begins with powerful guitar riffs and a massive organ. A sudden change sweetens the sound and the entrance of the vocal, passionate and melodic, a short guitar solo and the singing returns. In the instrumental section the hammond draws a solo and takes the stage, the vocal returns and the song closes with softer tones. A tight rhythm and the choral vocal mark the beginning of “The prison child” which is elaborated on louder sounds that alternate with calmer moments. A song with a high technical rate, with elaborate plots and continuous changes and melodic intertwining, showing the quality of the band. In the central part the violin enters to add a refined touch to a song that is one of the best moments of the album. Solos of keyboards and guitars that intertwine and wide instrumental tracts free the band’s technique. “Hex Reverse” is a soft and symphonic track, with a good vocal test and more linear rhythms. A song with an excellent emotional charge, which despite the simplest structure at the beginning, with the passing of the minutes it is processed and the intensity increases. “Cassandra’s prophecy” is the final suite, a song in which the band develops its ideas in a pleasant manner. The first part is softer with a dreamy atmosphere and at 6:00 minutes it becomes more powerful and elaborate. The violin here too offers a classy insert, then the song speeds up and entering the instrumental section the intensity increases and space is given to the instruments to express themselves. Power, harmonies and technique, there are all the ingredients that a listener expects from a song of this duration, enhancing both the compositional and executive qualities of the band. A good debut for the French group, which to be at the first release denotes clear ideas on what their sound is and will be. The songs, all long-lasting, flow pleasantly, thanks to the structures rich in time changes and quality phrasing. Recommended listening to lovers of Heavy Prog sounds, especially from bands like Opeth (from the second era), Haken and Porcupine Tree. A very good job, and a band that as far as heard here will open up positively in the future, the conditions are all there.


01. Pandora (02:35)
02. Reminiscence (11:41)
03. Amidst the smoke (07:48)
04. The prison child (10:34)
05. Hex reverse (06:30)
06. Cassandra’s prophecy (17:38)


Clément Darrieu / All Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar 
Alexis “Idler” Casanova / Lead and Rhythm Guitar 
Antoine Pirog / Bass 
Yann Ménage / Drums 
Henri Bordillon / Keyboards 

Altesia |Bandcamp|Facebook Page|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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