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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Laren D'or - War of angels - 2000

Laren d’Or is the pseudonym used by the Hungarian keyboard player and composer Attila Héger and whose album "War of Angels" came out in 1997. However, in 2000 his works were reissued with a whole series of unreleased tracks included, which gave a new dimension to his album. Moreover, this new version also includes CD-ROM information about each song and the artist himself. But… Wait a minute, this is not a CD full of .mp3 files, just as I first thought, and it is not a bootleg CD either. The company that supported this reissue was surprisingly the mentioned Internet site, but unfortunately both albums are sold separately.

Héger’s musical career has been mainly based on electronic music, thanks to his composing soundtracks for different aims, among which video games for various well-known brand names. However, this doesn’t mean that his musical creativity is focused on a series of Pac Man or Mario Bros. sounds. Other keyboard composers such as Motoi Sakuraba, are dedicated to this same work too, and it doesn’t mean that their solo albums have lost quality. Being realistic, talking about Laren d’Or means talking about a musician who can combine two different elements in a perfect way: electronic music and symphonic rock. He is also a classically trained musician with influences that go from the most refined classic romanticism to Vangelis or Jean-Michel Jarre or to Solaris’s Hungarian progressive rebirth.

"War of Angels" is divided into two CD’s: Progressive and Synthphonia. The first one is mainly focused on electronic works, but with a relatively specific characteristic: the tracks seem to have been written by a classical composer more than by an experimental musician. I would personally define it as: "Electronic goes Symphonic". In this section, the tracks’ style varies, e.g. Vangelis’s influence is definitely present in "Purification", the current electronic style with programming, percussion and keyboards in "Swarming" or in "Precursor II", the ambiance's in the style of Jarre’s first works in "Tetsuo", electronic symphonic in "Arcadia" and "Precursor I", and even a space ambient style can be heard in "Liberate Me".

Synthphonia is a symphonic album, epic and full of classicism, contrary to the other one. Its definition could be "Symphonic goes Electronic". It’s quite surprising to realize that Héger is the author and performer of all those tracks that sometimes sound like the best of After Crying ("Gothic I-V"), or the most refined albums of Solaris ("Fifth Dream"), or to the most dramatic parts of Wakeman ("War of Angels"), but all this with the single use of the synthesizer, given that Laren d’Or is the sole performer of this works. Orchestral music is also present in all this second chapter, and it manages to sound majestic in very delicate moments, from the very beginning of this album with "4.12 (April Ride)", a track that shows deep feelings and composing mastery, to the last seconds of "War of Angels" that closes it.

The first time I listened to this work, I realized almost instantly that in order to appreciate it fully, both CD’s have to be heard. This is the reason why I think that it was a mistake to sell them separately, when they could have been issued as one only double album. On the other hand, this is a pity that its distribution is so limited, given that something of this quality is worth listening, both by symphonic rock fans and by electronic enthusiasts, as well as by producers and distributors. In summary, Laren d’Or’s style in this "Progressive Synthphony" is energetic like rock, delicate like classical music and imposing like electronic music. War of Angles is an excellent oeuvre, and is definitely recommended.

Enrique Gómez - November 2000
rating - - Periferic Records


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