Xang - Destiny of a dream - 1999


Xang is an interesting instrumental band from the north of France, formed by Mathieu Hooge (bass), Manu Delestre (drums) and the core players in this album, the 24 year-old keyboard player Vincent Hooge and the 21 year-old guitarist Antoine Duhem. After having been in the scene for a long time presenting a demo called "Destin d´un rêve" they have been able to sign for Galileo Records, a recently born European label.


The music of Xang is based mainly on the dualism Duhem-Hooge (Vincent), two musicians of a very high level, that extract all kind of juicy melodies from their respective instruments in endless guitar-keyboards dialogues, while the rhythm section fulfils its work in a competent way. The songs, in spite of having their own personality, could resemble to what would have been a hypothetical instrumental album published in 1985 by Mark Kelly and Steve Rothery in a fight to show who plays better, so fans of English prog can be happy. Nevertheless, in their music we can also appreciate other many details from other bands (Yes, Genesis), but just details, as Xang sound like Xang. Many melodies, little space for tedium and constant demonstrations of their handling of the instruments, especially by Vincent Hooge, which displays a great ability to choose and good taste when choosing the keyboards he will play in each moment. Xang manage to make a 50 minute Cd (Metaphor, their label partners, should take notice, as if Xang had released a Cd of 75 minutes, maybe the review would be different) without becoming boring. The songs are sufficiently well structured, rich and changing, to maintain the listener's interest high. Also, there is not any pretension of emulating instrumental hard-prog bands of the style of Mastermind, which is a must, as the proliferation of metal-prog instrumental bands ends with the patience of anyone.

To highlight a song above others is difficult, since all of them maintain a similar high level of quality. In any event, I will stand out "The Revelation (Gaïa)" (7:25), "The Prediction" (7:03), "The Choice" (8:12) or the longest "The Light" (13:18). At the end of the album there is a "hidden track", but I do not care, as it is very slack.


In definitive I believe that Xang is a valuable and risky offer of instrumental progressive rock, that could become a success in the future given their youth. The followers of well arranged, conceived and executed instrumental prog have a diamond to discover here. Very recommended.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - April 2000 -   - Galileo Records