Power of Metal.dk Review

The Tangent
Le Sacre du Travail
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 24 June, 2013
Playing time: 73:09

I honestly had never heard a The Tangent album. I know they are somewhat legendary, and they seem rather outspoken about prog rock. I definitely was thrilled to get a chance to review this album, though. The artwork is very sophisticated, so I expected the music to be as well.

I was not disappointed. This is a sprawling album, as it contains movements and two tracks that are about 20 minutes each! This album is certainly ambitious, and I think they achieved their goals for the most part. First, I'll discuss the music, but then I'll discuss the lyrical themes because they are integral to this album.

The music is rather standard eclectic prog. That may seem like an oxymoron, but this album is equal parts neo-prog and symphonic prog, and there is a rather interesting dichotomy between light and dark passages. This can especially be seen in the very innocent symphonic arrangements and flutes that are very classical in nature. They are very earthy in a way, and they often dominate a song for quite some time. Then again, there are some darker, wicked moments that explore the deeper side of the lyrical themes. Instrumentally, I was particularly impressed with the lead guitar work as there are some awesome guitar lines and solos throughout this album. The synth and keys are also impressive, but are used a little more conservatively. I think this may be to get their message across a little more clearly. The vocalist, Andy Tillson, has a unique voice that is quite rough, but somehow soothing and melodic at the same time. Last, but not least, the bassist delivers some truly groovy rhythms that get your foot stomping.

The Tangent has been known for their cynical lyrics for some time, as they have even been known to criticize music in their music. This album has a much grander scale in this regard, for this album is all about our work, careers, and jobs. It is about the grand futility of our every day commutes and journeys toward possessions and status. The album's title is “Le Sacre du Travail”, which translates to English as “The Coronation of Work”. That is quite meaningful for understanding the lyrics: The Tangent is discussing the worship of work as a means of happiness. I love the very beginning where we hear someone in the future describing the workers of the past, and how they did all these different things to be able to watch a box with pictures, to live in a box called a house, and so on and on. The point, I'm sure you see, is that we work away our lives to do nothing more than cage ourselves. We box ourselves and our thinking into one dimension of existence. Work-->sleep. Work-->sleep. The great thing is that The Tangent has managed a mass global criticism all while delivering catching choruses, great instrumental passages, and delicate melodies. The album never gets boring, and it never gets pretentious.

I think my only complaint with this album is some of the writing. Some of it does come across as cheesy; such as one part where, while speaking about the fact we can't take our riches with us after we die, Tillson bellows, “Your kids will sell it all on Ebay” a few times in a row. It's as bad as you think it would be. However, the writing is mostly good-to-great, and the overall album contains some great music along with some average-to-good bonus tracks.

Apart from the well-done theme, I'm afraid this album would have been difficult to hear. However, this album is an excellent overall package that delivers thought-provoking refrains with beautiful melodies and symphonic arrangements. This is a tender album that delivers a surprising punch to the gut by way of societal commentary. This a definite listen for any prog rock fan. It is a true accomplishment in terms of scope and gentle melody, and a near masterpiece in terms of theme and composition.

01. 1st Movement: Coming Up on the Hour
02. 2nd Movement: Morning Journey & The Arrival
03. 3rd Movement: Afternoon Malaise
04. 4th Movement: A Voyage through Rush Hour
05. 5th Movement: Evening TV
Muffled Epiphany (bonus)
07. Hat (bonus)
Evening TV (radio edit)
Label: InsideOut
Distribution: Universal Music (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 80/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 21 June, 2013
Website: www.thetangent.org